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greg_r

The Rep Watch Fora: A History of RWG and those who came before...

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greg_r

The history of the rep watch boards is a surprisingly complex one. Some years ago in response to some less than kind comments heard from another source I put together a post covering some of the history of our own board, but it really only covered recent events and, in any case, wasn’t intended to be taken too seriously - its primary purposes were to amuse some and irritate others ;)

Time, however, to put that right.

We are immensely fortunate to have several members here who were in at the start. This post is largely constructed from information provided by these guys - notably Offshore, Baldrick & Vilan - but includes material from other sources including my own experiences, the latter being that relating to more recent events post 2007. Whilst I do not intend to dig out all of the skeletons from their closets (and believe me, there have been quite a few - the rep boards seem to have a talent for controversy, petty fraud and general asshattery), this is a serious attempt at a fairly accurate history of the main events as they occurred. If I’ve mis-interpreted any details I apologise, the inaccuracies are entirely mine. If those who were there at the time would like to PM me with any corrections, I will gladly modify this post accordingly as and when I have time.

Anyhow, without further ado - this is the history of RWG and the boards that preceded it.
 

* * *

 

In The Beginning

Back in the late nineties, there were relatively few sources of rep watches by comparison with today. In 1999 the only replica watch site around had been a chat board called ‘World of Watches’ which was mostly populated by scammers.

Most of us who were buying reps at that time were going to places such as Canal Street in New York or Camden Market in London in the hope of finding a trader who had a few interesting watches hidden away. Online purchasing was risky - there were a few on eBay, but as still is the case, it was easy to get scammed. In 1999 the best place to buy a rep online - at least for US buyers - was Yahoo Auctions. Vilan (who is a member here and is the source for much of this part of the story) struck up an email relationship with a replica dealer/collector named Andreas, who was a Russian living in New York. Andreas was selling the best of what was available then (a much more limited selection than nowadays) and Vilan suggested to him that it might be a good idea to set up a website where dealers and collectors could get together and discuss watches.

The new site started by Andreas and Vilan was ‘Replica Watch Collector’s Club (RWCC)’ and was the the first proper rep watch forum established. It attracted a large number of visitors, but was not strictly moderated and soon turned into chaos - Andreas asked for help and a guy called Thomas (of whom more later) became the admin, Andreas eventually losing interest and leaving. The board later ran into problems when members tried to put together a group buy from a dealer called Watch Lover David - this turned into a disaster, which finally led to the closure of the board.

Another forum appeared briefly that copied RWCC’s layout, Replica Watch Guide, founded by TTK (a watch dealer) and Richard Brown, but didn’t last long, and Richard Brown dropped ‘Guide’ from the name when he turned it into a site to promote his book on the replica watch business.

The first of the proper boards.

Following the problems at RWCC, the remaining admin staff struck out on their own and, in 2002, formed another board, TRC - http://www.replicacollector.com (please note that there was a later board by the same name - now deceased - but it had no connection with the original). The original TRC was led by Thomas again (the same Thomas who is now admin at RWGJr/rwg.cc) and was, for many people, the first proper replica forum. Certainly it is the root from which all of the current fora have evolved. It was, until recently, still up as a read-only archive (a fascinating one, too), but sadly the magic smoke seems to have evaporated and currently the site is down. I hope that Thomas finds the time to get it working again as it’s a very interesting slice of history. Anyhow, I digress…

The usurper.

In 2004 a member of TRC who called himself Blade decided that he could do better. He copied TRC’s layout to a large extent and turned it into a new board, Replica Watches Guide (RWG / aka RWG1). This became a very successful board, highly ranked on Internet search engines, and outgrew TRC fairly rapidly. Unfortunately all did not go well as Blade saw potential for making money. A special RWG watch had been designed and planned with a deal put together by forum members.

 

rwg-170613.JPG

 

At some point in the process negotiations for supply broke down and this was the stage at which Blade got involved and handled the financial side. Sadly very few people ever saw their watch or their money as Blade subsequently went missing along with the funds collected (the rumour being that he'd bought himself an Acura with the proceeds). This not only left many people out of pocket, but not inconsequentially also left the board without anyone at the helm. Worse, the staff that remained did not have direct access to the admin control panel, so there was a strict limit to how much they could do to maintain the board or even deal with spammers and other miscreants. One of the moderators - KB - reached out to Thomas (admin of TRC) asking for help and guidance. A new RWG was planned, but setting it up was somewhat complicated by the fact that there was no way to take the original RWG offline as Blade still owned the domain name and controlled the hosting. However, the move went ahead and the new board (Replica Watch Group - known as RWGJr aka rwg.cc) was set up. A large number of members and staff from the original board moved over to the new board and, after some time, it was also decided to turn TRC into a searchable archive - encouraging the membership to move over to the new RWG.

