Truth Behind Michael Kobold & the Kobold Watch Co.

Truth Behind Michael Kobold & the Kobold Watch Co.

Postby koimaster » January 27th 2018, 1:25pm

From timezone.


The Truth Behind Michael Kobold & the Kobold Watch Co. Fri, 26 January 2018 10:44 Go to previous message

Since Kobold Watch owners recently posted concerns about the lack of service available for their watches, I tried searching for answers. My takeaway was enlightening.

The Kobold Watch website is down, and the company's telephone numbers are disconnected. It appears Michael Kobold now focuses his efforts on a new charitable venture to benefit the people of Nepal. Although details about the charity are sparse, a paragraph on the Soarway Foundation website highlights Kobold's accomplishments:

In 2009 and 2010 Michael reached the summit of Mount Everest via the South Col. Both expeditions raised money for the Navy SEAL Fund. In 2012, Kobold opened the first watch company in the Himalayas, employing two Sherpas mountain guides as watchmakers. That year, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai of Nepal appointed Michael as Goodwill Ambassador of Nepal.


Yet, I discovered several contradictions of facts concerning the paragraph, above. First, according to the charity, neither Michael Kobold nor the Kobold Watch Co. donated monies to the Navy SEAL Fund. Second, according to the surviving Sherpa, neither watchmaker was paid during their four years of servitude. Instead, both Sherpas left Kobold Watch Co. years ago, resumed their dangerous occupations as mountain guides, and one was killed in a Himalayan avalanche in November 2016. Finally, the Nepal Government does not list Michael Kobold as a Goodwill Ambassador.


THE NAVY SEALS CHARITY


Michael Kobold, Ang Namgel & Kenton Cool display a Navy SEAL flag at Everest


The nonprofit 501c3 Navy SEAL Warrior Fund supported families of US Navy SEALs "who have died while serving our country, or who are presently serving in harm's way in trouble spots around the world". The Kobold Watch Co. website even linked to a publication claiming, "When Michael Kobold decided to summit Mount Everest, no one thought it was crazier than he did. But he accepted the challenge, and raised more than $250,000 for wounded warriors in the process." Ethos, Volume 6.

I contacted David Guernsey, former Executive Director of the Navy SEAL Warrior Fund. Although Mr. Guernsey recalls once seeing a photo of a nondescript watch, he never met Michael Kobold and never received a $250,000 donation to benefit the Navy SEALs.

Since the Navy SEAL Warrior Fund folded into the Navy SEAL Foundation, I also followed-up with the foundation to inquire further. Neither charity has a record of any donation from Michael Kobold or the Kobold Watch Co.

Yet, as Michael Kobold blogged during the expeditions, he used the charity's name to solicit corporate sponsorships from nearly two dozen companies, including Land Rover, The North Face, Hershey's, Apple, Shell, Honda Power Equipment, UPS and many other businesses to fund both his Everest expeditions.

He gained these sponsorships by ostensibly calling his first expedition the "2009 Everest Challenge in Support of the Navy SEAL Warrior Fund", and his sequel the "2010 Everest Challenge in Support of the Navy SEAL Warrior Fund".

However, the main beneficiary of all this fundraising appears to be Michael Kobold.

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Re: Truth Behind Michael Kobold & the Kobold Watch Co.

Postby foghorn » January 27th 2018, 2:51pm

Even a bigger douche than we ever gave him credit for being.
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Re: Truth Behind Michael Kobold & the Kobold Watch Co.

Postby tiktok » January 27th 2018, 3:47pm

écume de la terre
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Re: Truth Behind Michael Kobold & the Kobold Watch Co.

Postby bobbee » January 27th 2018, 4:57pm

Wow, just wow...
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Re: Truth Behind Michael Kobold & the Kobold Watch Co.

Postby foghorn » January 27th 2018, 5:01pm

spanky1 wrote:
Yea, I would be tired, feathered, and castrated for making such a comment in this forum. Just another example of the WL Double Standard.






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Re: Truth Behind Michael Kobold & the Kobold Watch Co.

Postby biglove » January 27th 2018, 6:19pm

So Kobold is just another garden variety shillster, scumbag grifter.

Hope he is prosecuted for fraud.
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Re: Truth Behind Michael Kobold & the Kobold Watch Co.

Postby PiningforElgin » January 27th 2018, 8:17pm

That sucks. Thought Kobold made okay watches
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Re: Truth Behind Michael Kobold & the Kobold Watch Co.

Postby TemerityB » January 27th 2018, 8:48pm

biglove wrote:So Kobold is just another garden variety shillster, scumbag grifter.

Hope he is prosecuted for fraud.


I agree. Wow. I mean, seriously. Basically, this man sounds a lot like Lawler LaDingo, but with better products. Doesn't make any of this acceptable.

Hope the secondary market turns up its nose en masse, but knowing watch jagoffs, fat chance.

