Wednesday May 18, 2016

Brand Insecurities on Display: The MVMT Watches Story

Update (9/15/16) — I checked my review on whim and noticed that MVMT has redesigned their reviews area in such a way that you cannot sort by date or rating as you could previously. As a result, my review is now many clicks away, toward the end of the list. Okay.

The review itself has been edited by… someone. Apparently MVMT is threatened by mentions of competitors, so they edited out my 2 mentions of Timex, which very much changes the basic gist of my review.

What a bunch of babies.

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Update (5/19/16) — My grousing on Twitter got the attention of MVMT customer service, who emailed me to resolve the situation. Apparently it has been the company’s policy to closely monitor incoming reviews, take down any review that seems to contain any hint of dissatisfaction, and follow up with the reviewer via email to resolve their concerns privately. This is, of course, a terrible policy and I’ve been told that it will be changing.

However, that this seemed like a good idea in the first place strikes me as incredulous. Removing reviews under the guise of a customer satisfaction protocol? It’s hard to believe that in this day and age an entirely internet-based business would not expect backlash over review censorship, however good the intentions.

In the end, though, my review is back up at its original 4-star rating. And yes, I’ll be checking periodically to see if it sticks. :)

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I’m mature enough now that the idea of writing a blog post about a beef I have with some random company feels plenty distasteful, but sometimes the situation leaves one feeling like they have no other recourse. Ideally, someone googling for MVMT or Chrono Black/Tan Leather watch will be able to read this this and draw their own conclusions.

It all started with an email from MVMT Watches to review the watch I had recently purchased — a fetching Chrono Black/Tan Leather. “Tell us what you think!” the email said. Here’s what I wrote:

Very Stylish (4 stars)

Overall, I’m quite happy with this watch. It’s a striking design, and it looks just as good in person as it does in the photos. I get compliments all the time when I wear it. Well worth the purchase, for sure!

I would have given this watch 5 stars if it had not been for 2 small things:

1. The strap feels a bit “spongy” — if that makes sense. The upper appears to be actual leather, but it feels like a super-thin veneer of leather. I understand that “genuine leather” bands cannot be expected to use really thick leather, but it does feel really lightweight for the price of the watch. And consider that Timex sells its Waterbury x Red Wing chronos with thick leather bands for less than the price of this watch.

2. The chronograph pushers are very “clicky”. Meaning, when depressed, they make a click sound and feel like they stick for a moment before releasing back up. The effect is that it feels like something is broken, missing, or not lubricated. Again — even at this low price point — that the pusher action is not smooth like a $60 Timex just seems wrong.

(It’s also worth mentioning that I had to Google how to set the date and align the chronograph hands. Seems like a silly thing for MVMT to not provide any printed instructions with the watch, and to also make this information so difficult to find on the website.)

This review was never posted. After looking through the other ~50 reviews for the watch, I noticed that they were all 5 star reviews. Sorry, no one has a track record like that. Here’s one 5-star review from 2/27/16 that is still inexplicably posted for all to see:

LOSING MINUTES (5 stars)

I’m finding my watch is losing minutes every few days not really happy with that situation you keep sending pop up ads on every page I go on very annoying at this point would not rebuy or recommend your product to any of my acquaintances

I find it hard to believe that a reviewer would rate a watch that does not accurately tell time at 5 stars. Something tells me that this reviewer figured out that a 5-star rating was the only way to have their voice heard and consequently gamed the system.

Taking this approach, I resubmitted my review again — this time rating it 5 stars but adding a disclaimer at the top that I was only rating it this highly to get it posted. I’m smart! And for a couple of days, it worked. My review posted and was viewable even after a page refresh, and on different devices. Success! The voice of the customer had been heard!

Nope. It’s been removed.

Look, I get it: you have an open comment form and the internet is full of trolls. You gotta police that thing. But when a verified purchaser posts a generally positive review with a few light criticisms, removing it without explanation casts a shadow over everything you are. It makes you look like a child who sticks their fingers in their year and yells “LA LA LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU” to drown out the sound of disagreeable people talking.

Put on your big boy pants, MVMT.


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