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Vich last won the day on September 28 2017

Vich had the most liked content!


About Vich

  • Rank
    Distinguished Member

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Interests
    Real ale - CAMRA Member
    Watch Tinkering
    IT - Used to be what I did for a Living prior to retirement

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  1. Here is the latest, Cousins fight with Swatch continues as consumers start waking up to the problem The Bern Court is now well into what should be the final stage of the case that Swatch has brought against us. As previously, it is not possible for us to talk in detail about what is going on, but we can say that we have submitted what we believe is a very robust defence, and the judge has called for Swatch’s response to it. That should be in by the end of January, and we will then be asked for our final submission. The Judge may then call for both sides to attend hearings where he can question them, after which he will deliberate and give his decision. In the meantime, it seems that the worm may be beginning to turn. In a recent report in Watch Pro magazine, comments made in the open forum at Dubai Watch Week by a leading Rolex collector and dealer are a good indicator of the level of disquiet about servicing costs and availability, now appearing at even the wealthiest end of the market. That story was amongst the most read in the on-line edition, and Cousins took the opportunity to widen the debate with its own addition to the discussion that was published by Watch Pro last Friday. We would encourage all our trade customers to read these articles and circulate them to as many consumers as possible. There are increasing pressures against repair restrictions in all sorts of markets, and there are distinct signs of movement from some of the most restrictive companies. Reuters reported recently that Apple are now opening up parts supply to independent repairers in North America, with a view to extending that worldwide. In the end, it seems that consumer pressure carries more weight with large corporations than compliance with the law, so now would be a good time for all of us to help bring that conversation to the fore with our end consumers. Happy Christmas to all our customers. Best Regards Anthony Amazing to see how well Cousins are enduring. Certainly have my respect. Vic
  2. I would have to agree that an inexpensive quartz movement will keep good time and probably better time than an old mechanical at least until the battery goes. However, I am not sure whether you are postulating that, that fact, will mean that people will no longer be interested in mechanical watches. I would say that there is broad spectrum of people that like the heartbeat of a mechanical watch and like repairing them as a hobby and this forum bears witness to that. The fact that a watch can possibly be repaired even by a hobbyist is an attraction to anyone who likes to reduce an item to its mechanical components and rebuild it. I will not be around say in 50 years time to see if I am right but I have a feeling that they will be around for a while yet and antique mechanical watches will still be desired by some. Perhaps we can meet in the afterlife and discuss it further Cheers, Vic
  3. latest I have received :- Updating You on our Two and Half Year Court Case View this email in your browser Updating You on our Two and Half Year Court Case I was watching the TV news coverage of the singer Cliff Richard’s lawsuit against the BBC a couple of weeks ago. When the reporter commented that the case had already lasted four years, and the BBC was considering whether it would appeal against the judgement, it highlighted three things to me. Firstly, just how long law suits take, secondly, how much quicker we are working through our case with Swatch, and thirdly, how important it is that our customers understand where we are in the legal process, and why it takes this long. Sir Cliff’s case had one court action and, in the end, no appeal. Our case has had several more steps as a consequence of Swatch’s attempts to have a matter of British law decided in a Swiss Court. It is worth me taking a couple of moments to explain what those steps are. There are three of them that we are going through, and they are known as “Admissibility”, “Jurisdiction”, and “The Merits”. “Admissibility” is all about whether or not the case has a proper legal foundation. If you look at the news story we released on the 28th of June last year, you will see that the Bern Commercial Court ruled that the case was not admissible under Swiss rules. Swatch appealed against this decision to the Federal Supreme Court, and in April this year that court ruled that the Bern judges had correctly applied the rules, but that these rules were now out of date when compared with other countries. They changed Swiss case law, allowed Swatch’s appeal, and sent the case back to Bern for the next stage. “Jurisdiction” is about whether or not the court where the action has been brought has the right to hear such a case. That can