In this write-up I’ll be detailing trails left behind by a man purporting to be a “Charles Ginault”, exposing the lies and deception surrounding the watch brand Ginault, and Thomas Caddell.
Do you want to know one of the main methods INTERPOL uses to catch criminals online?
It’s the science of recovery, collection, and investigation of digital materials. Forensic investigators squeeze out every bit of information they can get from the material they’ve collected.
A great and important thing about digital forensics is that it’s independently verifiable. Which means that you, after reading this entire write up, can personally verify all the statements and evidence yourself.
Now you’re asking what does all this have to do with Ginault?
Well, you see Ginault hasn’t been very truthful about their past.
Ginault has vehemently denied having any connection to “TC”, a prominent producer and vendor of fake Rolex watches and fake Rolex parts.
People have pointed out and posted “similarities” Ginault and TC shared, some of these similarities were censored off and are considered taboo to talk about on both kinds of watch forums.
On replica watch forums, where TC was a “Supporting Vendor”, and also on genuine watch forums, like WatchUSeek.com which Ginault sponsors.
Here we have Raddave, one of the top moderators on “RWI”, a replica watch forum, telling a poster to “zip it” and warning other posters in a thread talking about TC and Ginault.
And shortly after, Raddave sarcastically thanks the posters for listening and he promptly locks the thread.
Over on a genuine watch forum, we have something similar happening.
Here we have CMSgt Bo, a WatchUSeek administrator removing posts talking about TC and Ginault.
CMSgt Bo – Brad Bokkean is an interesting character, you’ll read more about him later.
Even a watch review website, The Wrist Watch Review, has an article attempting to debunk claims about Ginault’s connection to TC.
The author concludes, after asking Ginault a couple of questions, that Ginault is totally not connected whatsoever to TC, and that whatever similarities Ginault and TC share are just mere “coincidences”.
Case closed! After all, Ginault would never lie and cover up the truth, right?
What’s interesting is that the author, Victor Marks, received the watch from Ginault for free.
Also interesting is that Victor Marks is a member of the same replica watch forum TC used as a sales ramp for his counterfeit Rolex items.
Here we have Victor Marks claiming authorship of that very same article on Ginault on that replica watch forum:
And Victor Marks, in the same thread, shows that he's known about TC since 2011 and Victor is interested in purchasing a counterfeit Rolex Submariner produced by TC.
And here are the arguments made by Victor Marks which are highly in favour of Ginault:
It’s seems to me that there’s somewhat of a visible effort to protect both TC and Ginault.
With all the censored posts, the debunking, and all the posted speculations, nobody has been able to concretely prove the Ginault-TC connection, yet.
A small note:
During the time I was researching, and writing this up, it appears that Ginault had caught wind of me. Ginault.com has entirely been removed from the “Internet Wayback Machine” on web.archive.org.
All the saved webpages from Charles Ginault’s ginault.com dating all the way back to 2010 has been removed due to a request coming from ginault.com. It’s a small inconvenience but it won’t hinder me.
Here’s a small section of the list I managed to save of all the ginault.com webpages that used to be archived on web.archive.org. For the sake of transparency, the full list can be found here.
Now that is out of the way, let’s begin.
For this to all make sense, we’ll need some background. Let’s start with Ginault.
Ginault is a California-based watch brand established on February 2010 by a man identifying himself as “Charles Ginault”.
The first watch on his website was called the “Mark 1”, he described it as a “combination” of Rolex’s Yacht-Master and Omega’s Seamaster.
He then went on to list four more watches on ginault.com.
“Base Module 1” which he described as a “Rolex Submariner Date Sterile Homage”, “Base Module 2” described as a “Rolex Yacht-Master Sterile Homage”, “Base Module 3” with the description of “Rolex Sea-Dweller Sterile Homage”, and a final watch called “Silent Service”.
Unfortunately, I was unable to take screenshots of the archived ginault.com webpage showing the rest of these watches before it was removed.
Sterile, in the world of watches means watches with that bear no branding. Though Charles Ginault had a customisation option for the dials available which you can see on the watch on the left below.
Of the five watches listed on ginault.com, only the Base Module 1 was sold and shipped to the public, the rest of the watches he listed appears to have just been concepts that never made it into production.
Charles Ginault detailed how the Base Module 1 came to be on the blog on his website, he titled the blog posts “Rolex Submariner Homage Project”.
Again, this was archived on web.archive.org but it was removed. Fortunately, he reposted it on a different replica forum called RWG.bz.
But before we delve into those blog posts, let’s first go back to a time before it was posted.
13 August 2010
We have a man called “Allan Kuefer” creating an account on a different replica forum called RWG.bz with the username “allank”.
He also had his own website, allankuefer.com.
This allank account only has two posts and it has remained dormant since 1 November 2010.
Here is allank‘s first and only thread that he created on 20 August 2010 titled:
“Hellow from Taiwan”
Allan Kuefer introduces himself in this thread, here are some excerpts:
“My family owns a small watch manufacturing company in the Far East (We have a shop in Taiwan manufacturing watch cases, bracelets and most of the metal parts of watches; An accessory factory in GD province, China, manufacturing dials, hands, crystals and other parts.)”
"Since, 2007 we've planned to develop our own brand."
“Our short term plan is to create sterile/homage watches of major brands to show case our ability in quality and precision.”
Allan Kuefer posted his second and final post on 26 August 2010 answering a random question on a different thread:
“Rolex stop put the green stickers on the back case since Z-Serial. That is about since the end of 2007 and early 2008.”
That final post was slightly irrelevant but here we have an Allan Kuefer from Taiwan, with factories in both Taiwan and China, planning to produce and sell sterile homage watches for his would-be brand.
1 November 2010
Allan Kuefer’s last recorded activity on was on this date, he was never heard from ever again.
From my extensive research, outside of allankuefer.com, which is now defunct, and this allank forum account, I have found absolutely no sign of an “Allan Kuefer” existing anywhere else.
It was only after this Allan Kuefer identity went quiet did we see Charles Ginault pop up.
22 November 2010
A “Charles Ginault” creates an account on the same RWG .bz replica watch forum with the username Ginault.
But before we go look at Ginault’s forum account, let’s look at the publicly-available historical whois data for allankuefer.com first.
Here we see a “Kuefer Uhren AG” with the address of “Grossmanstrasse 173 Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe 50977 Germany” listed as the registrant for allankuefer.com.
From my extensive research, I have also found absolutely no record of a Kuefer Uhren AG or Küfer Uhren AG ever existing in Germany or the rest of the world, active or inactive.
And the German address? Well it’s fake.
“Grossmanstrasse 173 Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe 50977 Germany”
Grossmanstrasse/Grossmanstraße does not exist in city of Karlsruhe.
The 50977 post code? It’s invalid. Post codes that start with 50 are from Köln, the post codes for Karlsruhe always start with 76.
This Allan Kuefer identity is now seeming to be a false German identity claiming Kuefer Uhren AG, a non-existent company with a matching fake German address.
Now let’s look at Charles Ginault’s rwg.bz forum account.
Again, this Ginault account was created on 22 November 2010, 21 days after Allan Kuefer went quiet on 1 November 2010, never to be heard from again.
Remember, Allan Kuefer has watch manufacturing factories in Taiwan, a Chinese-speaking country, and in China, and Allan has plans to create a watch brand selling “sterile/homage watches”.
Charles Ginault’s account has a total of 19 posts, I’m going to highlight a few of them.
4 December 2010
Charles Ginault creates a thread titled:
“Selling “Homage Watches” Legal?”
An excerpt from his opening post:
“I’m about to leave the current job and venturing into a watch company. I’ve been consulting with several lawyers but none can give me a definite answer – is selling “Sterile Homage Watch” legal domestically in the US?”
