Nowadays, everyone feels justified to play the role of a critic, and I am no different. I can be a vocal consumer when I get annoyed. Such was the case when I ordered several watch bands from the Californian watch company Tsovet.com to put on my non-Tsovet watches.An order that should have taken 5 minutes, ultimately consumed several hours of my time so it begs the question if the hassle was worth the $10 sale price that originally attracted me. Probably not.

I was trying to buy four slightly different Tsovet olive colored rubber watch bands. Each band was to be a different width and have different buckle finishes… all of which can be chosen from options available when the watchband is added to your shopping cart. I was going to use one for my Victorinox Swiss Army Dive Master 500 Titanium Limited Edition Chronograph featured in the STRAP SWAP SERIES. The others were going to be distributed to friends.

I was trying to order a Tsovet Olive watch band for my Victorinox Swiss Army dive watch

I was trying to order a Tsovet Olive watch band for my Victorinox Swiss Army dive watch

Granted, their website makes perfect sense if you are buying Tsovet bands for Tsovet watches, but because I was using their watch bands for other brands, I needed the equivalent of a “decoder ring” to make sense of their ordering system. Instead of listing wristband widths in millimeters for their watchband descriptions and in the shopping cart, Tsovet chose to list their watch models that the strap would fit as seen below.

Products are not listed with watch band sizes

Products are not listed with watch band sizes

My only choice would be to painstakingly look up each cross-referenced Tsovet model, open a product measurement tab and see what the lug size is. That’s a lot of work just to order a strap and increases the possibility for errors. Even their shopping cart does not have the product description… just that product code. To me, it is missing the strap size and the buckle finish. For example, the 2 watch bands in the cart below have different buckle finishes, however, there is no way to confirm this.

Ambiguous Cart and Checkout at Tsove

Ambiguous Cart and Checkout at Tsovet

Since I could not figure it out with 100% certainty, I called Tsovet customer service who told me that they don’t take phone orders and to order online. I thought to myself “Really. I want to give you money… why are you torturing me?”

The unhelpful rep said that I would see the size description and buckle finish on the receipt after I paid, which was not exactly true as you can see below. Nowhere does the strap size appear. Even at this point, I was not sure of what I had ordered with complete certainty, even though I looked up all the cross-referenced band descriptions.

Confusing Product Descriptions

Confusing Product Descriptions

Predictably, the order arrived with issues. Remember that silly little watch band measurement that I wanted? It became critical. Of the four watch bands that I ordered, only one was correct. I had to lay out all the bands to figure out what they sent me and it was a mess.

This photo is what I sent to Tsovet to explain what I received. The tapered bands confused both of us.

This photo is what I sent to Tsovet to explain what I received. The tapered bands confused both of us.

The single correct watchband showed up with the buckle already attached and the other three showed up as loose bands and buckles. Not a big deal except that the loose buckles were 2mm wider than they were supposed to be and did not fit the straps. That is because the watch bands that I bought taper from one lug measurement to a second smaller buckle measurement. Maybe the person packing the order got confused as well and did not have his decoder ring on.

To be fair, Tsovet did send me 3 replacement buckles to fit the watch bands at no extra cost. I will give them praise for that and appreciate that very much. Also, their products are beautiful and their watch bands are very high quality. If you are buying their watches and their watch bands, you will be in consumer heaven with one of the prettiest watch websites around. But, if you are trying to buy one of their watch bands for a non-Tsovet watch, prepare to be confused.

A shopper who is confused may simply walk away from the sale and buy something else from thousands of competing websites. The seller also risks losing money with returns if the product that was ordered is returned. It’s bad business… period.

This ordeal happened to me months ago, and I have since come to realize that many manufacturers use the same practice of only listing compatible watch models and not watchband sizes. Tsovet is not alone in doing this… So, maybe I had better get used to wearing my decoder ring?

TODO – fix icon links and page links in text/ strap swap link to main page

Andrew Hughes

Author Andrew Hughes

A graphic designer and photographer in Atlanta, Georgia who came down with a serious obsession for things that wind up, tick and tell time.

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