I've just returned home from a four months stint visiting dozens of different cities in the UK, Middle East and South East Asia. Everywhere I've gone, I've looked at watches, watches, watches and while at Siem Reap, Cambodia had my first real look at a truck load of Rolex, Tag-Heuer, Brietling and other FAKE watches.
It occurred to me that it would be a good marketing strategy to run both the genuine arm of a watch manufacturing company and the fake arm - capture both ends of the market. Can't afford the $8,000 Rolex? Get a look-alike for $25.
Setting up the tooling to produce a watch case must be expensive, especially if one company is producing such a wide variety of fakes. They no doubt buy the battery-powered workings that go in the cases, but there's still a huge cost.
Has Rolex, Brietling et al ever sued the companies making these watches? No. Is it because it's too hard to get anything happening in China or India or wherever else these watches are being made, or is it because they are making them themselves?
It reminds me of the days when people were suggesting companies producing anti-virus software were also producing viruses to sell their products. Who knows?