And also on 4 December 2010, Ginault posted this as a reply on a different thread:
“I find myself fortunate I can speak Chinese. There’s a couple thousand companies size from 5 to 200 people specializing in this what they called replica-expo business in Guangzhou & Putien. o Boy they are proud of what they do.”
Following this, on 26 February 2011, Ginault created another thread where he wrote this:
“While I was working on my watchmaking blog, searching for pictures of the yachtmaster dial… google image search pops out tons of pictures watermarked “www.watchmaker9.tv”. I lived in China for a while and I’m SURPRISED seeing those pictures. Who are they?”
From these three posts from Charles Ginault, we can say that one, Charles Ginault speaks Chinese and has lived in China.
Two, that Charles Ginault is well-aware of the counterfeit watch industry in China.
And three, we can also see that just like the now-absent Allan Kuefer, Charles Ginault is interested in producing and selling “sterile homage watches” and starting a watch brand.
28 February 2011
Finally, we are now back to the aforementioned blog posts from ginault.com, Charles Ginault reposted them in a thread titled:
“Rolex Submariner Homage Project”
We’ll delve into this in just a bit. In this thread a user asks Charles Ginault:
“Ginault What is your Connection to Allan Kuefer? Or http://www.allankuefer.com/rolex-submariner-watch-case-kit.html"
Charles Ginault responded on 1 March 2011 saying:
“Mr. Kuefer had some financial issues. The very first time I step into his factory, I know it is capable of making quality pieces. So I took the chances buy out the shares.”
What an interesting story.
Somehow Charles Ginault found Allan Kuefer from Taiwan, and what a coincidence that they both want to create a watch brand selling “sterile homage” watches at the same time.
Note that Charles Ginault hadn’t mentioned anything about Allan Kuefer until someone pointed it out. In his blog posts, Charles Ginault made no mention of Allan and made it appear that he made and worked on the watch cases himself without any outside help.
And the most interesting thing about this story is how Charles Ginault bought out the shares to a non-existent company with a fake address.
This story is dubious at best but anyway, let’s now go back to Charles Ginault’s blog posts.
The entire post is there for transparency purposes, I’m going to highlight a few things from it.
“It was a sad day for most avid watch fans when Rolex announced the discontinuation of their production of their decade old tradition, the Rolex Submariner 16610.”
“Upon learning the shocking news and the decision to make my own Sub 16610 I went to my local watch store and ordered 2 Subs. V serial Sub 16610 and 16610LV.”
“After a few days of careful consideration, I’ve decided to make the first 16610 homage proto type based on the original Sub 16610’s design without any added flavor. After all, this is a tribute to tradition.”
So now we know Charles Ginault’s “reasons” as to why he’s made an exact Submariner copy which he then marketed and sold as the Base Module 1.
In the blog posts, he then goes on to write about personally taking detailed measurements of a genuine Rolex Submariner, selecting the proper steel, embedding (now removed) photos of CAD drawings, steel moulds, and finished watch cases.
We read about him successfully producing a watch case – a copy of Rolex’s Submariner, fully reversed-engineered by Charles Ginault. He used this copied case for his sparsely sold “Base Module 1” watch.
And this was the last time Charles Ginault talked about his “Rolex Submariner Homage Project” both on his website and on the various forums he was registered on.
A little re-cap, we know that Charles Ginault has lived in China and speaks Chinese, and that he knows the watch counterfeiting industry there.
And we know that Charles Ginault successfully reverse-engineered the Rolex Submariner case, which he then sold as the “Base Module 1” under his California-based watch brand Ginault – he did not achieve much success in selling them.
What follows this is the five-year dormancy of Charles Ginault, Ginault the brand, and ginault.com.
14 November 2011
Charles Ginault’s last recorded activity on this Ginault account was on this date.
This is when Charles Ginault’s five-year long silence began.
Coincidentally, also on 14 November 2011 is when we see the “Thomas Caddell” identity pop-up for the first time.
Thomas Caddell registered an account on the same RWG.bz forum with the username “tc670207”.
Charles Ginault is a member of a total of four replica watch forums, and we see Thomas Caddell has joined the very same forums.
RWG.bz, RWG.cc, and RepGeek, all have Thomas Caddell’s registration date the same as Charles Ginault’s last activity date.
All happening on 14 November 2011, with the exception of one forum, RWI:
Charles Ginault’s last activity was on 13 November 2011, Thomas Caddell joined the following day.
Three out of these four replica watch forums require an account to view member profiles, RWG.cc is the exception.
On both RWG.cc and RWG.bz, when you hover your mouse cursor over the dates, you get an exact timestamp.
On RWG.bz you see a difference of just one hour and twenty-four minutes between Charles Ginault’s last activity and Thomas Caddell’s registration.
On RWG.cc however, the time difference is much more close.
Just a mere three minutes between Charles Ginault signing out for the last time and Thomas Caddell registering on this forum.
Four different replica watch forums and on the same day Charles Ginault decided to sign out for the last time, we see Thomas Caddell joining the same forums shortly after.
This is the same “Thomas Caddell” Charles Ginault is claiming to have absolutely no connections to.
Now who is Thomas Caddell?
Thomas Caddell is a prominent producer and vendor of counterfeit Rolex watches and parts. Thomas Caddell started operating on 2011 out of the same state as Charles Ginault, California. He has two other aliases, TC and tc670207.
And on TC‘s (now emptied-out) Photobucket account, he lists “Airplane parts maker”.
TC amassed a following in the “replica watch community” for the counterfeit Rolex items he has produced and sold over the years.
Here’s a thread on RWI titled “Show off your TC Subs…” which has 2’996 responses and over 200 pages.
This thread shows just how much “status” a counterfeit Rolex Submariner produced and sold by TC has.
It’s full of different posters showing off their “TC Subs”, complimenting and congratulating each other for owning a counterfeit Rolex Submariner produced by TC.
And just like Charles Ginault, “Thomas Caddell” or “TC” also had a website with a blog on it, and TC here has posted about his illegal criminal activities on his.
Counterfeit Rolex watches produced by TC, advertised on tc-sub.com
Now not only did TC produce and sell counterfeit Rolex watches with the prices ranging from $600-$800 USD, TC also produced and sold various counterfeit Rolex parts with the prices ranging from $15-$289 USD.
On TC’s blog we see him writing about his illegal activities, posting updates on new counterfeit parts, visiting various countries, making deals and contracting multiple factories to produce illegal counterfeit parts for him, and so on.
Here we have a post from 2012 with TC comparing parts of the first iteration of his counterfeit Rolex Submariner to genuine Rolex parts.
In a different post from 2013, TC writes about visiting a bracelet factory in Thailand and contracting them to produce counterfeit Rolex bracelets.
TC writes that he was introduced to the owner of this bracelet factory by an “apprentice” of one of his other suppliers of counterfeit Rolex parts.
TC claims that he was vetted to make sure he was not an “undercover agent” of the Federation de l’industrie horlogère Suisse.
In another post from 2013, TC writes about contracting a Japanese factory to produce “Date Wheel Overlays”.
Date wheel overlays or “DWO” are used to make the date indicators on counterfeit watches appear more “gen-like”.
In the post, TC talks about a Japanese woman scanning and copying a genuine Rolex date-disc which the factory then produced for him. This Japanese factory became one of TC’s main suppliers.
As the sales came rolling in, TC continuously updated his counterfeit watches and parts which went through various iterations over the years.
On October 2014, TC introduced a new iteration of one of his counterfeit watches on a blog posted titled:
“TC’s 2014 Rolex Submariner 16610LV”
In this post, TC writes about receiving a dial from a “dial maker friend” in London. TC calls the dials made by this man “Kensington High” or “KH” dials.
And in a different blog post, TC claims that he suspects this new found counterfeit supplier of his is a “Rolex dial maker gone rogue”.
