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.

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FIFTEEN years ago, I really believed that the strides being made in CAD and CAM would result in an on-demand future rapidly prototyped into physical being. A future where designers would be king and a lot of products would be produced and assembled locally leading to a new wave of industrial revolution and infinite customization.

And while on-demand is not as pervasive as i thought it would be, companies like rvndsgn are halfway there. Industrial designer Zach Raven began his project to create the world’s first rapidly prototyped timepiece with the help of a Kickstarter campaign to finance his initial pieces. It has been less than a year since he kicked off his campaign and he is already taking orders.

rvndsgn utilizes Selective Laser Sintering to create their cases; they are literally printed and built layer upon layer. Stainless steel powder is converted into solid cross-sections by a CO2 laser until a solid, three dimensional case is formed. Bronze is infused into the steel to replace the binder used in the printing process. It is nickel free so the finished product is allergy free. Final finishing occurs by tumbling the cases in husks to remove any sharp edges leaving a grain pattern behind that is unique to each piece as a result of the sintering process. It makes for a look that strikes me as organic; almost like the hives built by paper wasps. As a fan of the Japanese Mokume technique and the classic, organic designs of Isamu Noguchi, I find it aesthetically appealing.

The cases are manufactured in The Netherlands and measure a modest 40mm across. In these austere times this is a nice break from the pie plate sized watches that some brands would have you believe are the new normal. Any color finishes are applied over the stainless by the same company that creates the cases.

The dial is created in New York using a similar rapid prototyping method but materials are nylon and acrylic. The movement holder is incorporated into the face creating a single piece design.

Final assembly takes place in Grand Rapids, Michigan on a made to order basis. Delivery can take anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks on US orders.

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The bands and buckles are sourced from Italy and are a single piece, in form very similar to the G10 style. They pass through the case and could easily be replaced with a 20mm NATO or Zulu.

THE only downside to me is that it has a quartz movement – the Swiss Ronda 513. I prefer automatics. While Mr. Raven doesn’t have plans for an auto, he has assured me that he does have plans for additional styles that could accommodate an automatic movement. This illustrates one of the unique aspects of his method: there is no tooling to change. He just alters the measurements in the CAD file and produces it.

Mr. Raven is also looking to leverage his product toward a greater good:

I’m looking into doing a limited edition with a partnership with a large charity with the profits going to them.

rvndsgn started accepting orders as of last Friday with the exception of the all black and all white pieces. They are priced at $275 and shipping on both domestic and international orders is included in the price.

For more information, check out the rvndsgn website: http://rvndsgn.com/RVNDSGN/Home.html

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Switzerland’s watch exports increased in August from the previous year, a report by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH showed on Tuesday.

Export value of Swiss watches surged 24.1% in August from the previous year, to attain a level of CHF 1.07 billion. At the same time, wrist watches exports grew 25.9%, while other products exports climbed 4%.

In the January to August period, watch exports increased 20.1% compared to the same period of the previous year.

Developments among the Swiss watch industry’s main markets were varied. Hong Kong recorded another very strong performance with 18.7% annual growth and the U.S. showed an increase of 9.8%. The value of sales to Singapore showed one of the strongest upward variations of all and exports to China grew by 7%.

Source: http://www.rttnews.com/Content/AllEconomicNews.aspx?Node=B2&Id=1424015

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)