WatchUSeek Watch Forums banner

1 - 20 of 34 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
PLEASE ENSURE YOU READ MY CONCLUDING POST #30 ............


Having read so much praise of the Stowa range and customer service, and falling head over heels for the FO, I placed an order for one last year. Like most of us I was given the delivery date of June this year. Perfect, I thought, the timing as a self sourced present for an event at the end of May made it even more special.

Earlier this month it became clear that the delivery date will be more like mid to end 2010, which I accepted given the circumstances being described on this forum.

However I still wanted a watch for this weekend, and I was still keen to experience Stowa workmanship first hand. As luck would have it I have had my eye on a black dialed Seatime, and low and behold the standard model is listed as being immediately available (all colour bezels) and so are the spare straps.

So on the 16th May I placed my order, 17th of May I made payment if full with additional payment for expedited delivery of a standard Seatime on bracelet, spare strap, 2 spare bezels and a deployment.

All items immediately available so I sat back and waited expecting to receive shipping confirmation a couple of days later.

It didn't come, so I wrote and asked when it would ship. A note came back saying Friday 22nd. OK it would miss the weekend event but I would have it Monday via Fedex.

Friday close of business and no shipping confirmation so I wrote again. I got a prompt email back saying it would ship Monday (promise!) and the offer of a small token to compensate. OK I thought not ideal but they recognise its below par.......... 40 minutes later I get an email telling me to delete the email promising Monday and compensation as it was sent in error , my watch will ship 'next week'!

Now I am confident some may defend Stowa against my "unreasonable" expectations, but this is the first time in many internet transactions I have experienced an item specifically be listed as in stock, not shipping within a few days, at least not without an explanation. I feel even more let down by the fact that having stuck with Stowa in ordering a "replacement" for the original FO order delayed by them, I have been rewarded by a failure to deliver the second order in a timely manner.

It strikes me that whilst the quality of the products may well be superior (I have yet to find out) Stowa needs to address the growing gap between delivery expectation and reality, either via more accurate forecasting or more resource in the supply chain. Without addressing this they run a risk of eroding some of the goodwill the brand has so impressively built up in the past few years.

Whilst I still retain some excitement over my pending deliveries they have now, unfortunately, lost some of their sparkle.

Cheers,

Stephen
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
94 Posts
Re: Rather disappointed!

my airman auto was 2 weeks early, don't know what happened there...

anyway, it's just a watch. drink more, care less!

cheers!


rabul.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
363 Posts
Re: Rather disappointed!

I fully understand your disappointment & totally agree with you that it is one of the few failings of Stowa - they seem to be incapable to meet any of their self imposed deadlines.

Yes it maybe "just" a watch but as we tend to associate watches with significant events so it is important that delivery dates are kept.

Of course I understand that Stowa don't keep a stock of their product which they can dispatch the next day - I'm presuming that even models available for immediate delivery are not sitting in a stock room and have to go through a pre-delivery process...

...my personal experience was a delayed delivery because Jorg was ill, when I expressed surprise at the reason I was assured that every Stowa passes through his hands...

So, if the main man is away, busy or otherwise indisposed there will be a delay.

It's easy with hindsight to say perhaps you should have made the purchase of this "replacement/alternative" conditional on delivery being in time for your special occasion. And I would have thought "Distance Selling" regulations means you could still reject/cancel the order.

Having now seen & experienced Stowa delivery delays, I now know that I would never order/buy a watch from them as a gift for someone nor for a specific event/date/occasion.

It is a simple fact that a Stowa delivery date is just an aspiration - and I order in the full knowledge & acceptance of that.

they do make a pretty good watch though & well worth waiting for b-)!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Re: Rather disappointed!

Of course I understand that Stowa don't keep a stock of their product which they can dispatch the next day - I'm presuming that even models available for immediate delivery are not sitting in a stock room and have to go through a pre-delivery process...

...my personal experience was a delayed delivery because Jorg was ill, when I expressed surprise at the reason I was assured that every Stowa passes through his hands...

So, if the main man is away, busy or otherwise indisposed there will be a delay.