TC detailed how he met this dial maker in a post on a replica watch forum.
TC confessed to this dial maker that he was making counterfeit Rolex Submariners. The next day, TC visited this dial maker’s workshop where he was given a small sample of counterfeit Rolex dials.
This “Kensington High” dial maker became TC’s main supplier of counterfeit Rolex dials.
TC also wrote about his various visits to EPHJ – a trade fair for those in the watch industry, held annually in Switzerland.
In a post from 2014, TC wrote about finding his supplier of “cloned” ETA movements for his counterfeit Rolex watches at EPHJ, he calls this the “TC 2824”.
And in a post from 2016, TC writes about finding his watch case finisher, who is also from California, at EPHJ too.
TC’s threads on RWI, RepGeek, RWG.cc, and RWG.Bz. Note that RWI shows fewer threads per page.
In these replica watch forums, TC had the status of being a “Trusted Dealer” and “Supporting Vendor”.
TC had his own sub-section in some of these forums which he got by paying the forum administrators.
Here is TC on RepGeek writing about missing the monthly payment for being an “SV” – Supporting Vendor
TC’s sub-sections are now hidden from view and cannot be accessed, accessing links to it only leads to error pages.
It’s difficult to tell whether or not these forum administrators were involved in TC‘s organised illegal counterfeiting operation.
But what is clear is that, most, if not all of TC’s customers funnelled in from their forums.
In TC’s website, he gives instructions on how to communicate and order these counterfeit items from him. One of the instructions is to “mention your forum handle”.
Note TC’s email – [email protected], more on this later.
And in the same post, TC writes about shipping the counterfeit items.
As you can see, he details his well-established shipping methods to evade customs seizure. And as we’ve seen, TC has a huge international network involving logistics, suppliers, and producers.
TC has a highly-organised illegal counterfeiting operation and he shows quite the experience in this illegal trade.
Without access to TC’s records, it would be impossible to tell the exact amount of counterfeit Rolex watches and parts he’s sold.
Though in a forum post from April 2012, he writes about contracting a factory to make 200 pieces
of date wheel overlays, which he sold as the “Version 2 DWO”, and that’s just a single part of a watch, not an entire watch itself.
And in a blog post from July 2012, TC talks about having an inventory of “400+” of his “Version 1” date wheel overlays.
In a blog post from 2013, he considers placing an order for 1’000 pieces of counterfeit Rolex bracelet end-links but he claims to not have enough funds at that moment.
Keep in mind these are just the numbers he posted from 2012 – 2013, TC was still shipping out orders way well into 2017.
Over the years, TC has gained and established a considerable amount of connections to people in the watch industry and various suppliers & manufacturers of watch parts from all over the world.
And during the time this “Thomas Caddell” identity was actively selling and producing counterfeit Rolex items, not a single sign of activity was seen from “Charles Ginault”. Nothing on Charles’ forum accounts nor on his own personal site or anywhere else.
Fast-forward to 2016
By August 2016, TC has released the newest iteration of his counterfeit Rolex Submariner 16610.
TC calls this new iteration the “Version 7” or “V7“, this was well-received on the replica watch forums with plenty of the forum users posting about successfully placing their orders.
But by September 2016, first reports of TC’s website being unaccessible has begun to pop up on the forums.
Behind the scenes, TC is starting to remove evidence of his activities online, deleting all of the photos and videos he’s uploaded.
And around October-November 2016, posters confirm that TC has shut down his website. Only archived versions exist today.
December 2016 comes and as if by some miracle, we see Ginault, after a five-year long silence, resurrected and introducing a “new” watch, the Ginault “Ocean-Rover” on WatchUSeek.
Interestingly, it looks strikingly similar to TC’s counterfeit Rolex Submariner and even Ginault’s writing style is the same as TC’s.
Many people have noticed this.
This is when the controversy starts.
Now that we have plenty of background on
Tsung Chi, I mean Thomas Caddell and Ginault, let’s look at the pointed out similarities that started this controversy.
Do note that because of this controversy, Ginault had edited the opening post multiple times. Ginault removed some photos and phrases.
There are no copies of Ginault’s original un-edited opening post available, TC’s posts are unedited. Let’s begin.
TC’s final blog post, introducing the “V7”:
Ginault’s debut post, after a five-year long silence, introducing the “Ocean-Rover”:
The very first photo on both of their posts look extremely similar.
Ginault on the left, TC on the right.
Even the table looks like they could be the same.
Next, Ginault talks about his “own” movement, the Ginault cal. 7275, being specific about the cannon pinion height.
Ginault also talks about being unable to get the Chinese to supply movements with the specifications he requested.
Ginault is trying to minimise sounding like TC here, Ginault is trying his hardest not to mention “H4”. The H4 cannon pinion is 0,50mm taller than the H2, which is exactly what Ginault is talking about. (H = height).
Now TC talks about his “own” movement too, the “TC 2824”, in a post from 2013.
He is also specific about the cannon pinion height and TC also talks about the Chinese failing to supply him, just like Ginault.
In the same post, TC shows his “TC 2824” with an H4 cannon pinion.
For “two completely different people” they sure share a lot of similarities.
Back to Ginault’s post talking about his own movement, the Ginault cal. 7275. He admits that it is a clone of ETA’s cal. 2824.
Ginault also highlights the non-standard Chinese shock-absorber in the Ginault cal. 7275.
And here we have TC in the same post from 2013 where he talks about his TC 2824, calling it an ETA “super clone”.
TC also highlights the non-standard shock-absorber in his “own” movement.
Note that TC’s post above is from 2013. In a post by TC from 2015, we can see the “TC 2824” now with a silver-coloured rotor and movement plates, just like Ginault’s cal. 7275. More on this later.
And here’s the similarity that’s been pointed out numerously, TC and Ginault’s way of describing their bezels.
Ginault, December 2016:
TC, August 2016:
It’s like TC and Ginault’s posts were written by the same person, no?
Here is Ginault showcasing the dials in his watches.
Ginault mentions a “master dial maker” from the United Kingdom “who has worked for a famous Swiss watch company specializing in dial production”.
And you’ve guessed it, TC‘s counterfeit Rolex dials he named “Kensington High” are supplied to him by a dial maker that he met in London.
This British dial maker has been supplying TC counterfeit Rolex dials since 2013.
And TC “suspects” this British dial maker to be a rogue Rolex dial maker.
And finally, here’s how Ginault ship his watches:
“HAND BUILT IN AMERICA”
Note the plastic wrap on the bracelet and protective stickers on the crystal, bezel insert, and case. It also comes with a timing card.
Now with TC and his packing methods, I saw plenty of photos posted by his cutomers in the past.
But that was before, now that there’s this “Ginault controversy”, there’s plenty of mysteriously missing photos in various “TC” threads on the forums, including photos specifically showing TC’s packaging.
It’s either these owners just one day decided to collectively remove photos of their “TC Subs” but only those showing the packaging or these owners were asked by the forum administrators or TC himself to remove them.
I can’t prove either but what I do know is that the photos are suspiciously gone. But I am extremely thorough and I’ve found two posts after many hours of searching. Maybe the clean up crew missed them…
We see the same protective stickers and plastic wrapping on TC’s counterfeit Rolex Submariners – which also comes with a timing card.
“HAND BUILT BY THOMAS CADDELL”
And on the timing cards, we also see the dates when these counterfeit Rolex Submariners were produced by TC.
We see 21 February 2017 above, and below we see 23 March 2017.
Note that during this time, Ginault was already actively selling watches too.
What this means is that TC's counterfeit Submariners and Ginault-branded Submariner "homage" watches were being produced and sold at the same time.
To conclude the similarities, we have TC and Ginault showing similar writing and photography style, and a similar looking desk.
