Vortic Watch Co Military Edition what do you think? plus lawsuit

klokwiz

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Feb 4, 2009
1,404
83
48
Annapolis, MD
Country
Region
Hi, I have watched with great interest the development of this company and as a fellow businessman wished them great success. I recently received their email about the military edition they are selling, very slick and good looking marketing piece.

But I am concerned about the taking of a complete military version pocket watch and converting it into a wrist watch. This is not an "orphan" watch movement which needed a home, they appear to be 50 complete watches they have acquired for this purpose. I read the mailer and did not find a disclaimer indicating the watch could be reconstructed, although they do supply the original case with the watch.

I think they have created a good deal of buzz and interest in horology and repurposing of movements. This is good, but is it good to deconstruct complete working watches? I am concerned on what comes next, what say you?

Joe
 

musicguy

Moderator
NAWCC Member
Donor
Jan 12, 2017
6,585
3,326
113
New York State
Country
We have had 16 threads that mention Vortic and there are people who love the
idea and others who don't. I believe the collecting space is big enough
for collectors and companies like Vortic. I'm a pocket watch guy so it's not for me.
Search Results for Query: vortic | NAWCC Forums


Rob
 
  • Like
Reactions: Bila

Jim Haney

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Sep 21, 2002
6,724
1,459
113
71
Decatur, TN.
Country
Region
. This is good, but is it good to deconstruct complete working watches? I am concerned on what comes next, what say you?

Joe
Joe,

I would leave it alone as there is pending lawsuit against Swatch VS. Vortic. No ruling as yet about using the Hamilton name.

Edit, I checked mine and the stem is inside the case, so YES, it can be made original again....

2nd Edit,because it can be returned to it's original case, etc. there is on reason for your concern...

To further peruse your question, I would ask you why are you not concerned about several eBay sellers who have make a fortune in parting out perfectly good watches?

If you are objecting to Vortic making a wristwatch out of a Military pocket watch why would not be more concerned with eBay sellers who part out thousands of good watches BECAUSE stupid buyers will pay more for parts than a complete watch.?

Last week I sold a 18s Illinois in a 5oz Silver case and it brought $125, and to add insult to injury a nice Lancaster/Keystone running Grade Comet for less than $30.

Early 18S Illinois KWKS Nickel Movt. in Massive 5 oz.Sterling Case No Reserve ! | eBay


18s Lancaster SWLS Comet Grade Runs, No Reserve !. | eBay

This is the reason that people parts out watches!!!!!

Personally, I don't feel that it is in the good interest of Horology to piece out good watches, however, with the facts that people will NOT pay a fair price for good watches, it is tempting..:mad:
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: DeweyC

klokwiz

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Feb 4, 2009
1,404
83
48
Annapolis, MD
Country
Region
Jim,
I agree entirely about the huge issue of sellers destroying items for parting. I watched a guy sell a working big name vienna regulator in pieces. Its disgusting but free enterprise. I just wanted to see what others thought, not looking to cause a ruckus. I just thought this particular product crossed the line a bit, since they have been making homes for orphan movements from the beginning. Frankly I hope they come out of the Hamilton business ok.
Joe

PS think they should clearly state in their marketing of this product that it can be restored to original or even make it easily convertible for the owner to use it as both watch and pocket watch.
 

Jim Haney

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Sep 21, 2002
6,724
1,459
113
71
Decatur, TN.
Country
Region
Joe,
I have been in debates about parting out watches for years and some of the biggest ones have me on their banned lists on ebay, etc.

Their defense is that Hamilton made 1/2 million 992's and also the same for 992B's so it doesn't make any difference because of the almost endless supply, however when caught parting out fairly scare watches,they don't have any defense.

I will forward a link to this discussion to R.T. Custer at Vortic so he can stay informed and read your suggestions.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DeweyC

DTSPatrick

Registered User
Jul 9, 2020
35
57
18
43
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Country
Region
I’m a believer that watches should be worn (if possible and practical). If Vortic can convert a desk/safe queen to a useable watch — I’m a fan.

I watched a video on Vortic watches — they appear to allow a watch to return to “original” condition (that’s what they advertise), they clean/lube/regulate, and finally place the watch in an advanced case. A pocket watch placed in a dust-free, water resistant case is a pretty amazing.

My only gripe is the watch crystals are glass instead of sapphire. I’m sure they say this is to keep an antique feel; however, the technological superior case should have superior glass IMO. These are pretty expensive watches… an upgrade to sapphire is the least they can do.
 

