Swatch Group parts policy [with addendum]

As most of our readers will know, the Swatch Group has decided to stop selling spare parts for their watches to independent repairers such as us. This will come into force on 1/1/2016.

This will affect the owners of the following watch brands:

  • Longines
  • Omega
  • Rado
  • Union Glashuette
  • Breguet
  • Harry Winston
  • Blancpain
  • Glashuette Original
  • Jaquet Droz
  • Leon Hatot
  • Tissot
  • Balmain
  • Certina
  • Mido
  • Hamilton
  • Calvin Klein
  • Swatch
  • Flik Flak

The main argument heard is that the Swatch Group wants to assure the same service level across their brands, and prevent unqualified people tinkering with their watches.

In reality, it’s all about cutting off the reasonably priced repair sector, and to make sure that everyone owning one of the above brands has to pay whatever Swatch Group wants them to pay.

There are of course approved repairers around, but the trend is to squeeze those out of business in order to centralise the whole service industry in Switzerland, and to make sure that everyone has to pay whatever they want to charge.

If you don’t own one of the brands, you still aren’t safe, as the Swatch Group has bought another 17 companies that make parts for watches, such as ETA for movements, Nivarox for hairsprings, and various companies that make hands, cases, crystals, etc.

If you, as a watch lover, would rather not be blackmailed by the Swatch Group, make sure that you buy from a manufacturer that sells parts to the independent trade, such as Nomos. Ask before you buy a watch, and make sure your jeweler understands why you aren’t buying a Swatch Group watch from him the next time around.

Only you as a customer can influence the Swatch Group – we as independent repairers can’t do that. They are trying to devalue the investment you have made by buying one of their watches.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that the argument of service quality can’t be the real reason. We put a lot of time and love into repairing your watches, and resurrect watches that the Swatch Group wouldn’t even touch. Without access to spare parts, we will not be able to do this in the future.

If you feel that this concerns you, feel free to tell the Swatch Group what you think of their decision by contacting them.

We here at WatchGuy aren’t too concerned about our future, as there are plenty of other brands around, and there is such high demand for our services, that we can easily live without Swatch Group watches. But the Swatch Group can’t live without you as their customers.

The British Watch and Clock Makers Guild (of which I am a member) has set up an Industry Action Fund as a vehicle by which anyone can join a cooperative effort to deal with the issues facing the industry.  We have made a sizeable contribution to this fund, and would encourage any other companies, or concerned organisations and individuals to do likewise. The work of the Industry Action Fund will allow us to at least challenge this highly noncompetitive decision by Swatch Group. Such behaviour is unworthy of a company coming from a country with such strong democratic roots.

The Swatch Group will tell you that any watchmaker can apply for an account. That is true, but in order to get an Omega account, you have to make a £35,000 investment in equipment they require. We have all of that equipment, but from different manufacturers, so we would have to kit out our workshop from scratch again.

Just so that you know what you are in for:Omega-repair-guide-001

Addendum:

After a meeting with Swatch Group on 9/10/2015, where we discussed the issues outlined above, I received a letter dated 30/11/2015, in which the Swatch Group states:

We would like to take this opportunity to highlight, and readdress any misunderstanding, regarding the level of investment required and also the overarching criteria of our brands. On the logical presumption that the applicant watchmaker or service centre for inclusion within our network is already established, the workshop would have watch service machinery and tools. To this end, any further investment required would be limited to any additional tooling and/or machinery required to service some of our timepieces. Whilst additional investment may be necessary, depending on the approved level of services which may be performed, we do not stipulate that the said machinery and/or tools have to be brand specific, i.e. generic machinery or non-Swatch Group machinery may be used and/or purchased. This is different to some other Swiss watch manufacturers. Thus, the view that inclusion within the spare parts distribution network will always result in additional investment is not correct. Also, it is not correct that the criteria of our brands are dissimilar. Whilst there may be some specific criteria which are only applicable to certain brands, in the main all brands share the same standards. Consequently one assessment of a workshop (including equipment, tools and watchmaker’s skills) may suffice for the workshop to be approved for other brands on the same or lower level.

