Fake Patek Philippe ‘timepieces’ crash planes: OECD shock!

Want to buy an expensive Swiss watch? Not everyone can afford a real one-a Patek Philippe timepiece can be worth many thousands of dollars, and some very exclusive makes, such as a Vacheron Constantin, can cost over a million! Still, you may have found a convincing lookalike in some market on your travels: the genuine item is made of several hundred parts and would have taken many thousands of hours of costly research and development to make, but this imitation seems to work well, and it looks smart. You shrug your shoulders and buy it, because “anyway, counterfeiting is a harmless activity!” But what if the airplane you were about to board had been repaired with counterfeit airplane parts: How smart would you feel then?

The OECD have joined the IP fundamentalists. Or so it seems. The OECD Observer is always worth a read, but last month I was dismayed to read the above para as the opening salvo in an OECD Observer piece on counterfeiting. Well, I can’t argue that breaking the law isn’t a bad thing. I can’t argue that counterfeiting airline parts isn’t a very bad thing.

But lumping buying watches that you know are fakes with counterfeiting airline parts seems pretty silly. But in the whole of the article there’s no sense that – as I argued a while back – there is really only a case for laws to prevent sellers deceiving buyers. That covers the counterfeiting of airline parts, and would leave the Patek Philippe ‘timepiece’ manufacturers free to ply their trade so long as the timepieces came with a clear disclaimer. “This ‘timepiece’ – known colloquially as a watch by the way – is not an authorised product of Patek Philippe”.

This entry was posted in Economics and public policy. Bookmark the permalink.
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
14 years ago

Perhaps if there was any connection whatsoever between the price of the watch, sorry, timepiece and its functionality people would be more worried about what they were buying. But since all they are buying is pure wank, you may as well save your hard-earned and fake it if you can get away with it.

Carole A.
14 years ago

Not so simple !

You forget generally the same people are behing trade of fakes.. and revenues too. Counterfeiting activites are linked to organized crime. And by purchasing a fake watch, you contribute to make this fake industry stronger.

Ans what if your chidlren would play with dangerous toys ?

Do not forget manufacturer never tolerate the trade of fakes. But that true this trade is harder and harder to break down.

And what it is the reason to wear fake ? Where is the pleasure when wearing a poor quality product wihthout history and experience behind ?

You are really a poor guy if you need a lookalike to feel “as if”…


14 years ago

Trade in “fakes” cost the manufacturers nothing. The high price of their goods is due to the status attached to it, and you don’t gain any status from wearing a fake.

So you pay $50 for a watch that looks nice and will work for a while, about what it’s worth.

Nobody who you were actually trying to impress would be fooled.