Thanks for your input, in fairness I was not aware of this, and did expect that a piece immediately available would in fact be sat in its box waiting for the stamp! :) Makes it slightly more understandable if this is not the case. I will not be canceling my order or returning it (unless it is faulty) I like the look of the watch too much. As with most things of this nature communication is the key as did request to be advised if the watch could not ship within a few days of placing the order.

Cheers,

Stephen
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,051 Posts
Re: Rather disappointed!

You make very valid points, and I understand your frustration. Hopefully it get's shipped out soon so you can enjoy it while waiting for the FO.

For me, knowing it passes directly through Jorg at some point is worth the quirks on the business/shipping end of things, when dealing with a small boutique brand like Stowa.

The mad artist you commission to do a painting may push your patience at times, but the end result can be something special.

Good luck, the waiting is tough!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
648 Posts
Re: Rather disappointed!

I am also partly disappointed with STOWA. I think they have to follow other watch brands that don't "pre-sell" watches. Instead manufacture it, test it then advertise it forsale (when stocks are ready for delivery). An example is "Archimede".

It seems the Japanese way of "just in time" concept doesn't work in watch companies where all the parts are sourced externally.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,038 Posts
Re: Rather disappointed!

This is the reality of the small custom shop experience. Keep in mind also that they just moved their whole operation to a new facility and it takes months to sort everything out and get their deliveries running smoothly. You'll get the watch and it will be well worth it no matter how long the wait. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Re: Rather disappointed!

This is the reality of the small custom shop experience. Keep in mind also that they just moved their whole operation to a new facility and it takes months to sort everything out and get their deliveries running smoothly. You'll get the watch and it will be well worth it no matter how long the wait. :)
Please don't get me wrong, I understand all the points you make - one of my other hobbies has lead times of 3-7 years from some of the makers, with an accuracy level of 6 - 9 months :-s:)

But I know and accept this up front - where my disappointment stems from is to have my expectations built up with the statement "immediately available" , making a payment on this basis, only to discover it may ship up to two weeks after said order and payment. That is not immediately available or "in stock" by any bodies definition.

Surely the process should be: Advertise 1-3weeks lead time >>> take order >>> process order >>>> prepare order for shipment >>>>> request payment >>>>> receive payment >>>> ship.

Instead of : Advertise Immediately Available >>>> take order >>>> request payment >>>> accept payment >>>>process, prepare, ship order when it fits into the schedule!

Believe it or not I am providing the feedback (only on this sub forum) in the hope the business does not go the same way as many others, and become a victim of its own success. There are lots of small watch entrepreneurs only too happy to pick up some of Stowa's less loyal and potentially disillusioned customers. That disillusionment can be avoided by eliminating the gap between expectation and reality.

Cheers,

Stephen
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,366 Posts
Re: Rather disappointed!

Believe it or not I am providing the feedback (only on this sub forum) in the hope the business does not go the same way as many others, and become a victim of its own success.
This is a great point. One of the companies I work with has a great product and received an order at the end of the year that practically doubled sales. Great news, right? WRONG. In this environment, the company is not able to raise the cash to produce the inventory, and now is late. With expectations high, everyone is getting disappointed. Not where a small company wants to be.

My guess is that forums like this have given Stowa a very strong boost in demand that a small operation cannot fulfill. Moving to a new facility, and all of the problems that can cause, are a symptom of just such demand. It will be interesting to see how the company responds.

I, too, have an FO order in, which at current rates won't be available until 2011 sometime. I'm OK with this because I view it as a piece of art, not a production watch. In fact, I'm hoping they DON'T change the way they do things to increase output because that will mean the ultimate demise of the the cottage/art nature of the brand. (If they do, we'll all be talking about the "real Stowas made back in 2007"! Perhaps a good reason to seek one out in the resale market...:think:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,274 Posts
Re: Rather disappointed!

This is a great point. One of the companies I work with has a great product and received an order at the end of the year that practically doubled sales. Great news, right? WRONG. In this environment, the company is not able to raise the cash to produce the inventory, and now is late. With expectations high, everyone is getting disappointed. Not where a small company wants to be.