That being said, we had hoped that following our meeting the rationale behind our spare parts distribution network was clear and appreciated. We are therefore surprised to note your post entitled “Swatch Group parts policy” which was posted on your website http://watchguy.co.uk on 30 September 2015. Whilst the post pre-dates our meeting, We cannot see any attempts to rectify the inaccuracies with regards to our selective distribution system. We should hope that the content of the post is rectified to address how the spare parts distribution network operates and the benefits of the same. Of course, we will be happy to further discuss this matter and any questions you may have.”

That sounds like it would be easy enough for established watch repairers to be part of their distribution network, but when I wrote to Swatch Group UK to enquire about a parts account, I got the following letter in 2013:

“Hello Christian

Thank you for the interest in Selective spare parts distribution.

I have looked at the pictures that you sent to Lynne and want to make the following observations.

Also I have listed the type of equipment I would expect to see on an assessment visit.

The workshop for assembly must be separated clean and un-cluttered with cupboards for tools and draws for materials, separated from contamination – lathe etc.

Ultrasonic cleaning machine ACS 900
Griener with ventilation
Witschi proofmaster S or MRoxer natator 125
Condensation tester
Timer with co-axial programme Witschi 3
Quartz tester analyser Q1
Recognised watchmaker bench with Light
Chemical cabinet
Microscope with 2 light sources and x 40
Small fridge for oils
Separated polishing room with motor and extraction.
Recognised qualification and experience

There are also Brand specific tools to purchase for Omega cost £6-4000 dependant on generic tools.

I hope this helps, please call me to discuss the workshop and equipment.

Kind regards, Peter”

This doesn’t sound like there is any room for manoeuvre regarding the equipment, as the letter from Swatch Group suggest.

I checked today (4/12/2015) with Peter from Swatch Group UK, and he confirmed on the phone that the full list of necessary equipment still applies.

 

88 thoughts on “Swatch Group parts policy [with addendum]

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  5. I think a “revolution” it’s happening in the watch industry, I am sure that very soon we will start to see various brands using more Japanese movements or others from Germany and Swiss company that already start to made for themselves. I hope the Made in Germany will take always more weight in the near future.
    We don’t nee to worry about increasing cost services because always will have local official services from Swatch group that will have replacement part for ETA movement and they will accept our watches for service without problem like now.
    Why say that the only option we will have is send the watch to factory?

  6. Hi Christian, thanks for this post it is really concerning that companies act like this in the 21st century. Swatch Group should wake up and smell the globalism.
    I was researching for my first real watch (with automatic movement) and was going to go for Longines HydroConquest. Reading your post made me drop an email to the Swatch Group expressing my concern. I got an answer from the local agent with the normal politics talk in it. This is what I normally call “Hot air in plastic bags”. This is monopolist from my point of view.
    Now I have been looking at different brand, namely Steinhart. I know they use ETA movements, but the model I am going fore is with a Soprod movement.
    How is the servicing these movements in terms of parts and watchmaker availability?
    Thanks

      • Hi Christian, just wandering about omega moonwatch which mine has the lemania movement does this apply to my watch for getting parts, do lemania supply parts for there movements…many thanks Dean.

  7. Hi, can you please help me find a bezel for a tag heuer chrono ca1211-ro part number is HL0048 i have been looking for weeks and a lot of places have let me down have you a old one in good condition or a new one kind regards james.thank you

  8. Ciao Christian!
    Questa e più grande stupidata che una azienda può fare in questi periodi.
    Siamo un gruppo di riparatori del orologi dai anni 60′,
    Gruppo Swatch – Se sono intelligenti dovrebbero ringraziare a noi riparatori perché e tutù nostro merito se loro bisnis va alé stele, vedremo come andrà dal 01.01.2016. Noi riparatori stiamo trasmettendo questo problema ai rivenditori delle marche orologi nominate Noi non moriremo di fame, negli anni con la esperienza che abbiamo sule spela non ci frano paura ma i loro manager che ci pensano 10 volte prima di confermare questa operazione perché non tutti rivenditori sono anche i riparatori dei orologi.

