Rolex sues customizer

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Re: Rolex sues customizer

Post by tomsimac » December 5th 2019, 10:05am

If I was on the jury:

I would ask if the automakers, Ford as an example, can sue Shelby
Or me for putting chrome wheels on my car or truck. This is insane
And Rolex will lose... unless it gets a dumbed down jury and corrupt judge

Ok that’s my opinion...... but wow. Why not sue China and all the counterfeiters in the world?
Pick a small target and get a ruling to extort others I guess
I can see GMO products and so many customizes, doing what owners of said product want.
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Re: Rolex sues customizer

Post by JAS1125 » December 5th 2019, 10:16am

tomsimac wrote:
December 5th 2019, 10:05am
If I was on the jury:

I would ask if the automakers, Ford as an example, can sue Shelby
Or me for putting chrome wheels on my car or truck. This is insane
And Rolex will lose... unless it gets a dumbed down jury and corrupt judge

Ok that’s my opinion...... but wow. Why not sue China and all the counterfeiters in the world?
Pick a small target and get a ruling to extort others I guess
I can see GMO products and so many customizes, doing what owners of said product want.
It looks like the basis for the suit is that the customizers are degrading the Rolex product itself, according to Rolex. Different from suing all the Chinese homage makers.

However, if I owned a Rolex in my opinion I should do whatever the hell I want to do with it. If they are successful, and I believe that they will be it's going to stop any type of modifications at all.

Probably even those guys who do etchings on the bracelet and case
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Re: Rolex sues customizer

Post by labman » December 5th 2019, 10:40am

tomsimac wrote:
December 5th 2019, 10:05am
If I was on the jury:

I would ask if the automakers, Ford as an example, can sue Shelby
Or me for putting chrome wheels on my car or truck. This is insane
And Rolex will lose... unless it gets a dumbed down jury and corrupt judge

Ok that’s my opinion...... but wow. Why not sue China and all the counterfeiters in the world?
Pick a small target and get a ruling to extort others I guess
I can see GMO products and so many customizes, doing what owners of said product want.

I was thinking along the same line - automobile customization.

They do it with Bentley, Benz, BMW, Audi, Rolls, etc.

I cannot see Rolex winning a jury trial on this - although it creates quite the financial burden on who they are suing to get there.

:shrug:
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Re: Rolex sues customizer

Post by labman » December 5th 2019, 10:45am

The fact that the following excerpt is at the bottom of their home page makes Rolex's case a little more difficult to prove IMO.

laCalifornienne is an independent watch dealer and is not authorized, endorsed, sponsored by, associated with and/or affiliated with Rolex, S.A. or Cartier International AG. laCalifornienne only sells pre-owned reconditioned and refurbished Rolex and Cartier watches that were subject to one or more of the following: (1) Repair and replacement of damaged watch movement parts with 100% used Rolex or Cartier parts; (2) replacement of original watch crystals with aftermarket mineral and acrylic crystals; (3) refashioning of bezel (if any) with original metals and parts; (4) stripping the paint and finish from the original watch face dials, and repainting and refinishing them in various vibrant colors (reinstalling all Rolex and Cartier marks and original indicia), and (5) replacement of damaged original leather straps with new, handmade and hand-painted leather straps. laCalifornienne provides its own warranties on the watches it sells. Neither Rolex nor Cartier is under any obligation to warranty-service watches sold by laCalifornienne. Rolex®, Datejust® and Oyster Perpetual® are registered trademarks of the Rolex Corporation (Rolex USA, Rolex S.A.). Cartier® and Tank® are registered trademarks of Cartier International AG. To buy a new Rolex watch, please visit rolex.com for a list of authorized Rolex dealers near you. To buy a new Cartier watch, please visit cartier.com for a list of authorized Cartier dealers near you.

They clearly state what you are getting, no affiliation, no obligation from the original manufacturer and if you want an original to buy one from the manufacturer.
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Last edited by labman on December 5th 2019, 10:47am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rolex sues customizer

Post by MKTheVintageBloke » December 5th 2019, 4:22pm

On one hand, this doesn't really seem fair. As much as stuff like these "customized" (though more like "sodomized") watches is repulsive, they don't claim it left the factory the way it is now.

