eBay 1, Tiffany’s 0

Isaac Mostovicz writes...

Tiffany was in the news this week, not for a new line of diamond rings or earrings but because it lost the long-running lawsuit it’s had with eBay about the sale of counterfeit Tiffany goods on the site. Tiffany maintains that eBay knowingly encouraged sellers to dilute Tiffany’s value and trademarks by not putting a stop to counterfeit Tiffany listings on the site. Rather than resting with eBay, the burden for identifying counterfeit goods rests with Tiffany, who have to report counterfeit listings to eBay and have eBay remove them. EBay argues that like YouTube it’s up to the trademark holder to report false listings, and they already take enough action against counterfeit items because these are bad for their marketplace.

This American ruling is interesting because it diverges from recent findings in European courts. In Germany a ruling for Rolex found that eBay must make greater preventative measures against the sale of counterfeit Rolexes, and in France eBay was ordered to pay Louis Vuitton 40 million euros in damages for the sale of counterfeit goods.

Counterfeit goods damage brand value–if discovered, they’ll upset people who purchase them and receive them as gifts; they mock the effort that people make to show their love and appreciation for one another. The takeaway from this case is that one needs to be careful when make purchases from a source that hasn’t been completely vetted. When a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

[Photo by minxlj]

You say of this article...
Bookmark and Share

Is Rolex swiss, or is Switzerland a Rolex brand?

Isaac Mostovicz writes...

A little follow-up on Rolex from an article (subscription only) about the Baselworld watch fair in Monocle magazine:

Swiss watch brands are patriotic to a fault. Rolex is one of the few high-end manufacturers that does not stamp “Swiss Made” on the watch face in the belief that Rolex defines Switzerland rather than the other way around.

An iconic brand is one that defines its country. But is it easy for Rolex to define Switzerland because it’s, well, Switzerland? Can larger, more controversial nations have iconic brands in the same way?

[via Kottke]

You say of this article...
Bookmark and Share

Sportingly Desirable Brand Attributes

Isaac Mostovicz writes...

Do accessories make the (sports)man or (sports)woman? The Wall Street Journal recently highlighted some luxury products sponsors have given athletes or athletes have otherwise chosen to endorse. Among the ‘spoils’: Tiffany Elsa Perretti Wave Earrings (for tennis pro Maria Sharapova), Rolexes (for golfer Phil Mickelson) and luxury moisturizers (for NBA player Steve Nash).

Could an appreciation of these fine items by athetes lead to better performance on the field? Perhaps. The brands certainly enjoy being associated with high performers. As Rolex says on its website:

In 1927, a young woman named Mercedes Gleitze swam through the icy waters of the English Channel wearing a Rolex Oyster. It marked the beginning of a long tradition: the linking of Rolex watches with exceptional individuals.

Since then, many of the world’s greatest explorers, sports figures and artists have endorsed Rolex timepieces. These Testimonees all share Rolex’s guiding spirit: the constant pursuit of perfection.

You say of this article...
Bookmark and Share

The diamond bubble: an email conversation (Part 6)

Isaac Mostovicz writes...

This is the final post in our mini-series documenting an email exchange between Randy Pearson, of Allied Diamonds and Isaac Mostovicz of Janus Thinking.

From: Isaac Mostovicz
Sent: 09 October 2006 20:39
To: Randy Pearson

Dear Randy,

Here are my comments:

You raise a classical point as companies under a pressure to produce short-term successful results, act against their long-term goals. There is no doubt that the act of the DTC was brilliant in the short-term and the SoC is only four years old. They managed to get rid of their stockpile and turn it into money. However, what happened in the last years shows that they did not take into consideration long-term consequences and as a result, they are unable to sell their entire intake and, effectively they build a second stockpile, they have a problem with their profitability and in spite of an increase of volume and price, their profits raised only marginally (I think that the figures for 2005 were 3%).

In regarding the Millennium experience, I have several observations to make. While we advocated high prices (we sold at +30% or more), other participants did not even thought that these prices are possible. Together with this, we advocated top make and had to fight with the other participants (mainly Americans) who wanted a much more lenient standard. To add insult to injury, the level of rejection by us was 3-4% and I knew beforehand most of which will be rejected. On the other hand, the rate of rejection by others was 30-40%! Last, but not least, to become a Millennium distributor we had to submit a marketing plan. When all participants met in April 2000, the DTC introduced them to the 4Ps which was considered by many as a brilliant novelty. My question is how exactly looked the marketing plan of the other participants? Taking into consideration that the DTC was not involved in the marketing of the product, it is not a surprise that the program crashed. Give a F1 to someone who does not know how to drive and he’ll crash it in no time.

Your last question is excellent. I must say that my imagination is limited and not every diamond is appealing to me or can be considered a luxury. Thus, I do not exclude Indian junk as long as it is presented properly. Rolex is a junk of a watch, unless you use it as a calendar but it is the finest example of what luxury is. The legendary Jaguar E Type is of the same league. However, when you treat cheap diamonds as junk, that’s what happens.


We hope you have enjoyed this mini-series; do let us know what you think – the comments field is open!

You say of this article...
Bookmark and Share