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I don't know whether this has been seen by many yet but it seems like battle lines are being drawn against the choke hold being put on spare parts.  Obviously Cousins has a vested interest but then again most of us have.  Worst case is I can see a black market developing and the possibility of having to bid for every part you need on auction sites instead of buying from the shelf.  Anyway hopefully it does not break any rules to put his message here for interest sake.

 

Vic

 

Breaking News: 27/05/15
We all must Contribute to the Future of the Industry - An open letter from Anthony Cousins

 

The British Watch and Clock Makers Guild has set up an Industry Action Fund, and I am asking all of Cousins customers to contribute whatever they can to it. 

The fund is to initially be used to pay for a data gathering and research project on the current size of the UK industry, and its views and requirements on critical issues such as the forthcoming ETA Parts Embargo, along with Training and Apprenticeships. Once the research is complete, the fund will then be used to approach relevant bodies to obtain Government support for our industry’s needs. 

The recent Guild Conference (www.cousinsuk.com/page/news) demonstrated a strong desire to grow the UK industry, and a willingness to work together in a manner that has not been seen for many years. However it also revealed how the lack of basic data is preventing us from putting a credible case before the relevant bodies for the support we need in developing the next generation of Watch and Clock Makers, and from effectively tackling the anti-competitive practices that the Swiss are now imposing. The Conference was an event for talk, and it was a valuable first stepping stone in developing proper cross industry communication, but if it is not followed up with some serious action, then it will have been for nothing.

Gathering that information is the vital first step, but equally important is the ability to demonstrate that those of us who work in the industry believe in a vibrant future. That is why it is so important for all of us to contribute something. If you are a self-employed out worker, I am sure you could afford to contribute £50, and if you are a large Corporate it should be many times more than that.

We must all remember that it is the end consumer who ultimately pays our wages, and they are already suffering. The practices being imposed by the Swiss on the watch servicing market are drastically reducing customer choice, and pushing up prices to artificially high levels. The shortage of trained staff is resulting in unacceptably long repair times, with the resulting frustration that this delivers.

It is the people who work in the Industry that are the Industry, and if we individually take the attitude that contributing to the future is someone else’s responsibility, then there is no future to be had. If it isn’t our collective responsibility to tackle these issues, then whose is it?

We all take great pride in delivering high quality service and value for money to our customers, but are we really doing the best for them if, by our collective inactivity, we fail to counter the threats that we face, or ensure that there is a new generation of trained professionals to carry on our craft?

Please take two minutes out of your day to send an email to [email protected] enclosing your contact details and how much you would like to donate, and the Guild will respond with how to pay in and obtain a receipt.

Thank you in advance for your support.

Kind Regards

Anthony Cousins

 

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It sounds encouraging. However, *** start rant *** it defies belief that watchmakers will make drastic decisions regarding their jobs based on parts availability. I am not worried in the least. Ok,

Here is the latest from the fight against Swatch etc unfair practices:   Dear Contributor,   As you will be aware, we have been in contact with both the Department of Business, Innovation and Skil

https://www.watchpro.com/right-to-repair-law-could-stop-restrictive-distribution-of-watch-parts/ A faint light in the tunnel!? Let's keep our fingers crossed, and why not support cousinsuk.com in

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Yes - I received this from the guild yesterday.

 

I'm interested to hear people thoughts.

 

I will be donating for sure.

 

Donations do not need to be from Guild members.

 

post-1-0-49656400-1432753776_thumb.png

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well Mark, being serious for a change, although I just tinker with watches I  reckon this is a good cause and I will send a contribution. 

 

If those not "in the trade" all sent even a tenner it must surely add up to something and it is worth a punt as far as I am concerned.  I don't like monopolies, especially when they are designed to screw us over.

 

Vic

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It,s going to be a very difficult one. I have said this before but saying it again the only way to get to the large corporations is to engage them in the public forums. Once they are forced to answer questions to newspapers & MP,s etc. doubt by the general public will spread and this will cause sales to fall.