Whilst the above was going on, some other RWG members decided to branch out on their own and form RWI. Later, due to some concerns about the way RWI was being run (by DrmMaster - who later did the same as Blade and disappeared with some members funds - a far too familiar tale), a further split took place in 2007 and formed RepGeek.

Meanwhile, back at RWG:

Meantime, the original RWG (Replica Watches Guide) quietly carried on at its original location. Without admin access to the control panel (for Blade was now long gone), the staff who had moved on were unable to take the site down. Therefore it continued to run with a couple of moderators left and a small core of the original members - plus a steady stream of new members who were still finding the site due to its continued good performance on Google. Both Col (trailboss99) and I were among those new members post split. Whilst a couple of moderators continued at the old site, they didn’t have access to the main control panel so there was little real moderating that they could do. As a result, the forum took on a rather unique flavour; but whilst there was a lot of flaming and generally unsocial behaviour, that was tempered with a great deal of humour, which made the place - at least for those of us who decided to make it home - much more fun than the other boards.

Unfortunately, all good things eventually come to an end and in mid 2008 RWG caught fire, turned turtle and sank without trace. Those of us there at the end were left homeless. A small group of us - led by JohnG, who contacted everyone he could and was almost single-handedly responsible for giving us the impetus to continue - moved en masse over to RWGJr. Contrary to what has been said by certain others, RWGJr did not set us up with our own subforum - we ended up hanging out in their Looney Bin (equivalent to Sec 8 here) in an attempt to allow the humour to continue without getting in the way of RWGJr’s usual denizens any more than we could. It quickly became obvious that we were not going to be able to make ourselves at home there, though - we’d gotten into the habit of being able to threadcrap and generally act cranky, and RWGJr wasn’t set up to expect that. In all honesty, it wouldn’t have been fair to expect them to put up with it.

Meanwhile at around the same time there had been three new fora set up in an attempt to compete with the existing communities. RWS (Replica Watch Scams) was the closest to being successful of the three, but after an early flurry of activity (admittedly mostly created by the admin signing up under various identities and talking to himself) it swiftly died. So, when trailboss99 and I started discussing setting up a replacement for RWG1, we were both unsure whether we would succeed - the circumstances were against us. However, it was clear that our little community (or what was left of it) would soon start drifting apart if we didn’t do something - it was also clear that of the group of RWG denizens left, Col and I were the only two with the necessary experience to get it started again (we'd both been running fora etc. for years) - if we didn't do it, nobody else would. So, in November 2008, we announced that we were going to start RWG up again. We didn’t have access to the old database, so we were going to have to start from scratch, but we figured we’d set the thing up to look and feel as much like the old place as possible and try to keep it lightly moderated so that we wouldn’t lose the rather scatological nature of the forum that had been our internet home.

As with the previous exodus there was another complication too as Blade still owned the replica-watches-guide.com domain name. We therefore decided to set ourselves up at a new address: replica-watch-guide.net. I spent a week or so getting the look and feel as close to the original board as possible - this latter necessity informing our choice of forum software - and on Nov 18 2008 I made the first post on the new RWG. We quietly invited a few established members to come test things out and about a week later announced our presence to the public.

Our appearance was met by a mixture of enthusiasm, disbelief and, in some circles, outrage. The outrage came from a few folks who felt that RWGJr (Replica Watch Group) were the only true inheritors of the original RWG and we were simply wannabes. The truth is, of course, that they were inheritors of both TRC and the original RWG - the latter up to the point where they, quite understandably, jumped ship. The reality was that the board became a very different entity post split and that was where we came in - we were the inheritors of the later, crazier RWG. Both claims valid - the primary difference being that we were taking ourselves a little less seriously that some of the other folks involved. Our considered response was simply to have some fun at their expense, which only increased the outrage ;). It remains a source of amusement that RWGJr. insist upon calling themselves "the original" - uh, sorry guys, but you ain't ;)