On the other hand, what they're doing to these watches is fucking atrocious - it's plain vandalism, and they turn perfectly good watches into horological dingleberries straight outta Bombay. Thus they deserve the mishap of Rolex getting medieval on them. Guess they'd also deserve cholera, scabies and some other 19th century diseases.
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Re: Rolex sues customizer

Post by AlbertaTime » December 5th 2019, 7:32pm

foghorn wrote:
December 5th 2019, 10:46am
I paid for the watch. It's MY watch and I'll do whatever the fuck I want to it. Rolex owns their customers now? Fuck them.
That's the spirit. Did any buyer ever sign a contract stating the watch would be kept perpetually in it's original configuration? Did Rolex ever have the balls to straight up ask for such a contract before the seller was allowed to purchase?

In short: the watch was *purchased* not licenced.
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Re: Rolex sues customizer

Post by TemerityB » December 5th 2019, 7:44pm

AlbertaTime wrote:
December 5th 2019, 7:32pm
In short: the watch was *purchased* not licenced.
Which once again makes me think of how about three or four years ago Rolex took away warranties on their new product if it was sold by the buyer (meaning if I sell foggy my Rolex, he doesn't get their warranty to go along with it - he'd have to pay to have the same watch I bought, in warranty time-wise, serviced - he doesn't get warranty since he didn't buy it new from an AD).

I do understand Rolex's attempt to control their product flow as means of keeping their impeccable quality high. However, calling a mod a counterfeit ... I think they should just keep creating more of their phony "shortages" and STFU. Add that to the warranty BS, and, well ... next time I'm gonna drop some large, I'll choose Omega - I'll get similar quality without jumping through hoops, thank you.
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Re: Rolex sues customizer

Post by 3Flushes » December 5th 2019, 8:49pm

This isn't just some guy who went out and fucked with his own watch. This guy and his old lady own a customization business that charges for its work.

I think Rolex will beat them.

Do what you want to your own watch by yourself, they probably couldn't touch you.

But I didn't major in that .
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Re: Rolex sues customizer

Post by AlbertaTime » December 5th 2019, 9:37pm

3Flushes wrote:
December 5th 2019, 8:49pm
This isn't just some guy who went out and fucked with his own watch. This guy and his old lady own a customization business that charges for its work.

I think Rolex will beat them.

Do what you want to your own watch by yourself, they probably couldn't touch you.

But I didn't major in that .
Lots of people buy, customize and then sell lots of things as a business. What makes this so different?
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Re: Rolex sues customizer

Post by biglove » December 5th 2019, 9:46pm

My $$$ is on Rolex winning. Is one thing to have someone customize your watch, I think Rolex's point is that these might be considered OEM? Of course that's some real BS.

Why haven't they pursued Bamford for their hideous trash mods? Does Rolex have a contract with them or is it an in-house mod group?
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Re: Rolex sues customizer

Post by conjurer » December 5th 2019, 10:48pm

A lot of this brings to mind the Omega/Costco case back in 2010. Costco got their hands on a buttload of gray-market Omegas from Christ knows where; they then sold them at a deep discount, which pissed off Omega, who whistled up their mouthpieces and took 'em to the People's Court. Omega eventually lost, since it wasn't like Costco knocked off a jewelry store and stole the watches. Now, of course, you can buy Omega's at a big discount from various gray market joints.

The difference here, perhaps, is that the California jamokes were redialing the watches, perhaps with non-Rolex dials (although, considering Rolex's appalling redialing practices, this is indeed ironic). Rolex's other contention, that the watches sold by the California jamokes might not be water-resistant, and thus will leak, ruin the movements and then ruin Rolex's reputation, is absurd.

I don't think Rolex will win this one. Maybe they can drive the California jamokes into bankruptcy with legal costs, but in court, I'd bet the Big R would lose.
My little brain can't even comprehend how deep that is.

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Re: Rolex sues customizer

Post by Nuvolari » December 5th 2019, 10:54pm

“ In effect, Rolex is telling its customers they cannot alter their own watches and, while tampering with timepieces would always have invalidated warranties, now it is moving into the realms of legal disputes.”