My guess is that forums like this have given Stowa a very strong boost in demand that a small operation cannot fulfill. Moving to a new facility, and all of the problems that can cause, are a symptom of just such demand. It will be interesting to see how the company responds.
+1 on that. I have been working in a manufacturing environment for years, and have been trying to follow lean manufacturing principles. Keeping inventory is a no-no, it will seriously affect your ability to invest into a new production run or a new product. Stowa will have to adhere to lean principles in order to survive in the long run, I think and hope Jörg is doing exactly that.
 

·
Vendor
Joined
·
921 Posts
Re: Rather disappointed!

Hello everybody,

thanks for the criticism of I AM LATE!.

Many of you already realized that we have had a lot of time problems in the last months.

The main reason was the new building.

Others are based on supplier problems.

Anyway, the most of you had to face a long delivery time for an ordered watch.

Since a few weeks we are back to nearly 100% production capacity.

So we will manage these time problems. .-)

But some of the criticism I can´t accept:

1
We don´t sell in advance and take pre payments!
The normal way which is explained in the Onlineshop and in many mails we exchange with the customer is: Please do not pay in advance !
When we have the watch under production you will receive a mail which tells you to pay.
This mail says to you:
Please pay in the next 10-14 days and after receiving money we send the watch :)

This system we have now since about 2 years and we have sold a few thousand watches in this time - and the system works perfect for customers and us.

We think it is the fairest way for our customers.

2
The growing of the production and sold watches is not taking our cash possibilities :)


3
But you are right when you think that every watch depends on my personal quality check- this is the basic problem.

The last 3 weeks i had to travel 4 times to Switzerland because the supplier of the FO movement passed away and the family is trying to keep the business running- but this is difficult.

Since this time I was spending thousands of kilometres on the highways to find a fast solution.

Of course this is the risc if you are independend, i already know.

I am now 19 years in business and I don´t take this stories as an excuse.

Since many years I know that the risc is always on the company and its owner`s side.

We can live with this but I just tell it here now trying to explain that sometimes you can do everything and still it is impossible that it works.

No problem at all for our motivation :)

But of course sometimes making trouble for some customers- I understand and I am sorry for this circumstance.

But the most important statement I have to give here to keep my reputation is:

- We are working hard to produce as much watches as possible.

- Our preorder (not prepaid .-) ) watches are a few hundreds and we need a few weeks more to be actual with our delivery times.
(some models we are already "just i time"- of course still a few weeks but you can see always the actual delivery times when you order :))

- we will not have a stock of watches to ship fast to the customers because we have more orders we can produce (i hope to solve ths problem in the next months when we hire new watchmakers) :)

- we do not take money before we are sure that we can ship the watches (like we explain in all mails you get after you have ordered!!) in the next 2 weeks.

But - of course in some cases this promised delivery date was not able to keep - but this happened the last 19 years on several occasions but in a very small number in the relation to the quantity we sell.

But we always found and we always will find a solution to keep the customers satisfied.
(often we do repairs and service in these cases without charging anything - sometimes we send a new strap without costs and many other things we do)

Of course we can´t say that we are perfect in any way and any time !

But this is life and we are still sure to give the best price and quality you can get !

And please remember my statement I gave many times here:

I prefer to have an unsatisfied customer who has to wait for his watch for some time.

But I hate to have an unsatisfied customer who has not got his watch real fast (maybe without end control from my side) and it doesn´t work.

This is something I don´t want to happen in the future.

I keep my way and still go forward with my vision .-)

I will later - today or tomorrow - post some pictures of the new STOWA Museum and I invite all customers to have a look and to visit us.

I think after this you will see and understand much better about the problems we faced an still have to face.

But we are on the right way again and the last months we have produced a good quantity of watches!

Our stock is full of watch parts for more than one year (except the FO movements and some other "normal delayed" parts)

I wish you a nice Sunday and many thanks to all who have had patience in the last years and now own a few nice watches and many thanks for those who will continue being patient today and tomorrow.

Don´t stop to let us always know when something is not perfect - we try to do the best to solve it.

Best regards

Jörg Schauer
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,366 Posts
Re: Rather disappointed!

Hi Jorg,

Great detailed post. Thanks for the update. It's great to see your response and that you are listening! :-!

My favorite statement in your whole post is:

But you are right when you think that every watch depends on my personal quality check - this is the basic problem.
This is NOT a problem and is EXACTLY what I would hope does not change. The day you sacrifice this attention to detail for more volume is the day the brand will cease being special.

