“Maurice Fayne has been arrested and charged with federal bank fraud after misusing funds from a Paycheck Protection Program loan,” cnn.com reports. That would be one Arkansas Mo, “star” of VH1’s 151-episode “reality” show Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta. Here’s how Mr. Mo flamed out . . .
“Fayne used more that $1.5 million of the [$2m sent by Uncle Sam] to buy $85,000 in jewelry, including a Rolex watch, a diamond bracelet, and a 5.73 carat diamond ring for himself, the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia said in a release.”
Various sources report that Mr. Fayne bought a solid gold Rolex President – a watch that’s been the subject of some debate hereabouts.
You gotta give Mr. Fayne some credit. The theft upped his street cred and created a cliffhanger for his TV audience. More importantly, he used two percent of the PPP loan – $40k – to pay child support. The man’s got heart.
UAW Watch Scammer in the Slammer
A quick refresher on a tale of UAW looting from our post United Auto Workers’ $250k Watch Scam Revealed:
“In 2013, the training center jointly run by General Motors and the UAW ordered 58,000 custom-made watches — enough to give one to every GM hourly worker and have plenty left over.
“But they were never handed out. Today, the $4 million order remains packed away in a warehouse near the Detroit River.
“The UAW official who arranged it [Former United Auto Workers Vice President Joe Ashton above] collected a $250,000 kickback. Two others split $95,000 disguised as payments for ‘furniture.’
Mr. Ashton is currently serving a three-year prison sentence. I mention this to update you on the story, put Mr. Fayne’s perfidy in perspective, and ask why the UAW continue to refuse to provide TTAW with one – one – watch for review. Watch this space.
Revolution Sells Out. Again. Still.
“Revolution began life as a glossy magazine for luxury watch enthusiasts,” watchpro.com reports, “it has morphed into an online platform including its own ecommerce store for pre-owned and special edition watches.” Damn independent journalism! Full speed ahead!
“Richemont-owned pre-owned watch specialist Watchfinder will now sell a selection of watches via revolution.watch and its partner site therake.com.”
In other words, all pretensions of integrity are gone – as even a quick glance at Revolution’s home page confirms. Because who doesn’t want to drive a brand new Porsche from 1959?
Meistersinger – the Future of Trad Watch eCommerce?
In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s been a bit of bunfight between authorized watch dealers and watchmakers regarding online sales. Patek Philippe stunned the industry when it allowed its Corona-crushed ADs to sell watches via the web (temporarily?).
Schmoozing with watchpro.com’s Rob Corder, MeisterSinger exec Jon Van Steen revealed his company’s strategy for selling its one-handed wonders online. It could well be the template for the traditional watch industry.
“While many retailers rage against brands that compete with them via their own ecommerce sites, Meistersinger rewards its retailers for every watch it sells from Meistersinger.com.
“For example, if a customer in Florida buys a watch online directly from the brand, its retail partner in Naples is notified and gets a percentage of the sale. If customers pick up their watches in-store, the dealer gets to start a relationship with them. The program is not yet launched in every market, but it is coming.”
Fitbit Takes A Hit
Buried in a techcrunch.com article on the new $30 Mi Smart Band 5: a handy little chart on the current state-of-play in the smartwatch biz.
The smartwatch industry shipped shipped 72.6m units in Q1 2020, up 30 percent from the previous year. Apple accounted for 13.3m of them, up 60 percent from last year’s totals. This during Coronageddon.
In comparison, Swiss watch exports fell by 81 percent this Q1. Last year, the landlocked nation shipped 20.6m watches – 3.1m fewer than 2018.
Fitbit sits at the bottom of the smartwatch pile, sending out a relatively paltry 2.2m units in Q1. That’s a drop of 26.1 percent from 2019. For an increasing number of people, the answer to the question on Fitbit’s website is “none of them.”
Given that Fitbit’s Q1 export stat is equivalent to 10 percent of the entire Swiss watch industry’s 2019 export number, maybe Fitbit should try making a traditional watch. How much worse could they do?
CardiacSense – 150k Medical Watches for India
The CardiaSense watch may look a bit dopey and it won’t play your favorite music. But there’s a huge market for a targeted use smartwatch. (Who knew?) That’s especially true when it comes to watches designed to help people not die.
“The CardiacSense watch is specifically for patients with hypertension,” jpost.com reports, “however, the device can also monitor fever, heart arrhythmias as well as respiratory and chronic diseases. Additionally, the watch monitors respiratory rate, heart rate, blood pressure and blood oxygen saturation.”
Proof of concept. Proof of market. IPO. Sell to Apple. Buy a luxury superyacht. Marry Esti Ginzburg. Done.
Grail Watch Price Collapse?
Nothing to see here. Just a data point folks. Anecdotal evidence signifying nada. I mean, just because the world economy is in a deep recession is no reason to get to thinking that the price of pre-owned luxury goods will take a tumble. Right?