  9. Simply put, second-user Omega watches etc will become like lead on the market!

    Who, in their right mind would pay say £2K for a used Omega; to then have to pay £1K for a service?

    I predict since old and collectors watches are now such a large market, it will not be long before “Pattern Parts” manufacturers from Asia step into the gap. As they have for almost every other consumer durable and semi-durable.

  10. Dirty monopolisation. I’m in the watch repair industry and I’ve seen the decline of ETA’s moral value. When I speak to parts distributors, an interesting remark came from them in that most of ETA are opposed to this! So clearly it’s coming straight from the top. So thank you to the Hayek family for throwing the spanner in the works for many independent watch technicians.

  11. So all the brands listed use “unqualified” service operatives? Bare-faced cheek!
    It’s noticeable that TAG aren’t listed! Is there a clear reason for this?
    I wonder if the Swiss government was aware of this monopoly intent when relaxation of Swatch’s obligations to others of the Swiss watch industry were being negotiated?

  12. Dear All,

    >> “…that we can easily live without Swatch Group watches.”

    Please note, that many old watches of de 60ies and 70ies, most of them no-name but with ETA movement … so they will not be repared longer, at least not with parts ordered at ETA. The stock of parts of everyone will become important. Future project to share them (but not ready yet): http://www.vintageparts.ch .

    And please look at the project http://www.openmovement.org
    Become a member of the association and get independance in watchmaking!

  13. Dear Watch sellers and buyers,I am working for 27 years in watch industry and want to give my point of view what happens .
    This “new” strategy can be no news for the most retailers ,already in 2006 the Swatch group ,told that they want to stop to deliver there movements and spare parts,they wanted less independently from a lot of independent watch brands which used all the Swatch group movements.
    All jewelers and distribution canals who make the brands big,are not necessary anymore! because the Swatch group are so powerful that they think they can do everything ,still a lot of jewelers who work with there brands are complaining but in my opinion ,it is also there own fold because a lot of jewelers are not “selling” anymore they are used to have a easy sell because the customer ask for “Swatch group brands” so they are not used to sell with nice independent brands because they need to explain and to use the skills to tell about this nice brands who are even so good or better.
    In the last years Swatch group ,is demanding so much to the retailers that they are not the “owner” of the shop anymore and they have to give the Swatch group the best places in the shops with full collections and massive investments ,and also the group dictates which brands the jewelers can sell next to there brands.
    I think retailers has to get less independent of these big watch groups and follow more there own strategy ,start selling nice watch brands of independent watch brands who are also very nice exciting ,but on top of that happy to work together with the jeweler on a equal base without stupid demands.
    So when more Jewelers will follow this strategy the end consumer will see that there is more under the sun and not every guy wears the same watch brands because that make your “status”!!!!! dare to be different !
    Also the prices of repairs wil be more realistic and faster ,than the big groups,but when still the jeweler has no “balls” to change there strategy this ridiculous situation will not stop,no the groups at the end don,t need the jeweler anymore because this groups have there own shops one direct line and they are the only ones who earns the money.
    My advise for the jewelers stop following this “demands and rules” be again “owner” of your shop but also you have to start selling again and dare to tell the end consumer why you choose this strategy ,because the price of aftersales is not good comparing the buying price.
    I am convinced the shops will be in longer term in better position ,because the stocks in the shops are to high comparing the sell out, so at the end the jeweler has not good provide of his work and investments.
    I hope also that the end consumer will be less influent by all advertisement and marketing but also dare to be different !!! and understand when only a view big groups are the leaders in selling watches ,the watch market will Die ,Like the Napoleon, Greeks,Romains…….. we all no how this ended.

  14. How aggravating. especially when from reading this blog it’s obvious you have a high level of skill.
    Standard attempt by a large company to just get more money.