Both TC and Ginault have their “own” movements – TC 2824 and Ginault cal. 7275, both a clone of ETA’s cal. 2824. TC and Ginault are both specific about having the H4 cannon pinion in their movements, and these movements both have a non-standard Chinese shock-absorber.
The bezels on TC’s counterfeit Rolex Submariner and Ginault’s Submariner homage are broached, and described in a similar manner – mentioning gunsmiths.
TC and Ginault both claim their dials are made by a British dial maker, Ginault claims his British dial maker is a master dial maker who previously specialised in dial production for a well-known Swiss company. TC claims that he suspects his British dial maker to be a rogue Rolex dial maker.
And finally, TC and Ginault packs and ships their watches in the same way – protective stickers and plastic wrapping. We also saw their claims of their watches being “hand built” and both of their watches come with timing cards, and from TC's timing cards, we saw that counterfeit Submariners and Ginault-branded watches were produced and sold at the same time.
Isn’t it so interesting how these allegedly two different people share so much in common? So much that one of them has denied being the other.
All of those similarities and Ginault has gotten away by claiming it’s all just coincidences.
Now I didn’t make you read all of this just to point out similarities that may have been already pointed out or whispered in the past – the same similarities that Ginault brushed off as mere coincidences.
I’m here to give you more information, and concrete proof that TC is Ginault and Ginault is TC.
Let’s go back to those dials posted by “Ginault” and “TC” that they both say were made by a British dial maker.
Pay attention to Ginault‘s movement holder.
And now let’s look at TC‘s movement holder.
Let’s compare Ginault and TC's movement holders.
Brand new movement holders do not come with dents like that, and even so, the chances of two completely different holders having the exact same dents are probably one-in-a-billion.
Let’s look at the dents closer.
This is a .gif image. If it’s not animating for you, click here.
You’re seeing the same exact movement holder in the photos posted, years apart, by “TC” and “Ginault”.
It’s the same exact dents, two peaks in the same location.
They look sharper in TC’s photos as the photos are from 2014, over the years the dents in the soft metal got rounded off which is evident in Ginault’s photos from 2016.
This is undeniable and can’t be brushed off as “just a concidence”.
Remember when I talked about digital forensics?
That wasn’t for nothing.
Exifinfo.org is an independent website that offers a free exif/metadata viewer service online.
This site gives you two options for image uploads – uploading the image from your device or uploading the image using its url.
In this case, I’ll be using the latter option for transparency.
I’ll upload the photos using their direct urls taken from the archived posts on web.archive.org and watchuseek.com – as-is and unmodified.
Let’s take a couple of photos posted by TC from his archived post introducing the “V7” on tc-sub.com, and a couple of photos posted by Ginault in his thread on watchuseek.com introducing the Ocean-Rover and examine them.
Starting with TC:
I took four photos from an archived copy of tc-sub.com and used their direct urls to upload them to exifinfo.org and analyse them. Below are the results:
Now we see the embedded and hidden metadata in TC‘s photos revealed.
I highlighted two areas, “FUJIFILM X-T1” which is the camera, and “51076577” which is the camera lens serial number. (The lens is a 50mm Carl Zeiss.)
In all four of TC’s photos, the metadata shows it was all taken by the same camera with the same lens, evident by the serial number.
This establishes the fact that TC has used a Fujifilm X-T1 with a lens that has the serial number “51076577”.
Everyone knows serial numbers are unique, that’s their purpose.
Next, let’s take four photos from Ginault‘s post on watchuseek.com, again I’ll be using their direct urls to upload them to exifinfo.org for analysis.
“Fujifilm X-T1 – Lens Serial Number: 51076577”
And would you look at that. In all four photos posted by Ginault, we see the same camera and lens, and the same serial number in the metadata.
Now this establishes the fact that Ginault is using the same exact camera and lens as TC.
But maybe this is just a fluke… Let’s examine more photos.
Here is another photo from TC‘s V7 blog post:
It looks different, the depth of field looks shallower compared to the previous photos. Let’s analyse the metadata and see what has changed.
“Fujifilm X-T1 – Lens Serial Number: 56A13804”
Interesting. It’s the same camera but we see a different lens serial number.
TC is still using the same Fujifilm X-T1, but he has switched lenses. TC went from using a 50mm lens to a 16mm lens.
TC is still using the same camera but we see a new lens serial number – “56A13804”.
Now let’s analyse the other photos posted by Ginault in his thread on watchuseek.com:
The depth of field in these other photos by Ginault look shallower too. Again, let’s see what has changed.
“Fujifilm X-T1 – Lens Serial Number: 56A13804”
Just like TC, Ginault has switched camera lenses too. Ginault went from a 50mm to a 16mm while still using the same Fujifilm X-T1 camera.
Again this is not a coincidence. This is concrete proof.
“TC” and “Ginault” have used the same exact Fujifilm X-T1 camera and two lenses with the serial numbers 51076577 and 56A13804.
Digital forensics do not lie, plenty of people have been jailed using this type of evidence.
I highly suggest that you verify the EXIF data yourself.
Here are the sources:
tc-sub.com – Archived
You can copy the image urls or save the images directly and check the EXIF data on any EXIF viewer you like.
Remember Allan Kuefer?
2010 was the last time we heard from Allan Kuefer. And in a post from 2011 by Ginault, he claims to have “bought out” the shares to Allan’s non-existent company listed with a fake address – Kuefer Uhren AG.
As mentioned ealier, Allan Kuefer had a website – allankuefer.com.
It’s now defunct but “Allan” posted photos on his site too, and it was archived on web.archive.org.
Let’s analyse these photos.
“Canon EOS 50D – Serial Number: 1720706112”
“Lens Interial Serial Number: P0733045”
Allan Kuefer’s camera and lens’ serial numbers don’t match the serial numbers that’s been posted earlier.
But remember, Allan’s photos are from 2010. The TC and Ginault photos are from 2016, and the Fujifilm X-T1 was released in 2014. It makes sense that it doesn’t match.
Previously, I have matched Allan‘s serial numbers to Ginault‘s photos from an archived ginault.com but as I’ve said, those archived webpages were removed from web.archive.org due to a request coming from ginault.com. And because of that, I can’t show them to you.
But what we can do now is go to one of the earliest archived posts on TC‘s website.
31 December 2011
posted 18 photos in that post, let’s take three and examine them.
“Canon EOS 50D – Serial Number: 1720706112”
“Lens Interial Serial Number: P0733045”
And it’s a match! The camera and lens used in taking the photos Allan Kuefer posted on 2010 is the same exact camera and lens used in taking the photos TC posted on 2011.
Allan Kuefer, Ginault, and TC – all used the exact same cameras and lenses – evident by all the matching serial numbers.
Now that we have two highly-incriminating and solid pieces of evidence, the same movement holders and matching serial numbers
Let’s have one more piece of evidence before I identify the man behind these identities.
Here are two movement photos.
Can you guess which one is the Ginault Ocean-Rover with the Ginault cal. 7275, and which one is the counterfeit Rolex Submariner – TC V7 with the TC 2824?
It’s impossible to tell from those photos.
Viewed from the back, the TC V7 and Ginault Ocean-Rover is 100% identical.
To say finding that TC V7 photo was difficult is an understatement. The source of the TC V7 photo is from a listing of it on a watch forum:
And I lifted the Ginault photo from a forum post by hwa, a user on watchuseek.com:
Let’s examine these watches, one sold as a counterfeit Rolex Submariner, and the other sold as a Submariner “homage”.
The machining is identical on both. Same cut-out positions, same dimensions, same everything.
It’s the exact same case, movement, and brass movement holder.
Now the movements.