Dr. Jon

Moderator
NAWCC Member
Dec 14, 2001
6,032
613
113
New Hampshire
Country
Region
I have a small wrist and I just do not want to strap on or wear a 16 size watch on it. To me the essence of a wrist watch is that all the stuff it does fits on my wrist in comfort and it well protected against shock and water.

If Vortic cases included a shock absorber, like some of the IWC Ingenieur's did, as well as water proofing and a sapphire crystal I might be interested in a 10 or 12 size 21 or 23 jewel watch. Without this protection it is dress watch and converted railroad and military watches are not dress candidates,

I carry my pocket watches in pockets and there they are protected against shock and water.

My take on Vortic is that I like what they do but their product is not for me.They do not do the full conversion
 

klokwiz

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Feb 4, 2009
1,404
83
48
Annapolis, MD
Country
Region
HI, Looks like RT might get some useful feedback from this post after all. I too have a small 8 size highly jeweled american movement I wanted to convert to a wrist watch, but felt the cost of casing it was too much. Plus it is KWKS which presented issues. I felt this size was ideal for conversion to a wristwatch. Joe .
 

DeweyC

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Feb 5, 2007
2,294
884
113
Baltimore
www.historictimekeepers.com
Country
To some extent, this is inevitable. Although I doubt Vortec will prevail about making a commercial business by using a Swatch Trademark as a selling feature. They should have just sold the cases.

Regardless, there are many, many orphaned movements and everyday more cases are destroyed, creating even more orphaned movements. There is a rationale that repurposing the movements preserves them.

But like most people on this board, I want complete pocket watches. That was how they were used and it is what their story is all about.
 

Jim Haney

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Sep 21, 2002
6,724
1,459
113
71
Decatur, TN.
Country
Region
To some extent, this is inevitable. Although I doubt Vortec will prevail about making a commercial business by using a Swatch Trademark as a selling feature. They should have just sold the cases.
Dewey,
It is Vortic Watch Co.

The lawsuit is undecided so we will have to wait and see..and BTW they are not using a Swatch trademark, they are not using any trademark, just selling WW2 Hamilton's in new cases.

It appears that the younger generation likes this concept, so I can understand your position. :rolleyes:
 

DeweyC

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Feb 5, 2007
2,294
884
113
Baltimore
www.historictimekeepers.com
Country
Dewey,
It is Vortic Watch Co.

The lawsuit is undecided so we will have to wait and see..and BTW they are not using a Swatch trademark, they are not using any trademark, just selling WW2 Hamilton's in new cases.

It appears that the younger generation likes this concept, so I can understand your position. :rolleyes:
Jim,

They are in fact using a Swatch Trademark: "Hamilton".

I have told this story before, but when I was selling M21s from the DRMO sales in the 1990s, I had boxes made. One shady guy who used to have the market on original boxes sent a letter to Swatch that I was having boxes made in Korea and selling them as original. Little did he know I had approached Hamilton a year earlier for a partnership.

First SMH had a lawyer buy a chronometer from us under his own name. Then I got the C&D. Yelled at the attorney for an hour demanding if he was claiming I did not have title to the goods! Every sailor term I new and some I made up.

At any rate, Roland Murphy sent me a copy of this guy's letter and I consulted an IP attorney who retired as the General Counsel for Black and Decker.

I arranged a meeting in Lancaster with the Swiss Attorney, the President and the VP I had approached. I did not have a chance to talk, the VP and President did all my defense. The outcome was they set me up to do all the M21s and M22s sent to them I had no more boxes made.

I had no grounds to sue him for defamation because I actually benefitted from his lies. He even tried to cancel my registration at National I had not intended to attend. Got a letter from the Mart Chair asking what I was talking about. All still in the file.

The principle is that Swatch OWNS the trademark and therefore its use for commercial purposes. What a COLLECTOR does is fair game; but you cannot make a commercial enterprise using someone else's trademark without an agreement. Whether you are Vortec, Vortic or HTI.

By doing so you are profiting on the reputation that has been built by that trademark and are therefore engaged in theft. To protect the trademark Swatch must vigorously defend against all infringers.

The cool part is that my two partners had Hamilton tags made and expensed to the partnership. But since I was the "talent" I refused to put them on the boxes or allow them in our advertising. That simple refusal prevented all three of us from serious financial loss. It is also part and parcel of the trait I have of listening, but not following the crowd. If I am going to be hanged, it is going to be for MY decision.

I will be very surprised if it goes to judgment, or if the outcome allows the continued use as is.

So we will have to see how it turns out.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: grtnev

vintageguy

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Oct 27, 2013
261
385
63
Minnesota
Country
Region
The principle is that Swatch OWNS the trademark and therefore its use for commercial purposes. What a COLLECTOR does is fair game; but you cannot make a commercial enterprise using someone else's trademark without an agreement. Whether you are Vortec, Vortic or HTI.