  15. Hi,
    I’m pretty sure that any of the official resellers or service centers of Swatch group will be happy to sell You original parts. It will be the same as it is in the Vehicle business since decades. The independent car workshop owners can’t buy spare parts directly from the manufacturer but they can from official resellers or service centers. So I hope You will figure out a good solution for this situation soon. 🙂

    • Insofar as automotive repairers were and are concerned, your comment was not totally accurate. I owned both repair shops and garages and also worked, previously, for a large distributor and a main manufacturer (Ford Europe).

      Non-franchised dealers/repairers could buy genuine manufacturer’s parts at 10% (minimum) discount: what were then called “Retail Dealers” i.e. accredited dealers of the marque received slightly more discount; large dealers enjoyed up to circa 30% discount.

      Considering most European parts manufacturers (brakes, exhausts, oil and air filters, fan belts, steering joints, shockers etc) were independent businesses, as the car parque (the number of motor cars in use both new and old), grew rapidly, then major wholesalers addressed the independent parts market; with discounts up to 70% on fast moving service items and up to 50-60% on exhausts etc.

      The manufacturers tried to withhold service data from the non-dealer market. This was smashed down by the European Anti-Monopoly Commissioners, around 1996.

      • A very good comparison, and as I have worked in the car service industry for 10 years, one I would draw as well. It’s very similar (only that cars are far more complex), so if this was looked at fairly, the European Commission would force the Swiss manufacturers to sell their parts to everyone. Alas, they do spend a lot of money on lobbying, and that’s money we don’t have.
        In the long run, the Karma police gets everyone.

        • I wonder how many old collector’s watches are in circulation? Must be millions!

          If so, then, as I also stated, elswhere, and since (Same with automotive industry) there are many more smaller independent watch repairers than franchised dealers, the demand for pattern parts would be huge.

          A good analogy, might be the ECU (Electronic Control Unit) or computer which controls fuel and ignition etc.

          Bosch, the market leader thanks to its K Jetronic fuel injection system etc, demanded circa £1,000 for exchange ECUs: when the problem might well be just a twopenny diode which had failed!

          Fairly quickly, non-Bosch repairers offered guaranteed exchange units for a fraction of Bosch prices. And now, of course, service centres even “re-map” and even re-chip a wide range of vehicle’s systems.

          If a watch is out of manufacturer’s warranty, then owners will be delighted to pay a non-franchised repairer to service/repair a valuable watch using pattern parts for much less than the franchised dealer struggling to amortise nearly £40,000 of capital equipment and re-building work!

          Markets react to just one thing – demand: thus if the demand is sufficient, Asian companies will step up to meet that demand with pattern parts.

  16. This does seem a bad move on the part of swatch I know that they stopped supplying the micro brands the eta movement for a couple of years now and as a result I have a number of watches with a Miyota 9015 movement in instead of the eta ,

    not sure what you feel about this movement watch guy but for me I’ve been very pleased with the smooth sweep and time keeping

    Can you see swatch not supplying parts for eta in the future to you guys? God that would be a disaster

      • Sorry I didn’t realise that you wouldn’t be able to get any parts for eta movements I just thought it was for parts like hands and such like for the above mentioned watch brands

        Surely this is going to be a big problem for you as the eta movements are in quite a number of watches not on your list I personally own 5 watches with a eta movement not on your list

        Who would I send a watch to if no parts are available to anyone but swatch and it’s not a swatch brand watch?

        • That is a good question. I just had to have my Richemont watch with an ETA2892A2 movement extensively serviced by my independent repairer here in the US (I abused it far more than I will in the future), and he certainly had to order parts from Richemont to do so. So Swatch has to be willing to supply parts to Richemont, and Swatch and Richemont have to be willing to supply independent repairers.
          Meanwhile, I understand Richemont has consolidated its US repair facilities at one location, its “technical center” in Fort Worth, Texas. So I am expected to send my watch to a distant, faceless corporate facility rather than deal one-on-one with another human being. No thanks.