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I decided to get in touch and Steven Domb, Industry Action Fund <[email protected]> Got back to me promptly and is going to forward details for bank transfer which suits me as I can do it all on line. Hopefully, they can do something and I just feel better having participated in a small way.

Vic

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Is it perhaps the case that one of the greatest weapons a corporation has is a policy of not entering into a public debate or to cloud issues with continuous litigation.

 

They have stated their aims and objectives and unfortunately their power base is in a different country who's government rescinded the original decision that stopped them proceeding in the direction that they are now going. 

 

They are however, in the EEC and that may make a difference, providing the Guild can gather evidence to show that the objective of the company is to create and maintain a monopoly and to remove competition. I assume that is what the IAF is about.

 

Vic

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As a Cousins customer I received Anthony Cousins' letter in the June mini-catalogue. I shall happily contribute as I shall want to be able to access parts more frequently as I become more confident and competent at servicing my watches.

Let's hope all members of all the watch forums will chip in.

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They have set up the Bank account now so a bank transfer is easy on line, and they are also in the process of setting up a PayPal account for anyone who is outside of the UK to contribute if they wish. 

 

You first have to contact them ( [email protected] ) and pledge whatever amount you can afford in your current position - they will accept anything, then they mail a reference number to you (which you quote when you initiate the payment via bank or PayPal) and they also give the account information for the payment to be made to.

 

It literally took me 5 minutes to make a payment.

 

Cheers,

Vic

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  • 3 weeks later...

I just recieved a mail from Steven Domb (IAF) asking for a postal address to send my receipt to.  I have suggested that he e-mail it to me if needs be as I am happy with the proofs and verifications I have having paid by bank transfer.  Also they could save the money that would be spent on postage, which is not cheap these days.

 

I am always reticent about sending my postal address to organisations.  There is nothing more attractive to hackers/canvassers than a database full of postal addresses that can be linked to e-mail addresses of subscribers of any sort.

 

I am sure that given the nature of the info it would be treated correctly and held securely without abuse, but in my case I am content with the bank transfer which provides me with the guarantee that the money was received etc.

 

Cheers,

 

Vic

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Got this nice reply

 

Hi Vic,

 

Receipts are emailed as a.pdf attachment. The info was for inclusion in the text of the receipt, and was asked for because the fund is the property of those that contribute to it, so we need to be sure we have a way to identify you if there happens to be more than one Vic Harlow.

 

I understand your concerns about data. It is not a problem. Would you be prepared to let me have a Town and County for you that I can put on the receipt. I will not record the data anywhere else.

 

Regards

 

 

Steven Domb

 

So no problems, the address was just wanted for clerical reasons and they will not waste money on postage.

 

Cheers,

 

Vic

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  • 1 month later...

Latest Receipt,

 

Will Your Business “Survive” or “Thrive”?

View this email in your browser

 

d88c0778-6851-4412-9d82-7147126a97e6.jpg

 

E-mail: [email protected]
 
 
Will Your Business “Survive” or “Thrive”? from Steve Domb, Project Manager, BWCMG Industry Action Fund

 

When monies for the Industry Action Fund arrive ( http://bwcmg.org/iaf ), they are often accompanied by statements from Contributors about the damage the Swiss policy on spare parts has already done to their business, and the devastating effect that the ETA embargo is likely to have. We get feedback from Companies that signed up long ago to become accredited Service Centres, who are worried by the restrictions on the calibres that they are allowed parts for, and some long standing and highly qualified Service Centres are finding themselves cut off altogether. The common question is “How will my Business Survive?”, but should you really ask “How can I make my Business Thrive?”
 
All businesses are at the mercy of external factors over which they have little or no control. What marks out the ones that “Thrive” from those that just “Survive” is the effort they put into preparing for potential issues, and responding effectively if they occur. But Small Businesses and One-Man-Bands just don’t have the resources and time to do an effective job, so what should they do? The answer is that they need to band together, and commit a small but sensible amount of resources to an effective collective effort, and that is exactly what the British Watch and Clock Makers’ Guild, and the Industry Action Fund (IAF) are all about.
 
