The Future of WOW.tv

March 19, 2013

BASED on a recent thread over at Watchlords, one cannot help but wonder if WoW.tv’s days are numbered. The Ustream infomercial-as-shopping network is no longer being carried on several cable systems, including Time Warner, FiOS or Dish. A look at wowtv’s website reveals that they are only on DirectTV.

WHAT can we attribute this pull back in spending to? Might it be a result of the losses incurred by SWI’s unsuccessful litigation attempting to take the trademark “Swiss Made” away from the
Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry?

OR might it be the result of the new owners of SWI, Clearlake Capital Group. There has been some speculation that the sale was necessary because of the fight with the Swiss Federation but with this new infusion of capital (and new board members) it may just be nothing more than a change in direction. It could be possible that the cost to included the programming on the cable networks is far more than the actual returns. Couple that with the salaries of the hosts and you have to wonder how much ROI there is even if it is streamed exclusively via the Internet.

In any event, what once seemed a potential challenge to ShopNBC watch sales now looks to be little more than a vanity, basement Internet show.

HERE’S an interesting development in the world of TV Horology: Swiss Watch International has apparently lost the use of the word Swiss in both the name Swiss Watch International and Swiss Legend.

I stumbled on a legal decision dated January 30th of this year while researching another possible blog topic and started reading through the court records in the case, Swiss Watch International Inc. V. Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, T.T.A.B., No. 92046786, 1/30/12

The decision by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the United States Patent and Trademark Office was the culmination of an action that began in 2006 when the USPTO did not grant Swiss Watch International trademarks for either their name or house brand, Swiss Legend on the grounds that the “Swiss” would create confusion with the Federation’s marks “Swiss” and “Swiss made”.

SWI then attempted to have the “Swiss” and “Swiss Made” marks cancelled in the US on the grounds that the names had become generic in the US because the Federation did not control their use and so they were no longer entitled to protection.

But the USPTO dismissed this case and ruled that the certification marks are not generic, despite the unauthorized use of these trademarks by other parties. They cited the Federation’s worldwide monitoring and enforcement system as well as the actions they have taken against third parties that have infringed on these trademarks, as well as the American public’s recognition that the certification marks ‘Swiss’ and ‘Swiss Made’ identify the origin of a timepieces manufacture as Swiss.

Swiss Watch International has already registered a new Legend logo and trademark and I couldn’t find anything pertaining to the parent company’s name.

What strikes me is the argument; that the trademarks are “generic” in the US because third parties have used them without penalty. Might this weak argument be a finger pointed at Invicta for such memorable missteps as the Swina Gate Fiasco and the great The Great DD Debacle? There’s no way to tell because the exhibits used to make their case are either redacted or confidential.

As expected, the company currently known as SWI has filed an appeal so it will probably be awhile until we see how this case ends.

Suprise, Suprise!

January 22, 2012

HELLO! After a long hiatus attributed to both a lack of inspiration and the demands of work, I’ve stumbled on something that just reaffirms my loss of interest in contemporary Horology.

I purchased the Swiss Army Convoy Chronograph a few years ago at my local TJ Maxx. I had looked at it and was impressed by the overall heft and feel of the steel as well as the finish. I also liked the lines and overall scale of the piece the case looked very modern. What I wasn’t impressed with was the ‘look’ of screw down pushers that were not actually functional but a design element to replicated the design of the crown. I’d expect function over style with a brand like Victorinox. I also am not a mineral glass fan, especially on a quartz watch. And while i appreciated that the piece was swiss made the price at $250 was a no go. Not for a quartz. It was one to keep an eye on for the inevitable price drop if it didn’t move and it lasted long enough to reach my price.

Weeks passed and it made its way to the clearance case and the game began. $250 to $239. With each passing week, $10 to $15 dollars would drop off the price as the stack of orange tags grew thicker.

Weeks went by and all of the other watches in the case were churning while the Convoy remained. Eventually, I asked to see it again and immediately looked at the price. It was now appropriately priced (for me anyways) at $115.99 so I pulled the trigger.

The battery started to go back in September as it was losing about five minutes a day. Into its box it went to have the battery replaced at some point in the near future.

Thursday of last week became the past and the revelation of opening the case was a let down.