I found a photo of TC’s “TC 2824” from the listing of pompompourin, a user on a replica watch forum, and he claims it was taken from a TC V7. The photo of the
was posted by Ginault himself.
It’s the same exact movement. We see the same exact type of mechanical finishing, and the same exact shock-absorber that “Ginault” and “TC” highlighted.
Keep in mind, “Ginault” touts his movement as if it were in-house, and boasting about it being “American-made”.
(You can read more about this movement in the update posted at the end of this exposé.)
There’s just no denying this now. This is where it all collapses for “Ginault”.
To summarise, TC and Ginault use the same exact camera and lenses, evident by the same serial numbers seen in the EXIF data.
TC and Ginault uses the same exact movement holder evident by the same exact dents on it.
And TC and Ginault have been selling watches with the same exact case, movement, and brass movement holder.
“Ginault” has deceived the public and his customers, and not only that, he has committed a multitude of crimes running his highly-organised illegal counterfeiting operation.
Identifying Ginault and TC
Starting with Ginault, let’s see who registered the trademark “Ginault” – assigned with the serial number “87120625”.
According to the public records from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, an application for a trademark was filed on 29 July 2016 and it was successfully registered on 21 March 2017.
We see the trademark certificate but who filed the application for Ginault?
Here’s the application from 29 July 2016.
Again, this is all public record. This document can be viewed in full from the USPTO’s website here.
We see a “Ginault LLC” with the address of “Box 625 43575 Mission Blvd. Fremont, California 94539”.
But the most important part of this document is who signed it:
“Tsung Chun Chi”
Finally, an actual verifiable name. From the USPTO documents we saw a “Ginault LLC” registered in Nevada listed, let’s verify that now.
Here we have a Ginault LLC with the assigned entity number “E0057552010-8”, and it was filed on 29 February 2010.
Looking at the listed officers, we only see “Lonestar Capital Management”.
But ticking the “Include Inactive Officers” checkbox we see a “Tsung Chi” revealed – the same Tsung Chi who filed the trademark for Ginault.
So listed as the sole officer for Ginault LLC is Tsung Chi prior to its transfer to a management firm.
This is likely because Tsung Chi is trying to cover up his trail, unless you do an in-depth research, you’ll only see “Lonestar Capital Management”.
The name “Charles Ginault” is not seen in any legal documents pertaining to Ginault and Ginault LLC, we only see the name “Tsung Chi"
And being that Tsung Chi signed and filed the trademark application for Ginault, and Tsung Chi is listed as the sole officer before Ginault LLC was transferred to a management firm, we can conclude that Tsung Chi is most likely the man who originally started Ginault.
Now that we’ve identified who is behind Ginault – Tsung Chi, let’s identify who is behind this Thomas Caddell identity.
A man like Thomas Caddell – TC would’ve definitely covered his tracks and would be difficult to find, right?
Let’s go back to checking website records.
“Katherine Lee” and “TC SUB LLC”
We see that tc-sub.com was bought and registered on 20 November 2012 by a Katherine Lee but I highly doubt this specific Katherine Lee exists. And I’ve also found no record of a “TC SUB LLC” registered in the US.
Obviously, someone involved in a highly-organised illegal counterfeiting operation wouldn’t use their real identity and wouldn’t register an LLC for it.
“Thomas Caddell” covered his tracks well but not well enough – he made a huge mistake in the past.
You see, “tc-sub.com” isn’t the only domain he bought. From my research, I’ve found that he bought other domains in the past too.
One being tcwatchparts.com, which was registered on 24 September 2012.
“43575 Mission Blvd. Box 618 Fremont, California 94539”
Again, just like “Katherine Lee”, Thomas Caddell is a false identity. But that address is real and has been used by TC, more on this address later.
Interestingly, a tc-watch-parts.com, note the d-a-s-h-e-s, was also bought and registered on the same date, 24 September 2012 but not by a “Thomas Caddell”.
Address has been redacted in order for me to be able to post this write-up on reddit.
Here see we an interesting name “Charles Chi” – not Thomas Caddell, not Charles Ginault, nor Tsung Chi.
We see Charles Chi has bought and registered tc-watch-parts.com on 24 September 2012 with the email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is his mistake. “tc-watch-parts.com” was carelessly registered with the wrong identity – Charles Chi with the email [email protected] instead of “Thomas Caddell”.
He probably realised this incriminating mistake which is why tcwatchparts.com, without dashes, was also bought and registered on that same day with the “right” identity – Thomas Caddell, and not “Charles Chi”.
But ultimately, both tcwatchparts.com and tc-watch-parts.com were never used, TC likely considered them tainted. A month later, on 20 November 2012, we saw that a “Katherine Lee” bought and registered tc-sub.com, the domain TC opted to use instead.
The other registered domains are interesting. Including tc-watch-parts.com, we saw that he registered a total of four domains using the name Charles Chi.
On 19 March 2007, he registered charlesginault.com with the email [email protected].
On 20 August 2012, he registered ginault.info and ginault.net – both with the email [email protected].
And as mentioned earlier, on 24 September 2012 he registered tc-watch-parts.com with the email [email protected]. Highly incriminating.
All four domains were registered and bought by “Charles Chi”, and all of them have the same California address and email address – [email protected] listed. Except for one, charlesginault.com which lists [email protected] instead.
Let’s go back to the information listed for tcwatchparts.com, registered on 24 September 2012.
“43575 Mission Blvd. Box 618 Fremont, California 94539”
Hmm, that looks familiar…
“Box 625 43575 Mission Blvd. Fremont, California 94539”
As we can see from Ginault‘s trademark certificate from 2017, Ginault has the same address as TC.
Well, almost the exact same address. “Ginault” is at #625 while TC is at #618.
Looking up the full address shows an “Aria Printing” at that location.
And looking at their website, it shows that they offer “mailbox services”.
On their website, they also show a photo of the inside of their business.
What’s interesting is that this means TC at #618 is only a few boxes away from “Ginault” at #625.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, archived ginault.com webpages were removed but from my earlier research, I saw Ginault had listed #613 as his box number on ginault.com, which is just five boxes away from TC.
Digging further, I found that “International Precision” is listed at the same address, International Precision is quite interesting too, there'll be more on them later.
And as you may have noticed at the top it says “Warning: This profiles contains records that have been removed from public view per our opt-out policy.”.
That wasn’t there when I started my research, it’s new. Someone has really caught wind of me and is trying to hide something…
Here’s the current “Key People” for International Precision.
Someone has been removed and that someone is Tsung Chi.
Here’s an archived version of Tsung Chi‘s page prior to it being removed.
We see a Tsung Chi again, now linked to International Precision which has the same address as Ginault and TC. Tsung Chi is definitely our guy.
Tsung Chi is Thomas Caddell.
And here’s the undeniable piece of evidence.
Do you see it? Tsung Chi has slipped up. Let’s look closer.
Now you see it.
In the screencap Tsung Chi publicly posted on Facebook, we see Tsung Chi logged in to “[email protected]”.
As you remember, “tc670207” is Thomas Caddell’s username on the various replica forums he was a member of.
“[email protected]” is the email he used to communicate under the Thomas Caddell identity, we can even see Tsung Chi signed in to his Google Plus account.
“WM9 Stock Order” – WM9 stands for Watchmaker 9, another producer of Rolex counterfeits. This was in 2012, Tsung Chi had WM9 as one his parts suppliers for the counterfeit Rolex watches he sold under the Thomas Caddell identity at that time.
And the façade crumbles.
Tsung Chi’s public Facebook photos
Tsung Chun Chi is of Taiwanese-descent, his US citizenship and immigration status is currently unknown.
Now that we know Tsung Chi is “Thomas Caddell” and “Charles Ginault”, let’s have some more evidence.
Going back to the domain registration data we see that all four domains, including charlesginault.com show the same address.