I, for one, will wait patiently for my perfectly constructed, personally inspected FO. Take all the time you need to get it right.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
182 Posts
Re: Rather disappointed!

Interesting thread.

Jorge, I'm happy to see your interest in the topic.

I also just learned that my Seatime is now delayed. Regine asked me to pay for the completed watch last week. I paid and then several days later received a note explaining that the watch had been assembled incorrectly and would be delayed a few weeks. This is a let down, as it was a birthday gift. I'd purchased the Seatime because it was listed on the Stowa site as being immediately available.

I've also purchased the black dial MO, maybe there's an update on possible completion dates?

I'm not "piling on." I love Stowa; the Seatime will be my fourth stowa watch. It's just that stowa appears to be going through a minor rough patch (with product supply and due dates) and I hope it's simply an abnormality which passes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
Re: Rather disappointed!

I think both I AM LATE! and Jörg have been very fair and honest in their posts, and that's the great things about this forum, Stowa and its enthsiasts - reasonable, willing to listen, and above all really passionate about the watches.

From Jörg's reply I can sense his frustration too about all the recent problems (even though some are good problems, e.g. the new museum), and am glad to see how he explained everything in such details.:-!

I do hope the problem with the FO movement can be solved soon enough... so that we can all get our FOs ;-), and that Jörg can have less worries and more time on the other watches.

Cheers.
 

·
Vendor
Joined
·
921 Posts
Re: Rather disappointed!

Dear I AM LATE! and dear Wolfjohn,

thanks for replying.

To Wolfjohn:
I will check on Monday morning why the watch has a delay. Maybe my wife gave you a slightly misinformation regarding the delay - I already have some black Seatimes finished- but I have to build some blue ones this week.

Depending on the watch you have ordered (I am at home at the moment and I can´t see the orders right now) I think it should be ready this week of course.

If it is a black one we will send it on Mnday because I already know that there are some watches ready for shipping.

To I AM LATE!:

Thanks for your private message.
I will check all written matters in our online order communication.
And like you wrote it is possible that there are some hidden texts which should be updated for the altered delivery situation.

I will check this tomorrow and let you know and I will update it if necessary (which seems to be the case anyway)

The shop and it´s automatic generated informations and confirmations are not always open to see for me and i have to know (like you did now) to see what we should update.

many thanks and I hope we can solve all problems within the next 2-3 days.

Thanks for your patience.

Best regards

Jörg

Sometmes it is better to find a fast solution if you mail me directly [email protected] :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
441 Posts
Re: Rather disappointed!

I too would be disappointed, particularly with the offer of a token of compensation after poor communication, only to have it withdrawn shortly after as another error. That's just odd. :think:

As you all know I'm a great fan of Stowa watches but we've heard time and time again about the failings of communication and I agree that this is something that needs to be made a top priority in-house.

Most of us here understand that we're not buying a mass-produced product so product will not be immediately available. But the lack of clarity and confusing and conflicting communication is really disappointing at times, and with a little structure could be addressed and made as satisfying as the rest of the Stowa experience. |>

A small investment in hiring a consultant to establish service standards and processes would go a long way towards building and keeping a satisfied clientele...and would be repaid tenfold as said clientele continues to advocate for and sing the praises of one of our favourite watchmakers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
363 Posts
Re: Rather disappointed!

Perhaps the semantics of the English language but I prefer the word 'feedback' instead of 'criticism'.

I think we all appreciate the fact that our watches are made for us individually, not just picked off the shelf from the stockroom.

I certainly love the fact that Jorg personally has handled every watch I've bought from Stowa - I don't even need to know the level of his input, it's enough to know it happens.

My only suggestion (and far be it from me to tell anyone how to run their business) is to re-word the "delivery date" terminology for your English speaking customers so that expectations are not raised for a specific date/month.
Perhaps it would help customers to buy into the individual manufacturer idea if somehow automatic updates be sent ??? Not sure how that would work though :think: .

What I'd love to see is a webcam, or series of webcams of the manufacturing process especially if a graphic could be included informing which model was being produced - it would be great to feel you could see your watch being actually produced.
 
1 - 20 of 34 Posts
Top