          • Looks like we’re screwed
            Having a eta movement was a selling point for me as it meant any watchmaker would be able to service it and fix but now? Who knows? Makes me kind of feel like selling all my watches and getting a dare I say a Quartz

  17. A letter sent to the Swatch group today:
    To Whom it may concern,
    From being one of the most respected watch companies in the world with regard to producing quality watches, you will become most unrespected on 1/1/2016, when you stop supplying highly qualified independent watch repairers with spare parts.
    I [along with many other enthusiasts], am now selling my collection of Swatch watches.
    I am not prepared to have a gun held to my head from a company trading in one of the most democratic countries in the world, imposing what i can only call a dictatorship policy in your very foolish move of not supplying independent repairers with your parts.
    Some of these independent repairers i believe, along with many others, are of a higher standard, then you currently have in-house !
    You have gone from one of the most respected watch companies in the world, to one of the lowest in one foul swoop, purely because of what I believe to be is monopolisation.
    Even now, months before you introduce this policy, myself, along with many other collectors, think you are a disgrace to the whole watch industry.
    You should be ashamed of yourselves.
    Disgusted
    Mr A O’ Malley

  18. Hello! Regrettable news. Although it seems Omega have upped their warranty to 4 years now? (and Rolex to 5?) Any info on other brands such as Zenith, Breitling, Oris, JLC, etc.? Seems everyone’s manufacturing their own in-house movements because of these issues nowadays anyway. Cheers.

  19. Letter sent to the Swatch contact-us page.
    Considered signing off with “so Suck S#!t” but opted for a more modest tone:
    “Finally, if you truly value your customers, I would implore you to overturn this regressive parts policy before you lose too many loyal customers.”
    Watch-out NOMOS….here I come! 🙂

  20. Hi Christian, great article to refocus all vintage Omega collectors and those considering purchasing new watches from the Swatch stable. I experienced similar restrictive malpractice in the IT industry about 25-years ago relating to the supply of spare parts and consumables. I was appalled at how my company behaved to drive profits by restricting the supply of parts to cheaper, more expert 3rd party maintenance companies. We lost many clients – and who knows how many sales as a result – but there was a silver lining in the rise of “compatible” products made to equally high standards at a fraction of the OE price.

    As an avid fan and collector of vintage Speedmaster and Seamaster Omega watches (20+ and counting) and a delighted repeat customer of yours, I’m beyond irritated by Swatches greedy behaviour. I’ll certainly be dropping them a line with you in copy to vent my frustration at how they’re destroying their hard won brand loyalty. My missus wants a new watch for her 40th. Guess which brand I won’t be buying!!

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  22. Message sent to Swatch:

    I am a collector of watches, have been involved in this hobby (illness) since I was about 15 years old. At 53 I have not found a cure.

    Having said that, I am concerned that my service requirements for many of my watches will be impacted by your decision to restrict sales of key parts to only the Swatch Group of companies.

    As you could appreciate I have developed my own network of independant local watchsmiths for the service of my 40+ watches, to keep my hobby costs from being prohibitively expensive once said watch is outside of warranty.

    Swatch Group decision will force me to stop purchasing your brands if my future servicing must be single sourced and potentially half a globe away.

    The resurgence of mechanical watches in the last 10 years has required that all watch brands invest in the training of future service technicians / smiths so that these watches can be maintained and repaired.

    To cut off the source of parts to these key service people is not going to encourage the growth of the service industry, as not everyone of these technicians is wanting to work for Swatch Group. Not saying that Swatch Group employment is undesirable, but a certain percentage of these people are solely seeking self-employment.

    Thank you for considering my opinion, I hope you reconsider this decision for the benefit of the watch service industry.

    Sincerely,
    Ken McCandless

  23. I will be writing a very long and detailed email to the swatch group stating my disappointment………………..and i will finish it with this line…
    “My 3 year Seiko 5 is less than +1 sec a day, and if it needs service anyone can do it….so SUCK S#!T…

  24. As someone considering pursuing a career in the watch industry, this is a bit concerning. I tend to prefer vintage stuff myself, but I guess the professional’s work is dependent upon what the customer brings in. Hopefully this move will cause microbrands to rely more heavily and send more business to Seiko, Miyota, and the like, though I really don’t know how much of the market they represent… Perhaps I will need to become an authorized Seagull technician!