Again, the address has been redacted in order for me to be able to post this on reddit.
And here it is on Google’s Street View.
Looking at other posts Tsung Chi
publicly posted on Facebook, we see that he posted a photo of the exact same house.
“Charles Ginault” and “Thomas Caddell” shared the same addresses, same emails, same cameras, same lenses, same serial numbers and it all leads back to Tsung Chi.
It’s truly undeniable now. Tsung Chi is Charles Ginault and Thomas Caddell. Both are Tsung Chi’s false identities.
But this is not where this ends.
Remember the Photobucket account of “Thomas Caddell“, who we now know is Tsung Chi?
“Airplane parts maker”
It turns out International Precision is a manufacturer of airplane parts with Lockheed Martin being one of their biggest clients.
International Precision, with the CAGE Code “3H683”, has won over $38M USD in government contracts in the span of 18 years.
As we’ve seen earlier, International Precision is registered in California but I’ve found that it’s also registered in Wyoming.
Note that this government website only generates one-time download links for the pdf files seen above and because of that, I'm unable to link the documents directly to you, you'll have to go to the website and download them yourself. Underneath the cited documents are their filenames on this website.
Let’s look at these publicly-available legal documents.
This legal document shows that International Precision was incorporated on 3 February 2018 by a “Chris TC Vail” with the address “43575 mission blvd. ca 94539”.
Again we see the same address Tsung Chi used for the Ginault and Thomas Caddell identities, the interesting part here is the initials in between Chris Vail – TC, and the email listed – [email protected].
Looking at other public and legal records we see Renee Konrad listed as the president, which matches International Precisions’s registration in California.
Though this is a publicly-available legal document, I have redacted an address to be able to post this on reddit.
But we also see a CMSgt. Bo listed as the secretary and Doc Vail as the treasurer, both of them are well-known over at WatchUSeek.com.
Doc Vail – Chris Vail has his own watch company – “NTH by Janis Trading”.
And CMSgt. Bo – Brad Bokkean is an administrator at WatchUSeek.com, the same forum Ginault sponsors and Brad Bokkean claims that he represents the owner of WatchUSeek.
Here is the second page of the Articles of Incorporation of International Precision:
We see that it’s an electronic filing and that the email used to sign this legal document is [email protected] We see Mr. Tsung Chi again.
With these legal documents it appears that Tsung Chi is business partners with a WatchUSeek administrator – CMSgt. Bo, and Chris “Doc” Vail of NTH.
The question is, why is Tsung Chi hiding behind an alias – signing the Articles of Incorporation with his email but under the name Chris TC Vail?
Are they trying to hide this?
Is this also the reason why CMSgt. Bo has been actively defending “Ginault” from being linked to “Thomas Caddell” on watchuseek.com?
I don’t know. But what I do know is that we see from legal documents from Wyoming's Secretary of State that CMSgt. Bo and Chris Vail are both undisclosed business partners of Tsung Chi – the same Tsung Chi behind Ginault and Thomas Caddell.
(This is where this write-up deviates from the original write-up which was originally published on Wordpress but it was taken down)
After publishing the original write-up, Chris Vail has denied having any involvement and connections to Ginault and Tsung Chi. Chris Vail has also talked about this write-up being libel.
Brad Bokkean has said this on TRF and not on watchuseek.com: "You had me right up until you tried to implicate me and another WUS member in this global conspiracy. You're either not doing your due diligence very well or you are intentionally defaming me and Mr Vail,"
Pointing out and questioning what's on publicly-available legal documents is not libel nor defamation, it would be, if I falsified those documents or the documents purely just didn't exist.
But they do exist, and apart from highlighting areas, they weren't modified by me.
According to the legal documents on this government website:
International Precision, Inc. was incorporated in Wyoming via electronic filing, and it shows "Chris Vail", not a forum name, with the address "43575 mission blvd. ca 94539” as the sole incorporator. We also saw that these legal documents were signed with the name "chris vail" and email "[email protected]"
If this filing turns out to be fraudulent, whoever filed it is looking at a felony with up to two years in prison.
Now here's something about CMSgt Bo - Chief Master Sergeant Peter Bradley Bokkean, he is a retired United States Air Force NCO.
International Precision, Inc. is an airplane parts manufacturer, and as we've seen, they've won over $38M in government contracts over 18 years, supplying big names like Lockheed Martin.
Here is another question regarding all of this:
If Tsung Chi is having watch parts made in the United States at International Precision, is it possible that Chris "Doc" Vail, having his own watch brand - NTH, is getting watch parts manufactured at International Precision too/ is he being supplied by Tsung Chi with parts made to his specifications?
And back to the original write-up:
Tsung Chi is behind the Charles Ginault and Thomas Caddell identity.
We’ve seen the same cameras, lenses, and matching serial numbers. We’ve seen the domain registration data and matching addresses. We’ve seen the watches sold with the same cases and movements under both identities. And we’ve seen the crucial piece of evidence linking the highly-organised illegal counterfeiting operation back to Tsung Chi – his own Facebook post.
Tsung Chi has deceived the public and his customers and it’s truly disgraceful. His vehement denials and lies worked for quite some time but they won’t work now, the dots have been connected.
Tsung Chi started Ginault under the Charles Ginault identity which went quiet during 2011-2016, the same time where Tsung Chi’s other identity, Thomas Caddell, was running a highly-organised illegal counterfeiting operation, producing and selling counterfeit Rolex watches and parts.
During these years Tsung Chi gained experience, and connections to manufacturers in the watch industry, with that and the know-how learned and money earned from selling illegal counterfeits, Tsung Chi decided to restart his old brand, Ginault. Releasing the “Ocean-Rover” watch which uses the same case and movement Tsung Chi used for the counterfeit Rolex Submariners he sold.
5 July 2019:
I have been given "Thomas Caddell's" payment instructions and banking details from 2014. I have redacted portions that identify my source.
This email is from "[email protected]", and we can see that the $625,35 USD payment is for a "TC 16610 LV with TC 2824.
This Citibank account has the account name of "International Precision Inc." With the account number "204487508". TC also wants the check to have the address of a "Citi Bank Fremont".
So this is another piece linking Tsung Chi to International Precision.
With the instructions from "Thomas Caddell", who we now know is Tsung Chi, my source has sent money to this "International Precision Inc." bank account, and in exchange, my source has received a counterfeit Rolex Submariner watch.
This means that this bank account was active at that time, and was either under the control of Tsung Chi or someone connected to him.
This also again brings International Precision's filing in Wyoming from 2018 into question. What was the purpose of it?
From a layman's point of view, International Precision, Inc. is an aircraft parts manufacturer. No one would suspect it and it is not seen as a watch parts manufacturer or even being in the watch industry.
So why would Chris "Doc" Vail and CMSgt. Bo - Peter Bradley Bokkean be named in the legal documents pertaining to International Precision, Inc.?
If I hadn't uncovered this filing it would've remained being under the radar since its filing on 3 February 2018.
And something else to note is that CMSgt. Bo - Peter Bradley Bokkean has retired from the United States Air Force.
Back to TC's payment details.
Apart from bank transfer, TC had two other payment options available - PayPal and Western Union.
We've already covered TC's banking details but his Western Union payment details were also posted on a replica watch forum in the past by someone who wanted to verify the information before he sent over his money to him. We don't actually see the information as it has been removed.
This user was scolded and chastised by both regular forum members and a forum administrator which you can see here:
"Ginault" has finally responded with denials in a private message sent to watchuseek.com forum user acheongtk, acheongtk reposted it on the forum:
"I've actually reached out to John and this is his reply.
Ye we read his post. His claims are utterly untrue and largely fabricated, damages are done.