There are resources out there that can help us overcome those external factors that threaten us, and can also help us to take advantage of the factors that can benefit us. But to get at those resources, we need to make a solid case, and that starts with having clear information on the size of our industry, the number of people who work in it, its economic value, and what its views and requirements are. The first task of the IAF is to conduct a comprehensive survey of the industry, and then use those findings to get the support we need to fight off anti-competitive practices, and obtain a proper share of the education resources for training and apprenticeships. To do this type of work properly, we need to raise £70,000. That is too much to ask any single entity to fund entirely, but is it too much to ask 700 One-Man-Bands to put in £100 each, or 70 mid-size firms to put in £1,000 each, or even 7 large organisations to put in £10,000 each?
 
Take a moment to think about how much time you waste, trying to track down parts for timepieces you are eminently qualified to repair, but are refused access to by some faceless manufacturer who won’t even talk to you. Or the work you have had to turn away from long standing customers for the same reason. If you are trying to expand your business, where is the training for the next generation of Watchmakers coming from so you can get the staff? And if you are looking to retire, shouldn’t there be a new generation wanting to buy your business for a sensible price, rather than you just shutting down and selling off your tools?
 
Since its’ launch, the Industry Action Fund has had contributions ranging from a few pounds to many thousands, and it is the volume of contributions that is as important as the amounts. It demonstrates an industry committed to a vibrant future and strengthens our case even more. If you have already made a contribution, many thanks for doing so. If you intended to contribute, but didn’t get around to it, please take a moment to email [email protected]
with your contact details and the amount you would like to pledge. If you think your few pounds wouldn’t make any difference, then please think again and email us also. We need to add your voice to the collective effort.
 
Life is a lot easier when you can stop worrying about how to “Survive”, and instead move your efforts into thinking about how to “Thrive”. If you want to reach that point, please work with those who think like you, and support the Industry Action Fund.
 

 
 
 
Cheers,
 
Vic
 





 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Whilst annoyed at the swatch groups practice, I wasn't won over to make a contribution to the action fund. because of this sentence

 

 

The first task of the IAF is to conduct a comprehensive survey of the industry,

 

It was the only thing in the letter they said they where going to do with the 70k they planned to raise. there was no mention of using 70k to finance alternative solutions or to finance meetings with swatch direct. It felt a fruitless effort to me. Watches aren't my bread & butter, but they are a major player in my income. There a hundreds/thousands of people in my possition who fit ETA quartz movements day in day out who wouldn't donate because of the wolly nature of the action fund. Just my opinion of course.

 

Lee

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Whilst annoyed at the swatch groups practice, I wasn't won over to make a contribution to the action fund. because of this sentence

 

 

It was the only thing in the letter they said they where going to do with the 70k they planned to raise. there was no mention of using 70k to finance alternative solutions or to finance meetings with swatch direct. It felt a fruitless effort to me. Watches aren't my bread & butter, but they are a major player in my income. There a hundreds/thousands of people in my possition who fit ETA quartz movements day in day out who wouldn't donate because of the wolly nature of the action fund. Just my opinion of course.

 

Lee

Unfortunately meetings are not possible as they ignore all correspondence (I have tried many times). I also wrote to my local MP & the present industry minister all to no effect.It was raised a few years ago in the European parliament but Swatch using the best lawyers convinced them that swiss watches were all high end quality movements & they were just protecting their brand. Therefore to raise this issue again at higher levels i.e. european parliaments , etc., the amount of workers it effects, the size of the industry & how it is constructed i.e., how many companies,one man bands are actually now repairing /servicing watches.This must be known for a effective lobby/campaign. I feel we have nothing to loose by supporting this campaign & if it does not work at least some have tried to address this unfair practise. Just my option of course.

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  • 2 months later...

Here is the next installment for those who are interested or even just curious.  There are some interesting passages and it appears that there are some positive results in the battle.

 

attachicon.gifIAF Progress Report 17 Nov 2015.pdf

 

Regards,

 

Vic

Yes, an interesting letter. I was not aware that its is illegal not to supply parts in the USA. I have said this many times but will say it again the Archilles heal for Swatch & the Swiss is if the general buying public become aware

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