This will be interesting to see unfold. I believe Rolex will be found to have been over-reaching.

Using the car analogy - if I buy a new 911, paint it a color the factory never offered, jack the turbo boost to 2 bar, and put on a horrifically terribly droning non-factory exhaust... before I sell it, have I made a counterfeit? A replica? Hell no. I hosed a perfectly good car... now it’s ugly, and doesn’t run right... but it doesn’t become counterfeit.

Can I expect the manufacturer to honor my warranty when the engine starts making “a squeaky clickin’ noise”? Also, hello no.

Who the hell is this bully entity that seeks to quash an independent reselling modifier? It turns out there is a market in bad taste, and Rolex knows this to be true... but it would seem they want to also control all post-sales activity outside of the dealer network.

Piss off. I’ll buy what I want, no mater how far the seller may have deviated from the factory baseline in the name of giving ugly a little spotlight. That’s my option because YOU didn’t spend any time making your product ugly - so, I had to find a special artisan with sufficiently poor eyesight. Hell, I should sue YOU, Rolex - for being lazy!
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Re: Rolex sues customizer

Post by conjurer » December 5th 2019, 11:09pm

biglove wrote:
December 5th 2019, 9:46pm
My $$$ is on Rolex winning. Is one thing to have someone customize your watch, I think Rolex's point is that these might be considered OEM? Of course that's some real BS.

Why haven't they pursued Bamford for their hideous trash mods? Does Rolex have a contract with them or is it an in-house mod group?
An interesting point. AFAIK, Bamford no longer does Rolex mods, moving on to some other watch company to modify watches to make them interesting to various thieves of valor, who might want, say, an IWC with Popeye on the dial, to go along with their tatty old radios and military patches of units they never served with.

Interestingly, I recall seeing a show on PBS a few years ago about a famous London luxury retailer--I forget which--that showed a scene in their jewelry department where a salesman was showing off a Bamford Skydweller to a particular shitheel who would have the bad taste to buy one, along with other regular Rolexes in the showcase. From this I would guess that Rolex, at the very least, put up with Bamford--maybe they even worked hand in glove with Bamford, because there were only so many sweaty, track-suit wearing Russian oligarchs who had the scratch and poor taste to buy OEM Skydwellers.
My little brain can't even comprehend how deep that is.

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Re: Rolex sues customizer

Post by tiktok » December 5th 2019, 11:31pm

Bamford and Tag are in bed together.

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Re: Rolex sues customizer

Post by 3Flushes » December 5th 2019, 11:32pm

AlbertaTime wrote:
December 5th 2019, 9:37pm
3Flushes wrote:
December 5th 2019, 8:49pm
This isn't just some guy who went out and fucked with his own watch. This guy and his old lady own a customization business that charges for its work.

I think Rolex will beat them.

Do what you want to your own watch by yourself, they probably couldn't touch you.

But I didn't major in that .
Lots of people buy, customize and then sell lots of things as a business. What makes this so different?
My guess: Because the mod company uses parts with the Rolex mark that are aftermarket crap and that they are third party profiteers doing so, makes me think that they could be on the hook.
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Re: Rolex sues customizer

Post by AlbertaTime » December 5th 2019, 11:49pm

Are the Rolex branded parts they use made by Rolex.

If they're counterfeit parts, that's a whole different ball game, but if they use generic parts or other-branded aftermarket to modify, then...so does every bike and guitar modifier.

If the parts are gray market but legitimate, and described by the seller as modified, then I donm't see how that would make the purchase, modification and re-sale illegal.
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Re: Rolex sues customizer

Post by Hawk » December 6th 2019, 12:03am

AlbertaTime wrote:
December 5th 2019, 9:37pm
3Flushes wrote:
December 5th 2019, 8:49pm
This isn't just some guy who went out and fucked with his own watch. This guy and his old lady own a customization business that charges for its work.

I think Rolex will beat them.

Do what you want to your own watch by yourself, they probably couldn't touch you.