20120122-135527.jpg

While both the face and exposed case back are labeled “SWISS MADE” the inside of the case back reveals the actual origin of the case:

20120122-135932.jpg

NOW there has been a lot of exposure of Invicta Watch Company engaging in murky behavior with “Swiss” watches originating in China, as well as talk of the Swiss Federation investigating some of Invicta’s claims of Swiss Made. But when asked for comment, the FH have refused. Maybe because whoever is manufacturing “Swiss Made” timepieces for Invicta is also manufacturing them for companies like Victornoix. I know, I know; Swiss Made by the legal definition really only pertains to the movement, finishing and assembly. I expected an all Swiss product from a Swiss based company. Maybe I’m being unrealistic with that expectation in today’s modern world of Asian near slave labor wages. But it makes me think there is no investigation. That, more than likely, the Swiss are badmouthing Asian opportunists because they’re not their opportunists. Maybe shining a light on even one small aspect of this name game, like the one Invicta is playing, would actually expose the entire Swiss watch industry as breaking its own rules to maintain profits on lies.

FOR years, Invicta watches labeled SWISS on the dial have been touted as Swiss Made. This has been claimed by the leader of the pack, Eyal Laylo, as well as minons, like Michael “Fuckin” Davis for as long as i can remember.

A watchgeek.net member has opened up a caseback of one of the Russian Divers labeled ‘Swiss’ only to discover that the movement was stamped “CHINA” as well as “Far East Asmbly”. The movement did have a Swiss made battery though – a fact sarcasticly noted by watchgeek members.

Surely this violates FTC rules? One wonders why products are not vetted to ensure that they conform to their pedigree and description – isn’t that why ShopNBC has a horological expert like Jim Skelton on the staff? This on the heels of the faulty Speedway with the bunk movement; the SANIII with the bad screw design and the cases with mold, whose design just happens to be the subject of a heated copywrite infringement debate.

How long is ShopNBC going to continue to be associated with defective and now, possible trade violations of the Invicta Watch Group?

I think it’s funny – Jimblo Skelton himself has attacked me when I pointed out that the Invicta story line on the Russian diver has changed, but it’s true. When first introduced, it was a near identical homage to real Soviet era divers that had been kicking around eBay for years and Eyal tried to claim that Invicta designed it! Who would want a watch that proports to be Russian in origin anyway with Swiss on the dial?

Lame.

I guess those Invictards are finally getting their just rewards. Keep listening to what the people in the talking picture box and not those of us who have been around and know the truth.

As of the time of this blog, there has been no response to the thread on watchgeeks.net from either Invicta or their towelboy, Jim Skelton.

(A shoutout to Lies All Lies for the lead)

UPDATE 08/05/2010 SO Jim Skelton jumped in the fray when someone opened a thread with the links I provided on WG. He again dances around the statements to rewrite the story, only problem is that there are hundreds of people who had knowledge of the actual Soviet divers and saw the first presentations of the Invicta Russian diver and remember Eyal Laylo stating that the Russian Diver was an original Invicta design commisioned by the Russian (which anyone with historical knowledge knows was Soviet) Navy. I’m not the only one who heard it dickhead; as I stated, messageboards were blowing up. You wrote your limited edition for officers bullshit review and Eyal went off the script – just like he did with those Swiss marked watches being Swiss Made; and those genuine diamonds; and working closely with D-D. Jimblo, you don’t have a leg to stand on here you bloodclot.

NOW the famous screenshot of the ‘original’ RD that Eyal claims his MeMaw gave him; but that’s been debunked as well and you know it:

http://www.bdwf.net/forum/showthread.php?p=536875

Which is probably why you’re now telling WGs that you don’t recall if that was it and you never saw the two that he has side by side – and that’s the part that seems so strange. Being the scary smart guy you are, the horological giant, that you wouldn’t want to examine these in detail.

THE truth is Invicta didn’t produce anything for the Soviet MOD or any sub divisions. They didn’t design the original and they never made a giant watch that would have got caught on stuff in the tight confines of a submarine. You know it, all of the old head WIS know it and now WGs in mass know it.

UPDATE 08/03/2010 NOW the Zlatoust factory has spoken and confirmed what we’ve known – Invicta’s Russian Diver has nothing to do with the former Soviet factory.

An interview by WUS member Silversen: Exclusively for WUS Russian Watches Forum from the management of ZChZ “Agat”

A translation by WUS Silversen member of an article that originally appeared in the Russian publication The Cheliabinsk Worker: Real History Behind Famous Zlatoust Diver Watches or Enough of Your Lie, Mr Invicta

So Jimblo, Eyal Laylo and the rest of the Invictards attempted to deny this fact. But now if you didn’t want to believe it, you have the word directly from the horses mouth.

Just another lie in the continuing Invicta saga exposed. I’d count this as August’s Invicta debacle but it’s a truth that real WIS have known from the beginning.

(Thanks to Diogenes Smith for the heads up)

****************

AS promised, this is the follow up to the blog Gov. Schwarzenegger and the Invicta Russian Diver: Come Clean.