Anyone can use any (pseudo) name to purchase/register a domain. Anyone can use any name to register companies. Anyone with photoshop skills can fake those picture evidence. Notice how he conveniently left out the original sources on the most important pictures. Why?
We strongly urge the community to not fall for this smear campaign. This attack is obviously long-planned.
90% of the ORII parts are completed, and we are waiting on the final few moving parts to arrive. We should be able to show some pictures of the ORII in a month plus."
Note "largely fabricated". Care to point out what I have fabricated, Mr. Tsung Chi? My write-up is the product of OSINT - Open Source Intelligence, the beauty of it is that it's all publicly available information which anyone can verify. If I have made any false statements I would've been called out on it by now.
And I have provided all the sources where possible, including live and archived versions. So please do point out which photos I have photoshopped. All the analysed photos were taken directly from the source, and have been posted without modifications aside from highlighting and annotating areas.
All the sources are there, so if anyone wants to prove that I falsfied things, please do so. Expose me and go prove it with proof and not with just bare and general statements of "it's photoshopped, it's all hearsay, it's baseless".
Where's Mr. “““Charles Ginault””” and why isn't he making any statements?
End of update.
10 July 2019
Some additional information:
Tsung Chi in 2013 has casually mentioned this on his website when he wrote about his one of suppliers:
“My dial maker set up a meeting for me with a very successful rep maker and once a client of hers. She sold a couple of her most talented girls to this man helping him making rep dials.”
From Tsung Chi’s own writing, it appears that one of his suppliers of counterfeit Rolex dials SOLD human beings to a different counterfeit producer who Tsung Chi hoped could produce more counterfeit Rolex dials for him, and Tsung Chi even had dinner with him trying to close a deal with a man who appears to have bought human beings.
If I am reading that right, that's a case of human trafficking. This is truly appalling and despicable. These are human beings we're talking about now and not just counterfeiting.
(Do note that this Chinese supplier from 2013 is different from Tsung Chi's British dial supplier Tsung talked about in 2014.)
There’s also this post from 2016:
"If there's something you or the syndicate behind you need, that I can provide, you let me know.”
Tsung Chi was desperately trying to get another different counterfeit producer to produce more counterfeit Rolex Yacht-Masters for him, and it seems that Tsung Chi was willing to do almost anything for this counterfeit producer and the “syndicate” behind him.
People who engage in human trafficking, and people in syndicates. These are the type of people Tsung Chi associates with and uses as his own suppliers.
Now regarding when Tsung Chi stopped selling counterfeits and whether or not he sold under both identities at the same time.
It’s unclear when he stopped or if he even truly stopped selling counterfeit Rolex watches and parts. I’m going to preface this by reminding you that Tsung Chi restarted Ginault on December 2016, the same brand he funded with the money he made from selling illegal counterfeit products.
So by December 2016, the Ginault brand was already active, and at that time, Tsung Chi did not stop selling counterfeits under the Thomas Caddell identity at all.
In posts from 2017, we can see users from a replica watch forum writing about their success in placing an order with “Thomas Caddell”
The third post is from 9 March 2017 and Ginault was already actively selling watches at the time. This means that yes, Tsung Chi did sell under the Thomas Caddell identity and Charles Ginault identity at the same time.
And here's a post from 2 May 2017 from a user who has posted that he has finally received his counterfeit watch from Tsung Chi, you can also see that the timing card is stamped 23 March 2017.
I'm going to address my anonymity. It doesn't matter if I attach a name to this exposé or not. The evidence I've posted stand on their own. All the sources are there, all it would take for you to verify them is to click the links. Nobody has been able to disprove any of the evidence I’ve posted. All I've received are ad-hominem attacks that doesn't disprove any of this.
I hate deception. Prior to this, I've exposed a £135k fraud that involves four counterfeit Rolex watches which includes a "TC Submariner". So no, I am not a "competitor", I'm not even in the watch industry. This is also not guerilla marketing, I have no underlying motives, and I am not being paid nor have I been paid for any of this.
Here's a question for the people who have corresponded with "John McMurtry" and "Charles Ginault", have any of you seen their faces? Met them in real life? Any photos of them at all? Have you seen any proof of them actually existing outside of the emails you've received from "them"?
I know your answer to that is "no". Because they're fictitious people and they only exist in Tsung Chi's imagination.
And today, 10 July 2019, makes it a week since I've published my exposé on Ginault and so far, Ginault has not made any public statements at all regarding any of this.
Interestingly though, if you search for "Ginault" on Google and filter the search results to “past 24 hours”, you'll see newly-created spammy, incoherrent results. This is due to hostile SEO tactics.
Someone's trying to bury this story.
And also, in the past, when you search Google for this very exposé you'll find a direct search result linking to it but now it's gone, all you'll find in the results are forum threads referencing this. Someone doesn't want this information out there.
Watch reviewers on YouTube like Bark and Jack have begun pulling their videos about Ginault from their channels. Some other reviewers also have made statements regarding this. And it appears that they do not want to be associated with Ginault anymore.
But do note that some of these reviewers did receive the Ginault watches for free to review, and giveaway.
End of update.
12 July 2019
Due to the length of this write-up, there were some information that has not been published.
From my research, I've found International Precision Inc. is/was registered in three states - California, Wyoming, and Nevada.
The filings in California and Wyoming both list the same president - Renee Brendel-Konrad, and the Nevada filing shows Lisa Brendel as the president of International Precision Inc., though this entity now has the status of "dissolved". I have verified Renee and Lisa's existence, and they appear to be related.
A reminder, the Articles of Incorporation for International Precision Inc. in Wyoming shows that it was electronically filed and signed by a “Chris TC Vail” with the email "[email protected]". If you remember, the trademark application for Ginault was filed and signed by a “Tsung Chun Chi”, and the Ginault LLC listing in Nevada shows Tsung Chi was the sole officer of Ginault prior to its transfer to a management firm.
The interesting part here is that Tsung Chi's Ginault LLC also shares the same registered agent as the International Precision Inc registered in Nevada. And again we know from the questionable filing of International Precision Inc in Wyoming that it was signed with the email [email protected] And as mentioned earlier, "Thomas Caddell", who we now know is Tsung Chi, was in control of a bank account under the name International Precision Inc., this is where Tsung Chi received the payments for counterfeits he sold.
The International Precision Inc from California shows that it was registered in 1969 but it's unclear if they've been continuously active or if there were years where they ceased operations.
And here's something interesting from Ginault's Instagram page:
12 July 2019, 12:27
Regarding the movement, the TC 2824 and the Ginault 7275 are exactly the same.
The actual country of origin of this clone movement is unclear but from the posts written by Tsung Chi on his website, we can learn a bit more about it.
Now let me preface this by saying Tsung Chi was selling his counterfeit Rolex Submariners and Yacht-Masters powered by this clone movement way before Tsung Chi started selling Ginault Ocean-Rovers equipped with them.
The first appearance of the "TC 2824" on Tsung Chi's website was on 6 February 2013 in a post where he calls it an "ETA 2824-2 Super Clone". And we can see that the movement is brass-coloured.
Note that Tsung Chi talks about someone else producing this clone movement.
Now this clone movement is what Tsung Chi used for his watches but he also sold this movement separately for $130 USD each.
He writes about receiving a "pilot batch" from the "maker" which means Tsung Chi did not produce this movement at all, and in the same post, Tsung Chi offers it wholesale to anyone who's interested. Also note that Tsung Chi mentions that the manufacturer doesn't want this movement “associated with reps”, more on that later.
Again, this clone movement made by an unnamed manufacturer is what Tsung Chi used to power all the counterfeit watches he produced and sold over the years, and some time during all of this, whoever was supplying Tsung Chi with these clone movements plated the movement plates, bridges, and rotor, this is evident by it all being silver-coloured now.