Don't know when that excellent pieces was posted, but as of now the Kobold website is back, up, with the following posted:

KOBOLD NEWS UPDATE
A Message for our Watch Customers
Dear Friends and Supporters,

In my function as founder of Kobold, I enjoy a number of privileges. First, I get to meet an extraordinary number of people who love watches and other handcrafted items and who are just good fun to be around. By the same token, I also am the first to hear when we don't meet your expectations and carry ultimate responsibility to rectify the problems.

Unfortunately, in the last 2 years, I have received considerably more negative feedback from you than any founder likes. First, successive members of our customer service team in the U.S. caused significant headaches by not answering emails and calls. While this could be chalked up to the team's eagerness to assist the Merry Oaks-based production staff in catching up with orders, this ultimately caused more problems than it solved.

After making several attempts to break this cycle, I ultimately made the decision to base our customer service team in our Kathmandu, Nepal operations. This ensures that calls don't go unanswered (please note that our telephone number has changed to 1-888-SOARWAY) and while the team in Nepal is learning fast, they still have some catching up to do before they're as well-versed as you and I would like them to be. I ask you for your patience in dealing with the customer service team in Nepal. They're very eager to please but they just don't have all the answers yet.

Next, I discovered a number of other things about the way Kobold U.S. was run that I didn't like. I subsequently lost confidence in the operations there and decided that more sweeping changes would be necessary.

What led to these problems?

After a phase of major growth, we relocated our U.S. operation from an industrial park in Pittsburgh to Merry Oaks Farm in Amish Country. That growth spurt, however, left Kobold ill-prepared for the challenges of in-house case production. We initially expected it would take 6 months for our in-house case production to come online. In the end, it took 24 months and cost us well over five times the budgeted amount. In a nutshell, while we fully appreciated how complex the design of the Soarway case is, we had not previously understood the complexities of its manufacture.

Finally, once past the hurdles of in-house case production, a number of employees experienced personal problems, causing extensive leaves of absence from work. Things got so bad that I, personally, began machining watch cases using our in-house CNC equipment.

The delays and cost overruns developed into a cascading series of other challenges and ultimately led to extraordinary delays in the manufacture of new watches, as well as in the servicing and repair of used watches.

One of the reason this problem was difficult to solve is Merry Oaks' remote location, making it difficult to find qualified specialists.

Today, after far too much time has gone by, I am relieved to announce that we have finally added watchmakers to our U.S. operations who will help manage the backlog. In addition, a new expert CNC machinist has joined our team at Merry Oaks.

I would like to apologize to you most sincerely for the considerable inconvenience these delays have caused you. They are quite possibly the most ridiculously long delays in an industry famous for ridiculous delays. I alone am responsible for this fiasco and I can assure you I do not take this responsibility lightly.

We will need some time to get through the backlog of work and so I ask you for some more patience. We will get your watch to you as quickly as possible. In order to concentrate on clearing this backlog, we are also not accepting new watch orders until April 2018.

After filling all past orders for new watches, and after returning your service watches, we will work hard to make all this up to you. We fully understand that it will take time to regain your trust. We will start by including a number of our luxury accessories with your watch and by performing the watch's next service free of charge. After that, you will continue to hear from us whenever exciting events occur near you. We will also send you a number of other items later in the year.

A small handful of you have had to wait so long for your watches, that we are going to take extraordinary measures to regain your confidence. Whether it's an all-inclusive visit to our watch manufacturing facility at Merry Oaks Farm, an hour north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, or an all-inclusive trip to Nepal to inspect our accessories workshop there and explore this exotic and beautiful country -we will go the extra mile to show that we care about you.

After speaking with a few of you who have started to receive your watches, I have also come to understand, that once your Kobold watch is on your wrist, the headaches caused by these delays are slowly forgotten. As one happy customer put it: "There is nothing that comes close to a Kobold."

My apologies to you once again.

As ever - Embrace Adventure!

-Michael


https://koboldwatch.com/pages/kobold-news

On the "Watches" page:

NOTE: WE ARE IN THE PROCESS OF CLEARING WAITLISTED AND DELAYED ORDERS FOR WATCHES. ACCORDINGLY, WE WILL NOT ACCEPT NEW WATCH ORDERS UNTIL APRIL. THANK YOU FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING.

Sorry, but WTF. This all is so IWG-like in so many ways; I hope Kobald is really proud.
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Re: Truth Behind Michael Kobold & the Kobold Watch Co.

Postby biglove » January 27th 2018, 9:11pm

Dude can put up some kind of hot air BS. Sounds like he should have been a preacher or a politician.
"Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please."- Mark Twain

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Re: Truth Behind Michael Kobold & the Kobold Watch Co.

Postby bobbee » January 28th 2018, 2:32am

Finally, once past the hurdles of in-house case production, a number of employees experienced personal problems, causing extensive leaves of absence from work. Things got so bad that I, personally, began machining watch cases using our in-house CNC equipment.


^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
What kind of idiot falls for this fairy story? All his staff had personal problems at the same time?
Shyster.
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Re: Truth Behind Michael Kobold & the Kobold Watch Co.