But I didn't major in that .
Lots of people buy, customize and then sell lots of things as a business. What makes this so different?
I *speculate* that it may be related to differences in IP laws in different countries. One can lose trademark protection in the US if one does not police commercial use of one's IP. And it is restricted to commercial use - Rolex isn't saying what an owner can do to his watch - he can feed it a wood chipper, cast the parts in acrylic and wear it around his neck for all Rolex cares. There seems to be some confusion (not yours) about what Rolex is actually doing - there are no restrictions on what you do to YOUR watch. But if somebody gathers up a pant load of them, fucks wiffim and markets the result then Rolex can step in.

The requirement to show good faith efforts to police one's IP can have some IP holders standing holding their dick - like the Swiss FH when Lior tried to void their trademark by claiming they'd allowed it to be misused. USPTO's ruling in the FH's favor didn't strike me as a slam-dunk. It seemed Lior made a plausible run at voiding it. Our requirement to police IP on the part of the IP holder could have the holder holding their dick or looking like a dick - maybe both. I wouldn't even bet too much money on the Swiss FH's awakening with inviter being based solely on our bitching rather than the Lior scare. (I still give TemerityB ALL the credit for the Ventura / Ricochet thing though).

Bamford? WTF knows? Bamford molested new product, GB might not require policing on the part of the IP holder or Rolex may well have blessed their molestations. Or something else entirely - it's speculation on my part.

But I'm not seeing anything that says an owner of a Rolex can't do whatever he wants. Moreover he can hire someone to molest the product on his behalf. But when the molester decides to turn the practice into a retail business with "Rolex" writ large across the advertisements then Rolex' lawyers have to do something or nothing and "nothing" carries risk in these united states.

That whole Lior / SWI / Swiss FH tempest in a teapot has forced me to view apparently over-enthusiastic protection measures in a marginally more benign manner.
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Re: Rolex sues customizer

Post by conjurer » December 6th 2019, 12:31am

Hawk wrote:
December 6th 2019, 12:03am
AlbertaTime wrote:
December 5th 2019, 9:37pm
3Flushes wrote:
December 5th 2019, 8:49pm
This isn't just some guy who went out and fucked with his own watch. This guy and his old lady own a customization business that charges for its work.

I think Rolex will beat them.

Do what you want to your own watch by yourself, they probably couldn't touch you.

But I didn't major in that .
Lots of people buy, customize and then sell lots of things as a business. What makes this so different?
I *speculate* that it may be related to differences in IP laws in different countries. One can lose trademark protection in the US if one does not police commercial use of one's IP. And it is restricted to commercial use - Rolex isn't saying what an owner can do to his watch - he can feed it a wood chipper, cast the parts in acrylic and wear it around his neck for all Rolex cares. There seems to be some confusion (not yours) about what Rolex is actually doing - there are no restrictions on what you do to YOUR watch. But if somebody gathers up a pant load of them, fucks wiffim and markets the result then Rolex can step in.

The requirement to show good faith efforts to police one's IP can have some IP holders standing holding their dick - like the Swiss FH when Lior tried to void their trademark by claiming they'd allowed it to be misused. USPTO's ruling in the FH's favor didn't strike me as a slam-dunk. It seemed Lior made a plausible run at voiding it. Our requirement to police IP on the part of the IP holder could have the holder holding their dick or looking like a dick - maybe both. I wouldn't even bet too much money on the Swiss FH's awakening with inviter being based solely on our bitching rather than the Lior scare. (I still give TemerityB ALL the credit for the Ventura / Ricochet thing though).

Bamford? WTF knows? Bamford molested new product, GB might not require policing on the part of the IP holder or Rolex may well have blessed their molestations. Or something else entirely - it's speculation on my part.

But I'm not seeing anything that says an owner of a Rolex can't do whatever he wants. Moreover he can hire someone to molest the product on his behalf. But when the molester decides to turn the practice into a retail business with "Rolex" writ large across the advertisements then Rolex' lawyers have to do something or nothing and "nothing" carries risk in these united states.

