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Rolex shuts down profiting from customisation of its watches

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laCalifornienne watches promoted on its Instagram page, which has over 20,000 followers.

Rolex has won its case against luxury watch customiser La Californienne, which is no longer permitted to use the Swiss watchmaker’s name or any of its symbols even when it is treating vintage Rolex watches.

The ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York is designed to prevent La Californienne — and by extension any other customisation business — from marketing or any other activity that profits from the use of Rolex’s intellectual property.

There does not appear to have been any financial settlement or attribution of legal costs.

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laCalifornienne was launched in 2016 in Los Angeles by Courtney Ormond and Leszek Garwacki and its customised watches are sold around the world by partners such as Farfetch and Goop.

Today, its website has only a holding page. Its Instagram is still live, but displays only customized Cartier watches.

In the original case, filed in a Californian court, the customiser was accused of “benefiting and profiting from [Rolex’s] outstanding reputation for high quality products and its significant advertising and promotion of Rolex watches and the [company’s] trademarks” and giving the impression that the watches are “authorized, sponsored, or approved by Rolex when they are not.”

Rolex also claimed that La Californienne’s watches no longer attain the aesthetic of original pre-owned Rolex watches and no longer perform or function to the same quality standards as unaltered pre-owned Rolex watches.

The New York court’s ruling says La Californienne is subject to a final judgment for trademark counterfeiting, trademark infringement, and false designation of origin and unfair competition, and permanently barred from engaging in an array of specific conduct, namely, “using any of the Rolex registered trademarks or any reproduction, counterfeit, copy or colourable imitation of the Rolex registered trademarks in connection with the advertisement, promotion, offering for sale, or sale of its altered Rolex watches.”

It is also prevented from, “engaging in any course of conduct likely to cause confusion, deception, or mistake, or dilute the distinctive quality of the Rolex registered trademarks.” And banned from using Rolex marks on its “website, the Internet (either in the text of a website, or as a keyword, search word, metatag, or any part of the description of the site) or in any promotion or advertising in connection with its altered Rolex watches or any goods or services not authorized by Rolex.”

The only wriggle room for La Californienne is that it can keep customizing Rolex watches, but anything protected by Rolex cannot be used. This would include the Rolex crown on its crown, dial and bracelet.

Little wonder the business has immediately started promoting only customized Cartier watches.

Cartier is not believed to have begun any legal action against the business.

12 COMMENTS

  1. “Rolex shuts down profiting”. Rolex are the biggest profiteers of the lot. In the past I have bought 6 Rolex watches. The prices charged are ridiculous and people believe they hold their value but that is down to constant price increases by Rolex. You can buy a very good watch for 10% of the prices charged by Rolex with equally good durability and accuracy. More people than ever now buy iwatches or similar which offer unheard of abilities a few years ago. In a few years Rolex will fail due to lack of demand and overpricing.

    • You are wrong, it is true that Rolex charges a high price because of its demand. But their workmanship and quality has no equal till date. All other brands similar to Rolex has not surpassed Rolex’s quality.

  2. Rolex should deem all Rolex watches that have been customised by la californienne as Worthless to buy and can never be serviced by rolex and void any service cards and warranty left on all Rolex watches customised by la californienne and Rolex should also state on there website that at Rolex we do not recognise or service and repair any customised Rolex watches unless made to order by the customer direct from Rolex themselves

    • You are talking sh!t about Rolex, yet you purchased 6 Rolex watches I HIGHLY doubt that.
      your comment about i watches, plastic garbage tells your entire story.
      you’re a cheap b!tch & haven’t a clue about Horology, fine watches,i, etc.
      I recently purchased 20 Rolex air kings & me like plastic watch .

    • FYI, tampering of any kind – including but limited to customisation – automatically renders the warrranties offered by any watch manufacturer null and void. all reputable cutomisers. Customers and customisers know this and that is why any serious customiser performs services on the basis that customers acknowledge this and accept warranties offered by the customiser. The watches that get “pimped” (essentially) are not cheap by any means, nor are the customisation services offered. The clients also are not your average income earner either, not by a long shot, so save the sympathy for something genuinely worthwhile, I’d say. Rolex makes obscene mark-ups for its watches – very high quality, yes, but far from the absolute best (part subjective, part objective). At the end of the day, as with most things, it is a matter of marketing. Perhaps they can prevent people from using their name to advertise- most do it simply as an example; the clientele they are catering to knows what it’s all about and when an billionnaire wants his corporate logo on the face of a Rolex,…or Cartier …or any other watch for that matter, if he wants that he will get it done, whether Rolex likes it or not (and what people do with what they rightully purchase is up to them after all).

  3. I had customized my Rolex President model by adding some diamonds on its dial and brazel but keep the original one aside and to put it back when send the watch to Rolex repair center in my country and they accepted it as original with no problem .After that I put back my modified dial and brazel

  4. Now isn’t that an illegal limitation of the use anyone can make of its own property ?
    If I want my own watch painted or engraved in any way, how does that become the maker’s business ? Unless they pay me to wear their watch in the original shape or form that is.

  5. Then all after market diamond jewlers then be shut down as they are doing just the same as rolex watches put it ?

  6. Why is it a customer can buy virtually any product on planet earth and customize their own product, unless it is a Rolex? Is there actually anyone else who misbehaves like Rolex?

  7. Rolex are boring and exorbitantly priced, given their function. My whole collection of Skmei watches outperforms any Rolex ever made as Nd the combined cost if it doesn’t approach 1 percent of the price of a new bog standard Submariner.

  8. Who care what Rolex say? Just get a vintage Rolex and get it tarted up, then serviced by any decent practitioner. Don’t do it to a new one under warranty!

  9. Who cares about rolexs’ bullying. If we buy a rolex it is our prerogative to do whatever we want with it. In any case I use ex-rolex service experts for all my rolex watches, moded or not. And yes, I do agree with the majority of people here that the increased value of many rolex models is purely down to the company’s clever marketing schemes. In other words, in most cases, the prices are artificially caused to increase by withholding production, supplies etc. This has been going on for at least 35 years and maybe even more. As far as I am concerned next time I’m in the market for an up market watch, it will be a grand seiko.

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