By doing so you are profiting on the reputation that has been built by that trademark and are therefore engaged in theft. To protect the trademark Swatch must vigorously defend against all infringers.
I have to beg to differ, Dewey. The issues are not nearly this straightforward. I'm not a patent attorney, but I do believe the first sale doctrine in the trademark context can in fact allow for commercial enterprise resale of marked products. Although you may or may not be correct as to the outcome in this particular case, your representation paints with too broad a brush IMHO.

I will be very surprised if it goes to judgment
It would be nice if the parties could make a deal similar to yours.
 

DeweyC

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Feb 5, 2007
2,294
884
113
Baltimore
www.historictimekeepers.com
Country
I have to beg to differ, Dewey. The issues are not nearly this straightforward. I'm not a patent attorney, but I do believe the first sale doctrine in the trademark context can in fact allow for commercial enterprise resale of marked products. Although you may or may not be correct as to the outcome in this particular case, your representation paints with too broad a brush IMHO.



It would be nice if the parties could make a deal similar to yours.

All I know is what I learned from first hand experience and in paid consultation with an accomplished IP attorney who retired as the General Counsel of a blue chip Corporation. I paid to get the education. And as you say, this is not your area of practice. It is why I did not consult my personal attorney. You have to be facile in the case law to provide good counsel.

Hamilton is a registered trademark, they say they restore them to original condition (which means 6 seconds across positions) and they make a prominent display of the Hamilton trademark in their advertising.

Their representation about returning them to their original condition could well be the most detrimental part of their case. If they do not meet original timing standards, this can be viewed as directly damaging the trademark.

All of these may be interpreted as making commercial use of someone else's trademark and the good will created through that trademark.

I noticed last year a seller dumped all his 16s WW cases on ebay. I do wonder what the connection was.

In any event, this is all why Judges exist. Lawyers and laymen can argue what they think they know, and litigants can present their best arguments. But ultimately, the outcome is decided by the judge.
 
Last edited:

vintageguy

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Oct 27, 2013
261
385
63
Minnesota
Country
Region
No personal offense intended, Dewey. Wasn't meaning at all to disparage your experiences.

I don't think I adequately explained my point, which is this: As I see it, the proposition "[t]he principle is that Swatch OWNS the trademark and therefore its use for commercial purposes" reflects an overly-broad viewpoint that I wasn't willing to let go unchallenged. I will readily admit that my own viewpoint and willingness to speak on this issue is informed by the fact that that I see a lot of merit in Vortic's position and what it is trying to accomplish.

If anyone is interested, here is a link to the judge's previous order addressing the parties' actual arguments and complexities I referred to above. Judge Nathan ultimately denied Hamilton's summary judgment motion. In other words, she declined to rule in Hamilton's favor on the papers and instead said the case [no pun intended] had to proceed to trial to determine the winner.

https://www.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.nysd.477925/gov.uscourts.nysd.477925.115.0.pdf
 

Jim Haney

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Sep 21, 2002
6,724
1,459
113
71
Decatur, TN.
Country
Region
I believe that the only reason that Swatch is going after a small business like this is just the simply opportunity to do it because of his advertising.

As we all know he refurbishes all makes and sells them as WW . As we all also know, many eBayers do this, I have sold Hamilton's in WW cases, however, I didn't advertise it and other hobby sellers don't advertise it so no red flags to whoever owns Elgin, Waltham, Illinois, etc.go up.

Swatch is know for their aggressive enforcement of copyrights and money is no problem so they go for it .

I believe that another hearing was held in February and R.T. indicated that it was in a judges hands for a decision.
 

vintageguy

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Oct 27, 2013
261
385
63
Minnesota
Country
Region
I believe that another hearing was held in February and R.T. indicated that it was in a judges hands for a decision.
Yup. Based on the docket, it looks like a bench trial (trial by judge instead of jury) was held, but Judge Nathan has not yet rendered a verdict.
 

DeweyC

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Feb 5, 2007
2,294
884
113
Baltimore
www.historictimekeepers.com
Country
No personal offense intended, Dewey. Wasn't meaning at all to disparage your experiences.

I don't think I adequately explained my point, which is this: As I see it, the proposition "[t]he principle is that Swatch OWNS the trademark and therefore its use for commercial purposes" reflects an overly-broad viewpoint that I wasn't willing to let go unchallenged. I will readily admit that my own viewpoint and willingness to speak on this issue is informed by the fact that that I see a lot of merit in Vortic's position and what it is trying to accomplish.

