IAF Update

Dear Guild Members,

The whole trade - not just Guild members - have been asking the Board what is happening with the Guild's spare parts initiative.  As many of you will know, the Board has been putting pressure on Swatch and trying by all means at our disposal to make common sense prevail.  The Board still feel that the parts embargo is a great mistake and will lose public goodwill built up over many decades by the Swiss watch industry.  However, Swatch still refuse to see sense and it has reached the stage that Court action is the only avenue left to advance the cause and protect members and, indeed, the trade worldwide.

The Guild was not in a position to instigate this action itself for several reasons.  The two main ones being that even with the IAF contributions, funding was not available from our membership to cover Court costs and the evidence gathering which would be necessary.  Secondly, the case would need to be brought by an individual or company who could prove the financial damage caused to them personally by the Swiss action.  It was therefore decided that the company best placed to take things forward would be Anthony Cousins of Cousins UK Limited.  Anthony has been involved in trying to keep the spares supply chain open for many years and has been a major funder of the Guild's spare parts initiative from the beginning.  At great personal risk and expense, Anthony will take the fight to the Courts and the Guild will continue to push for access to spares. We urge all members and importantly, the other material houses, to assist in any way possible.

Those of you who have been in contact with Steve Domb through our IAF scheme will be interested to know that, for the time being, he is assisting Anthony with preparations for the case.

We are happy to forward on to you here a press release from Anthony regarding the current situation. The Guild will be offering as much assistance as it can for what is going to be a long and protracted fight.  Members of the trade can rest assured that the Guild will continue the struggle and will not rest until a reasonable result is achieved.

Chris Papworth


The British Watch & Clock Makers' Guild

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