  25. I know I have read something about this but I was not sure since when is this going to be enforced on market. I think that it will be just matter of time once some institution will find some ” monopoly” or “cartel” position of swatch group. I am not expert but I a sure that they can’t do this entirely legally. I would compare it to the car industry, they have to supply the parts to the third party. I think that on a long term this will just cannibalise their own spare part manufacturing. If you can not reach the original brand parts, private label will jump in. Like you have already mentioned glass example, branded is over priced, private label jumped in an voila.

    I am not sure how is this going to impact your business, I hope not…anyways keep up with good work that is something what they can not take away from you!

    take care, dusan

    • Hi Dusan,

      This won’t really have any impact on us, as we just move to other brands. We have also built up a good spare parts supply that will last us for a bit. It’s the customers that have to make a decision here…

      Best regards,

      Christian

  26. I have not been a fan of the Swatch Group for a number of years now, due to their thuggish behavior. This news simply reinforces my low opinion of Swatch.

    If one is lucky enough to be able to afford the Prestige, Luxury or High-end watch houses owned by the Swatch Group, then you may not care too much about the rip-off cost of having a watch serviced or repaired. It is the ‘poor-man’ watch aficionado purchasing from the mid or entry level brands who will lose out, by having to pay a repair cost approaching the original purchase price of his or her timepiece.

  27. Looking on the positive side, it opens up the opportunity for a company to develope a robust reliable movement and a steady parts supply (for example Nomos). I know the Swiss make some of the finest watches in the world, but a company like the Swatch Group are inadvertently opening up a niche for competitors. I do however sympathies with those who will be directly affected.

  28. Not a fan of the EU, but they’re pretty tough on the ones that blocks free trading. A claim through the EU system might be the only way forward……

  29. Thanks for the post. If I buy a watch in the future, I’ll look at brands other than Swatch. I’ve had a Nomos for some time so it appears I’m okay. I assume that the ETA quartz products are not affected, right?

  30. The question needs to be asked – is this too little, too late? The impending parts restriction has been in the pipeline for a few years now. A watchmaker in Australia organised action and took his cause to the peak government consumer rights body, and this was at least two years ago. It was unsuccessful.
    I fully support the independent watchmakers and am just as dismayed as everyone else, but I can’t help but think that the horse has bolted.

  31. I try my best to respect old watches despite me knowing very little about them. I like and enjoy seeing them being brought back to life with Christian and Mikka (sorry if my spelling is wrong). Lately, there seems to be a worry with the Swiss. And Yes there is!!! A few months ago the Swiss banking system and government decided not to follow the Euro currency. Therefore about 4 months ago the Swiss Franc roughly saw its value increase two fold on the exchange rate market. This is resulting in any Swiss product or service to increase in price. The consequence would be to loose market share by being too expensive but then, as organized by being out of the EC, one can apply its own pricing policy and restrict distribution. Which one cannot legally challenge with Swiss companies since they are not part of the EC, so Win-Win situation with swiss companies.

    • Short term, Swiss companies will not alter their prices. Medium term term, Swiss companies will give discounts ( facing Asian competition) within reason, and next step Asian companies will get orders (maybe).

  32. Not only does the potential for price gouging worry me – it’s shipping my watches all over the world.

    I like the fact that I can personally hand my watchmaker a piece, and he hands it back to me when done – No bouncing around in a box and being thrown about in transit.

  33. Hi Christian,

    a remarkable action you´ve started from our point of view. Swatch Group is becoming more and more a less customer fiendly partner. And unfortunately they take the same direction where Rolex, LVMH and Richemont already are. We have shared your post on our german blog http://www.der-uhr-macher.de

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  35. Well …. Lets start the ball rolling ……..

