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Police: Watches Among Loot in Many Crimes

-Therese Umerlik (PA) 1/27/17

Police: Watches Among Loot in Many Crimes

 

Routinely, when I search for information about watches and the industry, I stumble upon news stories where wrist watches were allegedly taken.

 

So for this blog, I decided to aggregate some of those accounts.

 

A Canadian tourist sitting on a closed beach at 1:30 a.m. was robbed, said Miami Beach police. Not entirely surprising. And they took his cash.

 

Brisbane City Police in Australia are looking for a suspect who appears to be doing the old switcheroo by swapping high-end watches with convincing replicas. What a sleight of hand trick!

 

A watch was swept into a stash of army medals that police said were stolen from a home in Stourport in England. Among the medals were Golden jubilee medal, a former Yugoslavia medal, a Northern Ireland medal, and a British Empire medal. That’s pretty illustrious company for a yellow metal rotary watch with a brown strap to share.

 

After a family welcomed a girl into their home, she left with a wrist watch among other valuables, said police in Chandigarh in India. And yes, this occurred while the family was sleeping.

 

We all know stories about poor boxes in churches being robbed. Well, a family went to church and returned to discover that gold necklaces and a watch, among other items, were missing from their home, according to police in Tikobo No. 1 in Ghana.

 

Some accounts of watch thefts are not slim on the details. I could not summarize this information because . . . well, you’ll understand why:

 

  • “A Tag Heuer Monaco wrist watch, with a square black face and stainless steel casing, a black leather strap, silver coloured numbers and hands was among the items stolen, police said, adding that this watch is a limited edition numbered 4158 of 5000.
  •  
  • “An Omega Speed Master wind up analogue wrist watch, engraved on the case commemorating the Apollo 11 Mission, with a stainless steel case and strap, was taken, police said.
  •  
  • “Also stolen was a wind up Omega Sea Master chronograph analogue wrist watch with a black leather strap with holes punched in, police confirmed. It has a black face and the second hand is coloured orange, police added.”

 

Wow! If that thief was not aware of the value of those watches, they are now.

 

Enjoy your weekend and keep your watches close.

Swiss Watches Not Only Game in Town

-Therese Umerlik (PA) 1/26/17

Exports of Swiss watches throughout the global community are down for the second consecutive year, according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.

 

Average consumers may not find this terribly concerning: they just want a watch. Many brands are filling the need for complicated, flashy, or socially conscience wristwatches at reasonable or affordable prices. This blog has reported on several, such as Hamilton Watch Co. and Casio.

 

I won’t bother you with the numbers. The report provides statistics of positive and negative percentage changes in exports that are plotted on graphs of countries and regions.

 

Yet this two-year industry trend reveals economic fractures, causes that experts attribute to the declines in 2015 and 2016.

 

Decline in tourism in Europe.

 

Decline in oil revenue in the Middle East.

 

Consumers interested in the “experience of luxury” rather than buying luxury goods. Fascinating . . . the experience of luxury.

 

And watches are just too expensive. At the SIHH event this past week, one watch was priced at more than $1 million.

 

For those who enjoy the artistry and mechanical ingenuity of wristwatches, the market has not bottomed out for you, as experts say the Swiss market has.

 

Emerging and new brands bring affordability and creativity to the marketplace. Through their innovative timepieces, they grant average consumers the experience of luxury.

Micromachines, Steampunk, Nixie Tubes: Future of Timekeeping?

-Therese Umerlik (PA) 1/25/17

Science fiction has been the playground for exploring extremes.

 

Extremes in politics.

 

Extremes in society.

 

Extremes in machines.

 

This blog, however, is not fiction.

 

The Geneva drive, a two-geared mechanism with its rotary motion, inspired bioengineers at Columbia University to create a super small version made of hydrogel. This micromachine made with the help of a 3-D printer could deliver doses of drugs in the human body, according to 3dprinting.com.

 

The biobot does not require batteries or wires and early tests on lab mice with bone cancer were encouraging, according to IEEE.org.

