You copy it you pay for it and I don’t mean monitory payback. That’s the new mantra in the watch world at least. Swiss watchmaking has been expanding enormously in the last few years. But there is always another side to the coin; this growth has unfortunately meant a parallel increase in the various scourges that affect well-known watch brands. These include counterfeiting and more recently the copying phenomenon. For over a year now, plastic imitations of successful models have appeared in various markets, in addition to mainstream counterfeits. Audemars Piguet has decided to combat these two problems and has set up an anti-counterfeit observatory composed of lawyers and investigators. Since it began work, this observatory has intervened in a number of ways; During Baselworld 2006, a stand distributing Mac team Offshore products (Altanus SpA) was closed down, and VIP (Eurotrade SRL) products were withdrawn; Fifteen legal and criminal proceedings have been taken before Swiss, Italian and French courts against wholesalers and retailers of copies sold under various brands (e.g. Ike), and have all had a positive outcome or are pending, 400 watched were seized from wholesalers and retailers in Italy; Three stands were closed during the Hong-Kong Fair in March 2007. They were distributing copies bearing the K&Bros and Ice Time label (Belton China Limited and Aaron Shum Jewelry Limited).
The Carich Time Limited stand was also closed. Alongside these measures, the Audemars Piguet anti-counterfeit product unit strengthened its action against mainstream counterfeit products. In 2006, 126 raids were organized, leading to the seizure of 6,300 pieces; 120 websites selling counterfeit versions of Audemars Piguet products were closed down; More than 600 sales of Audemars Piguet counterfeits were withdrawn from eBay websites. Phew! That’s pretty stern! My only question is will they penalize the ones sporting these amazingly similar-looking beauties too. I’m scared!