    I have just bought a Tissot Visodate Heritage from flea bay, its a good looking watch —-T019430, which has had some naff repairs, so it is an ideal candidate for a new replacement movement.
    It has the wrong balance bridge and the wrong rotor,but is keeping excellent time
    Currently the movement is a sort of ETA 2836-2
    Any suggestions of a suitable movement ????

    Fancy a post for a Swatch group anti restrictive practice upgrade ??

    Regards

    Roj

    • Hi Roj,

      For the time being, there are plenty of parts and donor movements around, so there is no need to substitute the movement.
      This mainly affects the newer watches, rather than the vintage sector.

      • Thanks

        This is a 2012 model …. not my usual sort of thing.
        So I have been looking at the Sellita SW220-1 but even Cousins are not listing a price. Otto Friels in the US have stock and offer a good price…..
        In the end I may have to send it to you to see what needs replacing to make it a proper 2836 movement.
        Trolling around several other watch makers are also looking at the sellita (and Seagull) to replace the ETA movement.

  36. I am a regular reader of your blog and as yet have not commented. I will do the same as others and advise friends and family not to buy any of these brands new in the future. I wonder how long the swatch group will keep this up for once they start losing sales?
    Keep up the good work!
    Paul DC

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  38. Unfortunatly this will affect many watches produced from other companies out of the swatch group as well. I own a couple of german watches both encasing an ETA movement. This might mean (if ETA, hopefully, will continue to supply movements and parts at least to these manufacturers) that I’ll need to send my watches to the manufacturer in germany for servicing instead of just relying on my indipendent (and very good) watchmaker. It’s funny as at the time of buying my first watches I thought ETA was “safer” compared to Nomos, for example, as the movements are (were) ubiquitously in most of the watches out there.

      • I wrote to swatch group on Friday and this morning at 9.00 an Italian representative called me. Anyway, as you can imagine, he said the reason of this move was to ensure more quality. When I said that this would make independent watchmaker die and would limit our freedom to choose the repairer he said that they don’t think that’s true because already many independent watchmakers also in Italy have become authorised repairers during last year’s and they (swatch) are open to all. Strangely he said they will continue supply ETA movements to authorised third party producers so that manufacturers would have still access to parts for repairs (obviously this mean you would have to go through official manufacturer support…). I have to say that at least the guy was very gentle and talked with me several minutes. Unfortunately I had a work conference call awaiting for me and had to quit the conversation and thus I couldn’t argument better the reasons of our concern for ETA policy. This doesn’t add much to what we already knew but I think it would be good more customers express their position contacting swatch.

  39. This new policy ensures that I won’t buy a new SWATCH group watch in future and makes me really happy to own a Nomos Club Automat as my daily wearer. I’ll still look at the vintage offerings though!

  40. As an Omega owner who would like to use your services in the future, should I buy a mainspring now to keep for when my watch needs servicing? Or are alternatives available from other sources?

  41. Man, they are digging their own grave there…

    For a tourbillon Breguet or top complication Blancpain watch, I can understand their idea, but for a “standard” ETA movement… No way!

    After having served the same watch three times in the fantastic Swiss workshop with poor result and paying your price x 2,5, I can assure you that I would never consider buying a new watch from the black list above!

  42. I have forwarded the following to the Swatch Group:

    “I’ve just been made aware of your up-coming restrictive parts supply policy.

    I own Omega, Tissot and Hamilton watches, both vintage and current.

    Please be advised that due to your unethical attempt to deprive me of a free choice in where I have my watches serviced I will no longer be buying any of the Swatch Group brands. I will advise all my friends, colleagues and acquaintances to do the same.”

    • I’ve been emailed by Laszlo Futo, Customer Service Manager for The Swatch Group (Canada) Ltd. Mr. Futo asks for my phone number “so I could call you on the mentioned subject”. Apparently even with my address Mr. Futo can’t find me in the phone book. I don’t think I want to waste time hearing what he has to say as Swatch’s action speaks for itself.