be because of the nature of the case (you can’t try a murder case in a Parking Tribunal), or for geographic reasons. Three companies in the Swatch group brought the claim against Cousins. Swatch AG who are the holding company based in the Bern district, ETA who are based in a different Swiss district, and Swatch UK who are registered in London. The Bern judge decided that he does have jurisdiction to hear the case brought by the holding company, but does not have jurisdiction over the other two. Unsurprisingly, both ourselves and Swatch have appealed against the parts of that judgement that we do not agree with. The current state of play is that both Swatch and Cousins have submitted their appeals, examined each other’s documents, responded to the Federal Supreme Court on them, and are now in the final stages of adding any additional remarks before the appeal judges consider and publish their verdict. We hope this will come in the next few months, and will finally decide whether the final stage known as “The Merits” will be heard in Bern or in London. “The Merits” is when the court hears the arguments about the details of the case and the laws which are alleged to have been broken, and ultimately issues its verdict. On the face of it, it seems ridiculous to the average person that legal matters take so long to resolve. However, our case has been through two lower court stages and two appeals in the last 30 months, and when compared with four years for Sir Cliff’s single stage, I hope our customers will see that our legal team are pressing on as quickly as possible. I look forward to updating you again when the result of the latest appeal comes out. Kind regards Anthony Cousins Cheers, Vic
  4. The Reality behind the COMCO and EU decisions. View this email in your browser The Reality behind the COMCO and EU decisions One of the problems of being engaged in legal action, especially in other countries, is that it is very difficult to talk publicly about topics and evidence that are likely to form part of your submissions to the Courts. You don’t want to disrespect the legal process by pre-empting the deliberations of the Courts with a public debate. However, if another entity makes a significant public pronouncement on one of those topics, then the need to respond in kind becomes overwhelming. This is the case with the recent announcement by COMCO, the Swiss Competition Authority, that it would not be conducting a full investigation into the issue of Watch Parts and Independent Repairers. Last Friday, Cousins sent an Open Letter to COMCO requesting that they rethink this decision. The letter is reproduced (see attachment) for all to see, so I will not detail its contents here. Suffice to say that those who would have the industry believe that the EU has approved the restriction of parts supply by the Swiss watch brands, and declared this practice to be legal, have not properly interpreted the findings from the EU Commission and Courts. Furthermore, those who then use that same wrong interpretation to justify their own refusal to investigate are only compounding the error. Once again I assure all of you in the Independent Repair Trade that Cousins is still in the thick of the fight, still confident of its position, still seeking the most competitive market for the end consumer, and still determined to ensure that the evidence is correctly delivered and evaluated in the most appropriate legal forum. Your feedback, as always, is welcome. Kind Regards Anthony Cousins Managing Director, Cousins Material House Ltd. www.cousinsuk.com https://gallery.mailchimp.com/ceefad6307d366a92a1b87c7b/files/88597ebb-83fa-4a09-94fa-3cdd113efa74/An_Open_Letter_to_COMCO_from_Cousins_Material_House.pdf?utm_source=Cousins+Mailing+List&utm_campaign=6f5fed437d-Swiss+Federal+Supreme+Court+returns+the+Case_COPY_&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_271211a809-6f5fed437d-136688705
  5. As always it is up to individuals to make their own decisions and this should be respected by all. Cheers, Vic
  6. Hello Paul, I was very much a "spectator" on this interesting article, I suggest you PM Ry himself. In general the older anything is the harder spares would be and unfortunately you could be looking at butchering an old item to get parts. Cheers, Vich
  7. Hello jdm, Can you advise me what "forum " format is these days, I originally put it up some time ago as a pdf because it is an industry standard that was readable from any device or OS and easily downloaded should that be desired, I can convert to anything you want if necessary. Cheers, Vic
  8. Hello jdm, The "Walkthrough" on the fix is in the PDF attachments but I have no strong opinion and this is just a comment. Regs Vic
  9. Hello David and greetings from me as well. Cheered, Vic
