Swiss Court Rules on Customized Rolex Watches

Swiss Court Rules on Customized Rolex Watches

Swiss Supreme Court Sounds off on Customized Watches in Rolex Case

Switzerland’s highest court has made a landmark ruling on the legality of a third party selling customized Rolex watches.

It distinguishes between watch personalization for a client, which is acceptable, and the general marketing of modified Rolex watches, which is not.

The Swiss Federal Supreme Court considered the case of Rolex and an unnamed Geneva-based company which modifies the appearance or technical characteristic of high-end timepieces. The watches bear its trademark, alongside Rolex’s iconic coronet logo.

In 2020 a lower court ruled in favor of Rolex, preventing the defendant from selling any customized watches bearing Rolex’s trademarks.

However at an appeal hearing last month, the supreme court acknowledged that the lower court had shown, according to a report by TFL (The Fashion Law), a “profound misunderstanding of the difference between two distinct commercial activities,” namely watch personalization services and the marketing of modified watches.

The supreme court also ruled that advertising watches with the Rolex trademark, along with that of the company modifying them, would be likely to mislead a consumer into believing there was a collaboration between the two.

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