Vortic Watch Company wins landmark lawsuit against Swatch Group brand, Hamilton

Tuesday September 15, 2020 0 comments Tags: Fort Collins, Vortic Watch Company, R.T. Custer

FORT COLLINS -- Vortic Watch Company announced victory in a trademark case filed against the company by Hamilton Watch International, a Swatch Group brand.vortic-watches-logo 

In a decision made by the U.S. Federal Court on Sept. 11, the judge ruled in favor of Vortic on all counts.

After a five-year battle, Federal Judge Alison Nathan determined Vortic has the right to salvage and restore antique pocket watches and turn them into wristwatches, including those that bear the Hamilton trademark. 

"I always knew what we did was not wrong and did not violate trademark law,” said R.T. Custer, co-founder of Vortic. 

“What we do celebrates and preserves these wonderful antique watches. I'm so thankful the U.S. justice system validated that and protected our American Dream."

The Swatch Group, a Swiss conglomerate that oversees the once-American Hamilton brand, accused Vortic of trademark infringement and counterfeiting in 2015.

The case finally culminated in February with a bench trial in the Southern District of New York.

"We're happy with the precedent that's been set in this historic case," said Vortic's attorney, Robert Lantz.

"We demonstrated that the business model of upcycling antique pocket watches into wristwatches is fair and legal. Moreover, the court's ruling protects thousands of American small businesses that preserve history and enhance or find new uses for antique products."

Vortic said it successfully presented its efforts to avoid any consumer confusion in advertisements by describing its watches as works of art – "a museum on the wrist."

"I couldn't be prouder of both my team and the justice system," said Custer. "We won one for the little guys today.  This was truly a David vs. Goliath case."