    • Hope you dont mind, but I have copied your message modified it slightly and sent the same to Swatch.
      Ive told them Im due to retire soon with a healthy pension and was considering investing in two new Omega watches. I will now sell the one Ive got, along with my Tissot x2 and look at a Grand Seiko.
      Regards
      Shane

  43. Christian, fair to say that you will still be able to perform standard “servicing” of these watches, as long as replacement of parts isn’t required? Or will you simply begin flatly declining to perform any work on watches from these makers? Also, I’m assuming that the options for “vintage” watches from these makers may differ, in that there are tons of spare parts available on-line?

    Just want to clarify the degree to which this impacts the services you will be able to offer your customers owning these brands, new and old.

    • In the vintage sector, I don’t think this will change a lot. We already have to source most parts on the the free market, or use our own extensive stock.
      It’s stuff like Omega crystals, which are totally overpriced for what they are, anyway, and a nice Sternkreuz will do just as well, anyway.
      As a vintage watch owner, I wouldn’t worry too much.
      This is more about your decision about what watch to buy next.

  44. Thanks for this, as a watch collector this will be useful “black list” of brands not to touch. ETA is tricky though because it’s used in so many other brands such as Christopher Ward, Steinhart, etc. A couple of questions… what about Sellita, and are Seiko OK about supplying parts?

    • Christopher Ward is as restrictive as the Swatch Group – they will not sell parts for their new in-house movement to anyone…Sellita is fine, and Seiko parts tend to trickle onto the market through eBay.

  45. Thats is a silly move.
    Come 1.1.2016, the Chinese clone manufacturer will probably flood the market with alternate parts supplies at 1/2 the price.
    In my opinion, its a double edge sword which will leaves deep scar only on itself.

    • Swatch are trying to preserve exclusivity of their brands so that they can keep prices high. You would be disappointed to find the ETA movement in your Omega was also fitted to what might be considered a less prestigious brand, but I agree with Chuen, they are making a gap in the market for a competent manufacturer to supply parts. Renata and Ronda made pattern parts in the heyday of Swiss mechanical watches, now it will probably be the Chinese.

      • Hi Christian nice piece of journalism don’t forget Lvmh, Richemont group and the King of restrictive practices Rolex.
        I am sure when Rolex started this all the watch brands looked on at there greed then the massive profits and thought we will have some of that.
        Us the customer must vote with our feet and money. Email you favorite watch brand and tell them what you think. Next time your buying a new watch ask the shop, the brands policy on independent watch service if you don’t get a favorable answer don’t buy and tell them why.

          • Mark, what Christian said holds true. If you were the Queen or the Pope Rolex wouldn’t sell you a 1 quid gasket!

            They want the watch in their possession. If they’re in a good mood that day and ate their Swiss chocolate, maybe they will honor your request!

            To add to what Christian said about parts “popping up” here and there… I’m sure you’re asking “Than how do parts get on the market?”

            To my knowledge, Rolex NEVER sold parts to anyone, but I could be wrong… or atleast they haven’t sold any directly in the past 20-30yrs. Well, lets say you send them a watch to be serviced, Rolex “highly recommends” (i.e. basically demands) that X be changed, your dial looks horrible, etc… or you want a ‘service dial”, a different bezel, etc. on your watch… but ask them to PLEASE keep & send you back the old part as well, because you would like to keep your watch 100% original, in that case, they usually will agree (from what I have seen).

            You get your watch back and they honored your request to keep and send you the old parts…now, you may be holding an old dial in your hands, maybe a bezel and a few gears… whats stopping you from putting it on eBay now? Nothing!

            Last. due to the price of gold and before Rolex became so collectible, just like many pocket watches, there are people out there that remove the movement, dial and hands from the case and bracelet. Lets say 10yrs ago you had a 10yr old solid gold Day-Date. It cost you X but due to the gold market you can get a lot more than you payed for the watch. So you trade it in for a new watch and some cash… The gold trader removes the movement, maybe sells it himself or works with a watch-smith who sells the parts?

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