I’LL never forget when I first saw the Invicta “Russian” Diver presented on ShopNBC some time in the mid Oughts. I was pretty stunned that Invicta would do an homage piece to the Zlatoust Soviet era dive watches that had been cropping up on eBay since the late 90’s. Most of those auctions originated from the Ukraine. They went for anywhere between $99 USD and $299 USD at that time. I always wanted one but I don’t buy from Eastern European sellers – too shady.

These were typically matched with a strap that looked like it was made from vulcanized rubber and a certificate would be included detailing the date of manufacture. They usually included a grill guard similar to the ‘trench’ style guards on World War I watches. These things seemed unwearable in an era where the standard Mens size was anywhere from 38 to 40mm. It looked like something that Flavor Flav would have worn around his neck ten years earlier.

AHH, ten years earlier. “1989 a number, another summer” and the Pop Swatch had recently been released and was crazy big at 39 mm when the average mens size was around 36 mm.

I’ll always remember in the fall of that year when Joe showed up at my house to show off his new Soviet wristwatch. This particularly burned my ass for two reasons. The first was that these things were impossible to find yet somehow, he managed to get his hands on one. The second was that Joe was the type of cat who could give two shits about something like a wristwatch. This would undoubtedly be lost or broken within 6 months. It’s fate to end up on the wrist of the boyfriend of a chick that he would hook up with a few times; forgetting it in her car. He would have some rationale for lossing possesion. Maybe it would end up smashed in a fit of rage.

I had to have it after seeing it in person. The band was thick leather and the design was overall utilitarian and slightly industrial. It was huge like a Pop Swatch, but way cooler to a young mind that romanticized the socialist picture idealized in Billy Bragg songs. I tried buying it; even I including other watches in the deal. He’d just grin and refuse precisely because I wanted it so badly. He could finally “get me” for all of the times I busted his balls, laughed at his self-caused misfortune and made him feel dumb. It came with a lapel pin of a crossed American and USSR flag that he said, “You can have this pin for free if you want it…” Cock.

It came to pass that he “loaned” it to a girl a few months later and never saw it again.

It wouldn’t be until the late 90’s and the establishment of eBay that I would search for the Gruen Soviet watch. I finally managed to add it to my collection in the winter of 2003. At 40mm in diameter and about 45mm when one included the screw down crown cap, it was no longer large; it was average. When the battery required changing, I opened it up to find a Poljot Quartz movement making another first in my collection: the bit of research that I had done lead me to conclude that even with a undobtbly Hong Kong case and final assembly, this thing was actually a Soviet product based on the rules of the day. Maybe that’s why I wanted one of the Zlatoust divers. Because it was clear that the Gruen Soviet that I was smitten with in 1989 was itself an homage to a design that I hadn’t any knowledge of.

INVICTA’S homage some half a century later was more of a replica, from the dive helmet logo to the “C.C.C.P.” in a sans serf font. As more variations of the so-called “Russian Diver” came into being, the ‘history’ started to get mentioned in sales presentations. Initially I don’t recall any Soviet connection. I do remember quite a few messageboards discussions on Watchuseek and pmwf discussing the strange resemblance between the Invicta Russian Diver and the real Zlatoust Divers. Maybe it was because of that noise that Lalo started to elude that Invicta had designed the original Russian diver; a claim that immediately was questioned on the boards. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Then the story changed – what Laylo meant was that Invicta was contacted in 1959 by the Soviet Navy to create a limited edition of 100 pieces for officers yet at the same time the Invicta webpage was pushing the story that Invicta had designed the Russian diver.

But to the limited edition story that Invicta seems to be pushing yet again; why would an officer wear a nearly 60mm timepiece in an era when 35mm was large? Not to mention none of these 100 pieces has ever surfaced on the market and Laylo has only shown a single example of the supposed 1959 piece on TV once. A piece that, to my knowledge, has never been examined or authenticated by any independent sources. Wouldn’t a detailed article on this one piece be worthy of inclusion in WatchTime?

Furthermore, wouldn’t you expect some record; some log to exist detailing the transaction?

I’m not buying it. I refuse to believe much from Invicta. Just today Michael Davis said that the Invicta Men’s Pro Diver Swiss Quartz GMT Black Bezel Mesh Bracelet Watch is Swiss Made, yet if you follow the link and zoom in on the watch face, you can clearly see the absence of the “Swiss Made” mark. He also stated that the mesh bracelet was manufactured by an Italian company which would violate the conditions for a Swiss Made designation.

It’s easy enough to connect the dots here, but I guess if you equate collecting with tv viewing, then you wouldn’t know any better.