 

And what would this blog be without a reference to steampunk?

 

I saw this watch today and I had to share it. The watch by new brand Wryst is not in production at this time, but it certainly challenges the very way we look at time, according to WatchPro.com.

 

For example, different dials in different locations measure different aspects of time.

 

Another watchmaker used Nixie tubes for its Nixie watch, according to Geeky-Gadgets.com.

 

It’s just prototype but could this be a future of extreme timekeeping?

Stripes and Stardust: Made in USA®

-Keith Lehman (PA) 1/24/17

Buying US-made products gives a sense of pride and nostalgia for most Americans. I’ve experienced this even when buying an antique that I know was created here in the United States. The Made in USA, LLC is in fact a trademarked brand whose standards businesses aspire to meet.

 

But what does “Made in USA®” specifically mean? According to FTC accreditation standards the business must be operational in the United States for at least the most recent 12 months and the product or service must be “all or virtually all” made in the United States.

 

This all or virtually all standard is a challenge for the modern-day watchmaker. Since the exodus of US watchmaking to Switzerland beginning in the 1950s, mechanical watchmakers are hard-pressed to find the machinery and talent necessary to make a proper watch let alone mass-produce enough to be competitive with other major brands. On the quartz side, battery-powered movements are inexpensively produced in Asia, so it’s economically sound to import these movements.

 

Recently, the FTC challenged Shinola’s “Where American is Made” slogan, finding that “100% of the cost of materials they used to make certain watches is attributable to imported materials.” Although its watches and other products are assembled in Detroit, the materials are not. To reflect this finding, Shinola changed its website to “Shinola watches are built in Detroit with Swiss and imported parts.”

 

Other watch companies have a different approach to their products. Colorado-based Vortic Watch Co. refabricates its watches by using original American pocket watch movements and refitting them into 3-D printed wristwatch cases. RGM Watch Co. in Pennsylvania makes the American-made 801 movement but also sells watches with modified ETA movements.

 

To further complicate matters, many former US companies retain their name but are foreign owned and manufactured, including Bulova, Hamilton, and Waltham. Countless other smaller US watchmakers make watches in various degrees of US-made parts and labor, but consumers who value a US-made watch should thoroughly research their prospective purchase.

 

Carl Sagan, American astrophysicist, author, and PBS star, famously said, “If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the Universe.” Because we are all stardust, I think “Made by the Universe” would be the best claim for any manufacturer to make.

Watchmakers Expand on Customer Experience

-Therese Umerlik (PA) 1/23/17

Building confidence and attracting new watch buyers is critical in today’s competitive global marketplace. Many companies and micro-businesses have been dazzling consumers with the intricacy and sophistication of their timepieces as evident during the SIHH event from January 16, 2017, to January 20, 2017.

 

These spectacular watches, however, endure use and can be damaged—and that’s where warranties come in, according to The New York Times.

 

Warranties are not new to the watch industry. They typically are good for two to three years, but Rolex in 2015 extended its warranty for all Rolexes to five years. Other manufacturers followed, including Omega and Breitling with four years and five years, respectively, on certain models.

 

But for some brands, warranties are part of an overall customer experience.

 

“Owning a high-end watch is less about the product and more about living an experience,” said Gregory Dourde, chief executive of the independent brand HYT, to reporter Nazanin Lankarani.

 

This service includes picking up watches from client’s houses no matter where they live for maintenance or repair. These committed employees are referred to as “The Squad.”

 

Independent watchmaker MB&F encourages owners of new and old watches to join its online club, The Tribe, with warranty extensions as a benefit.

 

Anyone who obtains a watch through an auction naturally has questions about the actual quality of the timepieces. MB&F offers free repairs while F. P. Journe buys select watches from auctions and resells them fully restored with statements of provenance and warranties.

 

“A watch is easier to sell or buy if it has a warranty,” said Charris Yadigaroglou, a representative of MB&F, who also told Lankarani. “The new warranty was primarily a way for us to support the secondary market for our watches.”

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