If anyone is interested, here is a link to the judge's previous order addressing the parties' actual arguments and complexities I referred to above. Judge Nathan ultimately denied Hamilton's summary judgment motion. In other words, she declined to rule in Hamilton's favor on the papers and instead said the case [no pun intended] had to proceed to trial to determine the winner.

https://www.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.nysd.477925/gov.uscourts.nysd.477925.115.0.pdf
None taken. But I do have the direct experience which informs my point of view.

People get into a lot of trouble taking a simplified "common sense" approach to these things and it is useful to point out the complexities.

BTW, my personal attorney approved of my ad which I showed to the Hamilton VP I approached atbot partnering. When he declined, he advised to make sure I put in the usual disclaimer of "Hamilton is a registered trademark of SMH and SMH is not involved in this offer". Forget the exact wording but I am sure you know the boilerplate.

IIRC, the respondent does not even include such a disclaimer! IMO, there are several very basic problems that suggest they simply did not do their homework.

As you and I know, there is only one opinion that matters. That of the Judge. All of this is simply talking because we have little else to do.
 

vintageguy

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Oct 27, 2013
261
385
63
Minnesota
Country
Region
As you and I know, there is only one opinion that matters. That of the Judge. All of this is simply talking because we have little else to do.
;) Sometimes the jury, too.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DeweyC

DeweyC

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Feb 5, 2007
2,294
884
113
Baltimore
www.historictimekeepers.com
Country
;) Sometimes the jury, too.
Or, three members sitting on a Board of Appeals case. I am the lead in the middle of community land use litigation. Has taken 3 years just to get out of the County political process where the focus was documenting cause for reversible error.

There is at least another 3 years if it does not go to the State Supreme Court. I have learned more about litigation and political process than I ever wanted to know.

If you know the trial of Mary Surratt or the Courts-Martial of Billy Mitchell you know what we have seen. Very interesting. It ain't what I was taught in grammar school Social Studies.
 
  • Like
Reactions: vintageguy

Jim Haney

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Sep 21, 2002
6,724
1,459
113
71
Decatur, TN.
Country
Region
Vortic Watch Co Won. !!!
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The wait is over. The weight is lifted. Vortic wins on all counts. Case closed.


No images? Click here

Fei%2Ft%2F7A%2F6A1%2FA1F%2F075708%2Fcsfinal%2F2017-08_vortic-logo-optimized_ae059f1c-3ce5-4f57-b.png

Vortic Watch Company Wins Landmark Lawsuit Against Swatch Group Brand, Hamilton

U.S. Federal Judge’s ruling sets precedent for the entire upcycling industry.

%2F7A%2F6A1%2FA1F%2F075708%2Fcsfinal%2FHamiltonvVortic-FindingsofFactScreenshot-990000079e04513c.png

The wait is over. The weight is lifted. We won.

We are so happy to announce that our five-year-long battle with the Swatch Group over the Hamilton trademark is over!

In May of 2015, we received a Cease & Desist from Hamilton International. They accused us of trademark infringement and counterfeiting. On Friday, September 11th, 2020, we received the ruling from Federal Judge Allison Nathan in the Southern District Court of New York.

“The Court finds in favor of the Defendants on all claims. The Clerk of the Court is respectfully directed to enter judgment and close this case.”



Check Out Our Dropbox Media Kit For All The Info
We'll be sure to share all the news stories about the victory in the coming weeks. For now, we celebrate... and we keep making watches!
 

MrRoundel

Registered User
Donor
Dec 28, 2010
1,276
197
63
So. Cal., USA
Country
Region
A logical ruling, IMHO. It sort of falls into the right to repair arguments. Once one has "old world" ownership of an item they have the right to modify it as they see fit. The plaintiff was a modifier, not a trademark pirate. Are those who "restify" classic cars compelled to remove any markings of say, Ford, Chevy, Mopar, etc.? I think not.
That said, in the coming age of a non-ownership society, through "the cloud" software model, manufacturers won't have to worry about anyone restifying or repurposing their items. At the end of the paid-for term your item will become unusable based on software that is outdated and unsupported. But I digress.
Regardless, it's a new world that I don't recognize. Kudos to the courts for helping us stay with the old world a little longer. A world where we can own something that will be usable for its designed purpose beyond the manufacturers "use by' date, like a mechanical watch. Now where is that old lawnmower that still mows a lawn? o_O
 

Jeff Hess

Moderator
Sponsor
Gold Business Member
Sep 3, 2000
7,150
393
83
Florida
www.ballwatchusa.com
Country
Region
I have been involved in this peripherally since it began. I am surprised by the outcome. SWATCH is mighty and they, like other watch brands, CORRECTLY and LEGALLY and ROBUSTLY protect their intellectual property. But they are also bullies. Always have been. I remember asking them in Basel one year after seeing some ads or press releases they did about Hamilton eletrics that word for word took my writing and used it! I did not threaten to sue. No way. I simply asked them to credit me. They refused saying that their researchers and ad copywriters had written it. Whne I showed it to them side by side word for word, they said "ok so sue us". Of course I could not do that. I supported Vortic on this issue. I recognize as I said, protecting intellectual property, but this was rediculous.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kenny S.