And the first time we see a photo of this silver-coloured "TC 2824" is on 5 August 2015 which is sixteen whole months prior to the introduction of the Ginault Ocean-Rover in December 2016.
And from then on, all the counterfeit watches produced by Tsung Chi under the TC/Thomas Caddell identity started using this silver-coloured ”TC 2824”.
Now remember how Tsung Chi mentioned that the “maker” of this clone movement doesn't want this to be ”associated with reps”?
Well, in the same post where Tsung Chi introduced this counterfeit Yacht-Master, Tsung also wrote about how he got the owner of the factory to produce these counterfeit Yacht-Masters for him. He brokered a deal with the Chinese owner of this factory and his supplier of clone movements.
While it's unclear where these clone movements are from, Tsung Chi and “Ginault” definitely did not make them. Tsung Chi is merely a customer being supplied with these clone movements by an unnamed manufacturer from an unknown country.
But as I have written earlier, in a post from 2014 where Tsung Chi introduced the "TC Submariner V6” which also uses this exact same clone movement, Tsung Chi claims he met the “TC 2824 maker” at EPHJ in 2014 but Tsung Chi did not specify what country this “maker” is from.
We know from the analysis earlier that the Ginault Ocean-Rover uses the exact same case, movement, and movement holder as the counterfeit TC V7. Here are the movements again:
Now here's a question.
“Ginault” claims that the “Ginault cal. 7275” is a movement they've “built” in America, and that it uses a proprietary alloy called “GC31” for the gears.
If that is true and Ginault is truly not connected to Tsung Chi whatsoever, how come Tsung Chi had access to their Ginault cal. 7275 that Tsung used for his counterfeits he produced and sold a whole year and four months before the Ginault Ocean-Rover was introduced?
All of “Ginault”'s claims about this movement is highly suspicious. There's zero photos of it being machined, built, or assembled. Zero.
Let's say you're a watchmaker and that except for a few parts, you've manufactured and assembled what would be considered an American-made watch movement. Wouldn't you be proud of your achievement? Wouldn't you show-off your facilities and prove that it's being made, assembled, and regulated in America? Wouldn't you at least show photos of maybe some gears being made with your so-called proprietary “GC31” alloy?
Let's compare Ginault to Nicholas Hacko, both of these brands claim to have created and built their own watches and movements in their own countries - the United States, and Australia.
From what I know, the Hacko family has produced “the first and only watch manufactured in Australia”. And they've documented this completely, posting photos of watch cases and movement plates being machined, gears being cut, movements being assembled - all in Australia. And a nice thing about the Hacko-made movement is that they're so proud of it being made in Australia that they've customised it with an engraving they call “Opera House Waves”, and it's also engraved “Manufactured in Australia”.
But the most important thing about them is how transparent they are, there are faces behind their names, you can meet them and the watchmakers, and interact with them. Now I don't want to sound like a shill because I am not shilling them, I'm only telling you this to show the stark contrast between them and Ginault.
With Ginault, there's none of this.
There's no photos of anything being assembled, and no photos of any of the movements parts being machined, which is odd as Ginault especially claims that the movement is “American-cut”. There's not a single stamp nor any markings on Ginault's cal. 7275. For a custom watch movement, it's truly bland, and it's also completely unsigned.
And nobody has met nor seen Charles Ginault, John McMurtry, or anyone else connected to Ginault, and the only address they have is a registered mailbox in a print shop.
The reason why Tsung Chi cannot produce these type of photos, and why the Ginault cal. 7275 is so bland is because Tsung Chi is simply a customer being supplied movements by an unnamed movement manufacturer from an unknown country.
Now let's go back to the watch cases.
Again, Ginault claims that they machine the watch cases on their own, and with that we can assume that they've “designed” this case and obviously programmed the machines for the tool paths and everything else involved in manufacturing these watch cases.
Here's the question, why would a custom and independently-produced watch case use a brass movement holder?
Being that Ginault claims that the Ginault cal. 7275 is “their” own movement, why didn't they design and machine their own cases to house their own movement perfectly? Why use a brass movement holder?
The answer? It's because it's the same case Tsung Chi used for the counterfeit Submariners he sold, Tsung Chi just re-used the cases for the Ginault Ocean-Rover. Tsung Chi's goal was to have the cases “gen-spec”. The cases Tsung Chi use are designed to house a Rolex cal. 3135 movement, and an ETA 2824-shaped movement wouldn't fit properly without the brass movement holder. This is because the brass movement holder is a ring with its outer dimensions being the same as a Rolex cal. 3135.
Here is Tsung Chi's post from 2012 advertising the same exact brass movement holder found inside the TC V7 and Ginault Ocean-Rover.
In the £135k fraud case I've exposed prior to this, one out of the four counterfeits involved was a TC Submariner which had the ETA 2824 clone movement replaced with a genuine Rolex cal. 3135 movement. Below you can see the listing of the exact watch the fraudster bought and knowingly misrepresented as a genuine watch, and he also had the serial numbers re-engraved.
You can see the Rolex cal. 3135 movement fitting perfectly inside Tsung Chi's counterfeit Submariner case.
And there's also these two users from a different replica watch forum posting about their ”TC Submariners” housing a clone of Rolex's cal. 3135 movement . Being that these clone movements are an illegal copy of Rolex's cal. 3135, they have the same dimensions as the real thing, which is why they also fit perfectly inside Tsung Chi's counterfeit case.
Today is day 9. “Ginault” has still not published any public statements about this.
I have received messages from people who pre-ordered watches from Ginault, and they are telling me that they've requested their refunds. Publicly, there's also some people on forums who have posted about getting their refunds from Ginault.
End of update.
Some other interesting points:
International Precision – Were their facilities used to make counterfeit Rolex parts?
CMSgt Bo and Chris Vail – Do they have any idea about Tsung Chi’s illegal past?
The British dial maker – Tsung Chi mentioned in the introduction of the Ginault Ocean-Rover that his dials are made by a dial maker who did work specialising in dial production for a well-known Swiss company and under the Thomas Caddell identity, Tsung Chi mentions that he suspects his supplier of counterfeit dials dial is a rogue Rolex dial maker, this is one more thing the authorities should look into.
Forums – Ginault was heavily defended at WatchUSeek, and on replica watch forums like RWI, his section was removed from existence and many posts regarding “TC” are now missing.
Tsung Chi’s movements – Tsung Chi claims they’re American-made both under the TC and GInault identity and as we’ve seen, it’s the exact same movement Tsung Chi used in his counterfeit Rolex watches. Has “Ginault” been falsely-advertising the nature of the Ginault cal. 7275?
John McMurty – This is one of the aliases connected to Ginault the brand, interestingly enough Tsung Chun Chi’s current Facebook name is John Tsung Chi.
We’ve seen Tsung Chi lie about Ginault not being Thomas Caddell so what else has he lied about?
I’d like to sincerely thank you for reading and making it this far, I know it was quite a long write-up but I’ve tried to make it as short as possible. I hope that my write-up has removed the proverbial wool over your eyes.
If you’d like to get in touch with me – deepdweller [at] tutanota com.
If you’d like to read other watch-related exposés, prior to this I have exposed a
British Lithuanian ex-Harlequins rugby player and his £135k fraud involving four fake Rolex watches which includes a TC Submariner sold as a genuine watch, tracking him back to the same RWI replica watch forum and his other false identities back to him. It’s up here on TRF. Thanks again.
3 July 2019, 17:25:
The thread I created a few hours ago about this on watchuseek.com was removed within minutes. And now, I am now banned from watchuseek.com and wasn’t given any reason.
I also would like to share this with you, I didn’t know how to make it fit in this article.
But here is Tsung Chi in a post from 2013, sort of foreshadowing the future.
“I would rather go legit than worry about being caught everyday”
I guess that day has come, Tsung Chi.