With aCalifornienne, founders Courtney Ormond and Leszek Garwacki promised something very intriguing, 100% authentic timepieces to which they added bold, colourful and very individual touches. Now it looks like they went just a wee bit too far. Rolex has filed a strongly-worded suit against the brand and Ms. Ormond and Mr. Garwacki in a California federal court calling their products “Counterfeit.”
The issue, according to thefashionlaw.com, isn’t steps like replacing traditional straps with colorful leather ones. laCalifornienne has been customizing the watches with a combination of non-Rolex approved parts, such as dials and crystals.
In accordance with the 114-year old watchmaker’s long-standing policy, the alteration of its timepieces to include non-authentic Rolex parts (or parts otherwise approved by Rolex) transforms an authentic watch into a counterfeit. Additionally, such a move renders Rolex’s warranty [on its watches] null and void, in large part because the swapping of parts makes it so that Rolex can no longer assure the quality or performance of such watches.
In other words, while laCalifornienne’s watches bear the Rolex name and other trademarks of the brand, the American arm of the Swiss stalwart asserts that laCalifornienne’s watches are “not authorized or sponsored by Rolex” and in fact, are downright, counterfeit because they “have been altered by the substitution or modification of parts not provided or authorized by Rolex.”
It’ll be interesting to see how this works out for laCalifornienne, and whether other watchmakers could use the same reasoning.