  10. Latest I have received:- CEAHR loses EU Court case against the Commission Earlier this week, the European General Court gave its ruling in the case that CEAHR brought against the EU Commission. The Court ruled that it could not overturn the findings of the second Commission investigation, which was closed on the ground of ‘administrative priorities’. The Commission is under no obligation to investigate every complaint if it believes there is insufficient justification for the costs of an investigation. The Court confirmed the Commission’s assessment, and found that the Commission was within its powers to close the investigation without making a final finding of infringement or non-infringement. This ruling has not changed anything for Cousins in its legal dispute with Swatch, and the English courts remain free to find that that the conduct of the Swiss watch manufacturers is anti-competitive. The onus was always on CEAHR to demonstrate where the Commission had got its reasoning wrong, and reading through the judgment it becomes clear that CEAHR just did not produce sufficient evidence to support their arguments, refuting the findings of the EU Commission. From the moment Cousins first considered taking action against Swatch, we knew that evidence was the key to winning. We applied to be an intervener in support of the CEAHR position and the need for an investigation, in the same way LVMH, Rolex, and Swatch intervened to support the closure of the investigation. The EU Court refused our application on the basis that CEAHR represent watch repairers, and as Cousins is a parts supplier not a repairer, we were not directly involved in the European proceedings. The opportunity for Cousins to present its arguments and evidence proving the anti-competitive nature of Swatch’s conduct to the English High Court will come in due course. Kind Regards Anthony Cousins Managing Director, Cousins Material House Ltd.
  11. My projects are all packed away and I have not touched a watch for a while, apart from replacing a quartz movement like for like in a Rotary and putting in batteries for friends and relatives. Stuff is settling down a bit so maybe not long until I am back and in a position to contribute once more. Wandering by the bank of the Tweed on a day out celebrating our 42nd wedding anniversary and happened upon a small water spring with a plaque. Pics below.
  12. I hope it ends up as a true victory for Cousins partly for the reasons given by CB and partly because I would like to see a company that seems to think the law is something to be worked around to brings matters to their own largely self serving advantage, to the detriment of others and the industry as a whole, properly brought into line. I have nothing against any company that becomes a market leader because the goods they supply are much better than anything else on sale. However, when a company systematically sets about buying out and removing the competition with the intention of controlling and monopolising an entire industry in the most protectionist of self serving ways - well, I don't like it, something inside me screams about fairness and dishonour. At the risk of sounding dramatic their actions and attitudes are perhaps even coming close to being evil. Vic
  13. I hope it ends up as a true victory for Cousins partly for the reasons given by CB and partly because I would like to see a company that seems to think the law is something to be worked around, to brings matters to their own largely self serving advantage, to the detriment of others and the industry as a whole. Vic
  14. Swatch v Cousins. Swatch Appeal against Bern Court decision. View this email in your browser Swatch. A Watch Company that Wastes Time... “Forum Running” is a term that describes an attempt to avoid legal action threatened in one Court, by dragging it to another that has no real reason to deal with it. It is a rather unlawful practice that is sometimes used by big companies to frighten off smaller opponents by wasting their time and money. When the Judge in Bern dismissed Swatch’s claim against Cousins, he made it tolerably clear that Forum Running was not going to be allowed in his Court. Wasting time and money in the hope Cousins will go away seems to be one of Swatch’s tactics, and the fact that they have now, as we expected, appealed against the Bern Court ruling seems to demonstrate that they still haven’t learned that Cousins will not be frightened off, and will see this through to the end. What particularly demonstrates the time wasting nature of the appeal is that the Bern decision was based on a ruling from the Swiss Federal Supreme Court, and it is this very same body that the appeal has been made to. Our Swiss lawyers are currently studying the details of the appeal, which arrived with them recently, however, it seems on first reading that Swatch are trying to argue, amongst other things, that the Supreme Court has it wrong, and needs to change its practice. It’s hard to say what the consequences of that would be for the Swiss legal system. The appeal process is likely to run for less than ten months. For now, Cousins is still here, still not frightened, and still fighting. Some companies like to waste time, Cousins likes to save time ….. along with the independent repair industry that keeps it ticking. Kind Regards Anthony Cousins Managing Director, Cousins Material House Ltd.
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