Postby bedlam » January 28th 2018, 2:40am

bobbee wrote:
Finally, once past the hurdles of in-house case production, a number of employees experienced personal problems, causing extensive leaves of absence from work. Things got so bad that I, personally, began machining watch cases using our in-house CNC equipment.


^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
What kind of idiot falls for this fairy story? All his staff had personal problems at the same time?
Shyster.

He claimed to be using Fricker cases, now he says he was making them himself??
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Re: Truth Behind Michael Kobold & the Kobold Watch Co.

Postby codguy » January 28th 2018, 8:03am

3Flushes wrote: with all due respect to your arrogated moderator position

Ahahahahahahaha
FFS
3Flushes wrote:My post here references Trump the politician not at all

OK, got it! Fair game using sleezy politicians in General Watch Talk if same is being addressed before said person was a politician.
Gonna have fun with that! The fake indian comes first to mind.
3Flushes wrote:I must say that I am quite taken aback that a man who wore the uniform of this country is not outraged by Kobald's actions

FFS, If I had to be outraged by all the fake veterans using the service moniker to enrich themselves, I would have to be pissed off at 80%+ of the panhandlers carrying cardboard signs at the off ramps.


:221:
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Re: Truth Behind Michael Kobold & the Kobold Watch Co.

Postby DocKlock » January 28th 2018, 11:08am

"One of the reason this problem was difficult to solve is Merry Oaks' remote location, making it difficult to find qualified specialists." --- I'll make an assumption that not everyone in Amish country drives/rides a horse/buggy. Did any of the "qualified specialists" ever here of a car as a means of transportation.
". . .employing two Sherpas mountain guides as watchmakers. . ." Those apparently were the
original employees and weren't paid for four years of work.
I always wanted a Kobold watch, not so much now.
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Re: Truth Behind Michael Kobold & the Kobold Watch Co.

Postby bobbee » January 28th 2018, 11:29am

Apparently made (gross) nearly half a million on the Himalaya model, yet never paid the guys a dime.
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Re: Truth Behind Michael Kobold & the Kobold Watch Co.

Postby foghorn » January 28th 2018, 11:32am

Didn't Kobold get his start by riding the coat tails of Helmut Sinn?
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Re: Truth Behind Michael Kobold & the Kobold Watch Co.

Postby bobbee » January 28th 2018, 11:37am

Yes, Sinn agreed to let him rebadge some of their watches.
Bet they are distancing themselves from him now...
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Re: Truth Behind Michael Kobold & the Kobold Watch Co.

Postby boscoe » February 10th 2018, 12:17pm

What is it about the watch industry that attracts scammers and douchebags?
Are we collectors so gullible?
Or is it just the internet?
I laugh every day when I walk past the Invicta storefront in the new World Trade Center (Freedom Tower) which is cheek by jowl to Longinges, Breitling, Montlbanc boutiques and a high-end joint that sells Tudors, Rolex, Shinola, Patek and many other brands I cant remember.
Are we suckers?
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Re: Truth Behind Michael Kobold & the Kobold Watch Co.

Postby conjurer » February 10th 2018, 12:30pm

boscoe wrote:Are we suckers?


Yup.
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Re: Truth Behind Michael Kobold & the Kobold Watch Co.

Postby koimaster » April 11th 2018, 5:56pm

His facebook whine today....

The watch industry is going through a major crisis. Prices for new and secondhand watches have fallen sharply, stemming from overproduction and massive macroeconomic problems in some key markets. At Kobold, meanwhile, we are busy rebuilding our operations following the discovery of specific and significant acts of sabotage by former employees. It’s been challenging to say the least, but it’s nothing compared to the many years of hard work that led to Kobold’s success. Look out for the upcoming book on the turn-around, it’ll be an interesting read. #kobold #koboldwatches #koboldexpeditiontools #hardreset #rebuildingromebrickbybrick
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Re: Truth Behind Michael Kobold & the Kobold Watch Co.

Postby bedlam » April 11th 2018, 9:16pm

Something smells, and it ain't the sherpas...
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Re: Truth Behind Michael Kobold & the Kobold Watch Co.

Postby TemerityB » April 12th 2018, 7:35am

bedlam wrote:Something smells, and it ain't the sherpas...


No kidding. And to think, the point Kobold is making is only about three years past its shelf date to begin with - the market has straightened itself out a lot the past 18 months.

There was a time that Kobold crooked my eyebrow but now the brand is just, well, more smoke and mirrors. Fuck 'em.
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Re: Truth Behind Michael Kobold & the Kobold Watch Co.

Postby conjurer » April 12th 2018, 7:49am

From the OP:

Second, according to the surviving Sherpa, neither watchmaker was paid during their four years of servitude. Instead, both Sherpas left Kobold Watch Co. years ago, resumed their dangerous occupations as mountain guides, and one was killed in a Himalayan avalanche in November 2016.

This is, frankly, heartbreaking. Wasn't Kobold's original idea--assuming it wasn't a scam--to train these guys in watchmaking, so they wouldn't get killed ferrying rich dilettantes up and down Everest?
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