Jim Haney

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Sep 21, 2002
6,724
1,459
113
71
Decatur, TN.
Country
Region
This is a real success for Vortic. A small start up company with little financial backing and winning against one of the largest Watch companies in the world.


It is a fair decision because Hamilton name was not being infringed upon. Vortic was taking the 4992B and converting them to wristwatches.

They assembled them for the U.S. under contract. They were made according to US government specifications.

The dials didn't have Hamilton's name on them, just G.C. T. So in all fairness, where was the infringement? There wasn't any.
 

Jeff Hess

Moderator
Sponsor
Gold Business Member
Sep 3, 2000
7,150
393
83
Florida
www.ballwatchusa.com
Country
Region
My friend Martin Braun, before he started his watch company, got his start this way. I met him first when he had a small "Cabinet booth" (a small tower case in a hallway) in Basel. He and his dad were taking ladies patek repeaters and such and making us minute repeating wrist watches. But he would put them in a fitted case with the original case in a fitted spot. Brilliant!

I am SHOCKED at the amount of watches that are done this way but I supported Vortic on this all the way. With heavier 12 size watches being scrapped for as much as 1000 dollars (in 18k) I would rather see the movements live on than rusted in a drawer.

I did it my myself last year. I had a heat 18k gold Patek in an American import case (not a Swiss Patek case). Dented up case weighed 62DWT! Over 4500 in gold and my normal Swiss and German customers for Patek would not pay 5k for it. American collectors did not want it for that price. No way I could retail it with the dented case. When gold hit 2k it was gone. Sold movement for 1k and case for 4500 or so.

It is economically impossible to "save them all"
 

vintageguy

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Oct 27, 2013
261
385
63
Minnesota
Country
Region
The wait is over. The weight is lifted. Vortic wins on all counts. Case closed.
Terrific, and the correct decision in my view. Has the plaintiff indicated whether or not it intends to appeal?
 

topspin

Registered User
Dec 14, 2014
1,440
204
63
Country
Region
Returning to the original topic of this thread...

In 100 years' time people will be treasuring and excitedly discussing any of those 50 watches that have managed to survive, in much the same way that we now feel about unusual cases and private labels from the early 20th century.

It is good that they are giving the original cases the chance to survive. I hope they were mostly ordinary/common cases so there won't be a great loss of "history" (especially if they are eventually used to rehouse random orphans.)
 

musicguy

Moderator
NAWCC Member
Donor
Jan 12, 2017
6,585
3,326
113
New York State
Country
In 100 years' time people will be treasuring and excitedly discussing any of those 50 watches
If you look at almost any militaria time pieces they sell like hot cakes(they sell well).
All types including ship clocks WW's PW's etc.
In fact during ups and downs in the market some of these items
seem to hold their value very well. Converted militaria into something else to me
in the long run will always be a novelty and it will sell well over time
(because these guys do a very professional job), but (in my own opinion)
not hold it's higher current value vs. the original 4992b(again just my own opinion):).

I have communicated with one of the owners in the past and they are very friendly!!
In fact they are really doing a great job creating a business model from
old PW movements which are easy to find.
But as you see from what I wrote above I am biased towards PW's;) but I sincerely
wish this company the best.

There will always be the discussion about how delicate the balance staff is in a PW movement.
One drop can break the balance. I have dropped many a WW and I can't remember
breaking one that way. I have dropped a PW from less than one foot and broke a balance staff.
Also the PW is stationary in your pocket where the watch moves anywhere your wrist moves
and it's a different set of forces.

All in all I do think these guys are doing a good thing and creating something
that is exciting the community. Obviously there is a lot of demand because
they sold out these 50 watches(and the others they make) fairly quickly!







Rob
 
Our 2021 National Meeting in Hampton Roads Virginia
Topic related ad experiment
Know Your NAWCC Forums Rules!
RULES & GUIDELINES

Find member

Forum statistics

Threads
160,739
Messages
1,394,854
Members
82,828
Latest member
iandb
Encyclopedia Pages
1,099
Total wiki contributions
2,778
Last edit
Beat Setting 101 by Tom McIntyre