That whole Lior / SWI / Swiss FH tempest in a teapot has forced me to view apparently over-enthusiastic protection measures in a marginally more benign manner.
Quite so. In the Omega/Costco business I referenced earlier, Omega was trying to throw it's weight around, complaining that Costco was "devaluing" it's brand. Of course, this was all Omega's fault. If they did business the same way that Rolex does business--viz. they charge the same price in local currency for their watches as they do in the USA or Western Europe, then Omega wouldn't have an issue. There would be no reason for grey-marketers to buy up Omegas in, say, Albania, and then try to sell them in North America.

Alas for Omega, only the very top luxury brands (viz. Rolex) can do this. If you want to buy a Skydweller (as if you'd actually want to) in Albina, you'd pay pretty much the same price, in whatever shithole local currency they use in Albania, that you'd pay in New York City. Omega, being the perennial also-ran that it is, needs to sell their watches for a lot less in Albania. This isn't because shitheels in Albania are smarter than they are in other shithole countries, but because Rolex has the name and the brand. Indeed, in some shithole countries, Rolexes are better than gold, if one needs to jump into a Cessna and flee from a public hanging from a lamp post. The fact that Rolex is spending a lot of money to protect their brand shouldn't be surprising.
My little brain can't even comprehend how deep that is.

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Re: Rolex sues customizer

Post by tiktok » December 6th 2019, 1:48am

I really feel no love for Rolex, they hide behind a charitable tax dodge.
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Re: Rolex sues customizer

Post by foghorn » December 6th 2019, 6:45am

3Flushes wrote:
December 5th 2019, 8:49pm
This isn't just some guy who went out and fucked with his own watch. This guy and his old lady own a customization business that charges for its work.


But the watches they work on are/were already purchased and are no longer owned by Rolex. The people having the work done or buying them are fully aware that they are "customized". Nobody thinks they are straight from the Rolex factory. I guess when people say "Rolex is King" they mean it in a literal sense.
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Re: Rolex sues customizer

Post by tomsimac » December 6th 2019, 7:14am

Levi Strauss has trademark and MSRP which used to be rigidly enforced. So cutting the pant leg off to make them shorts meant I was breaking laws. Who knew. I was just a kid who could not afford patches in the ‘50’s.
This idea you buy something and can’t use it as you want argument is lame.
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Re: Rolex sues customizer

Post by Hawk » December 6th 2019, 8:21am

tomsimac wrote:
December 6th 2019, 7:14am
Levi Strauss has trademark and MSRP which used to be rigidly enforced. So cutting the pant leg off to make them shorts meant I was breaking laws. Who knew. I was just a kid who could not afford patches in the ‘50’s.
This idea you buy something and can’t use it as you want argument is lame.
Quite so. In fact it's so lame that's not what's going on. You can make your jeans into shorts, you can make them into assless chaps, you can sew lace around the pockets you can do all that yourself or pay some hipster to do it for you.

What you can't do (if Levi's was Rolex) is buy 400 pairs of Levis on the used market, fuck with them and then market them with "Levis" trademarks intact and included in your advertising.

We've got sufficient controversy over Rolex's actions here without portraying it as far worse than it is - they're bringing suit against the guy that's bought a bunch, customized them and is selling them retail with Rolex's name attached. They are not messing with the customers. And I doubt, but could not prove, that they'd leave the customizer alone if they only removed that name from the dial - there might be some minor angst over a crown on the crown but who knows.

If you're the purchaser of a Rolex you can do whatever you want with it. You can put it in the pocket of your Levis and do whatever you wish to the set. The controversy involves buying either product in job lots, incorporating a dog's dinner of Rolex or Levi parts and incorporating shit the manufacturer is loath to consider then going into business selling the results with the trademark markings intact. Levis doesn't care if you work over thousands of their jeans and sell them with hipster-approved mods but I'd wager they're sold as "Jordach" or some such shit. Rolex couldn't do squat if they were sold as "LaCalifornienne" watches. They might just have to grin and bear it if they were sold as "LaCalifornienne with random Rolex parts".

I don't have much of a dog in the fight but I'm inclined to believe that the damn things, on their way to being what they are, stopped being Rolex at some point and became for all intents and purposes "LaCalifornienne with random Rolex parts". If so they should be marked accordingly without Rolex having to strong arm them into doing so.
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