I’ve been following and intrigued by an increasingly publicized battle between Australian watchmakers and Swiss watch brands that I wanted to highlight. Now let me warn you that this is definitely “inside baseball”, but I also believe that this matter does ultimately (and covertly) impact the average everyday watch owners, collectors & enthusiasts in the form of higher prices.
It all starts with this fella whose blog I enjoy reading from time to time, Nick Hacko. He is an independent watchmaker who l lives in Australia, and he is none too happy about the big Swiss watch brands (e.g. Rolex and others) restricting or outright denying his ability to obtain watch parts. In a sense he feels that his livelihood is being threatened, and on this case he seems to make a persuasive argument. However, as I am not well informed on the issue, I’m not going to take sides. I’ll just point interested readers to some of the Nick Hacko’s writings and let you decide. Also be sure to visit Save-The-Time.org for more information.
On one hand, I will say that that I think it would be a real shame to see independent watchmakers forced out of business because they are unable to obtain spare parts for their customers. As a consumer, this means that the cost of owning a watch could go up dramatically because there is no competition amongst watch service/repair companies who want my business. Getting a watch serviced/repaired by some Manufactures is already a very costly — and time-consuming — undertaking. It is a basic matter of economics — if Rolex Geneva is the only place I can get my watch properly serviced and repaired because they are the only ones with the proper tools and parts, well then that gives them a tremendous amount of pricing power over me the consumer. On the other hand, I can also argue that brands like Rolex design and produce the parts for their watches and thus they can choose to sell — or not — to whomever they so desire.
I’m monitoring this situation to see how it unfolds. If anything interesting rises to the occasion, I will post another note. Any comments or particularly keen insights, please do leave a comment below as I would like to properly educate myself.