Anyhow by Christmas of 2008 we had around 100 members. We did not at that time have a dealer section here - just the trusted list with a handful of links to dealers we knew were okay (Josh, Andrew and a few others). In early March of 2009 I noticed that a dealer that I’d been buying from on iOffer for some time had taken up a section on RepGeek. We’d become fairly friendly so when he found out I was running this place, he decided to join up. His name was Robert (aka PWC). By this time we had about 150 members and things around here were pretty quiet. Robert, though, took a different view - within a couple of weeks of joining up he seemed to be spending most of his spare time hanging out in our shoutbox - he told me that he thought RWG was ‘going to be massive’. I didn’t believe him at the time - having seen two other new boards die the previous year and watching another one slowly decline, I had my doubts. Robert, though, was right. By the end of 2009 we had 1500 members, a brand new dealer section with several great dealers on board (PWC being the first of our replica dealers) and a shiny new dedicated server.

In early 2010 an interesting piece of news came to my attention. Blade had allowed the replica-watches-guide.com domain to lapse. We decided to buy it. Of course, there were other bidders, but it turned out that we wanted it more than they did. A couple of weeks later, we moved web addresses and became replica-watches-guide.com. There have been a couple of other address changes since then for a variety of reasons, but that address continues to direct to this board.

Col is a glutton for punishment… :D

Some while after we got RWG up and running again, RWI found itself unexpectedly in need of a new admin. The previous admin had left under something of a cloud and so they offered the job to trailboss99 (who, as well as being co-founder of this place had also been a stalwart of RWI for some considerable time). Col also remains co-admin / co-owner here, of course (can we say ‘masochism?’ I knew we could ;) ), and since then RWI and RWG have very much become ‘sister’ boards, sharing information and expertise whilst each having their own distinct nature. I think the two boards complement each other very well.

In closing

And so, to close, I know I’ve left out a lot of detail (including the odd minor and short-lived forum here and there plus the whole "where did the hosting money go?" :wheredidthehostingmoneygo: fiasco experienced by one of the other boards), but I hope this post serves to set the record at least reasonably straight about where we came from. All of the current fora - including us - owe their roots to RWCC, TRC and RWG1.

 

 

 

 

 

… but we’re still the best :rofl:

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gran

Important higlights from RWG and TRC days

 

God was TRC booooooooooooooooring at times...unless RWG was down

RWG BLADE is a criminal!!!!!

TRC Thomas is and was way tooo polite and quiet!!

TTK was a destructive genius!!!

klink is a misunderstood genius!!

dlgates was the most friendly and civil member ever!!

Did rya commit suicide!!

How did Andrew become Trusty?

King is a queen or just a lady!!

Jetmid had a Patek and private plane

Rolexaward was banned for being worst dealer ever...

Carzy sales!!Scams?

What happened to Neo? and who was Max?

 

just as a start...

 

 

 

aaaavatarkopi31fz.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

nordsq01.gif

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

skylinegtr.gif

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

rwg1ce8.gif?t=1383066377

Edited by gran

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dingle

interesting

 

:popcorn:

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Wiz

great read, thanks greg!

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KarmaToBurn

Thank you! A very interesting history.

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DG335

Very interesting and always good to know some of the history and context

Thanks

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Hazz

That was a good read,, even if it has made me realise what I have missed out of, by not finding you sooner,

The way the board is run, the decency and friendship of members, Robert (PWC) he knew :)

 

Keep up the good work !

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dalboy

What a great read..!!

 

 

Nice to get some idea of how the board developed into the success its enjoys today, tempered with the hard work and dedication of all those involved..

 

The attitude of moderation in this place i think !! is second to none.

 

Well done all involved, and thanks for giving us a top class forum to enjoy today. :thumbsup: ..

 

 

Thanks Greg for all your tiresome dedication.

 

 

 

Dal.

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elp

+1 ... and your tireless dedication

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Stuvetjee

maybe after the RWG watch, we could make a book called: ''RWG and the tales of topics'' :giggle:

Edited by Stuvetjee

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pickledbeetroot

A very interesting read, nice to know how it all came about. It's a great place to come and buy reps and have a serious degree of safety, so as not to get ripped off. Well worth the VIP membership and more.

 

Well done Greg,

 

 

I bet there's many more "horror stories" than you're telling!! 12E6B426-974B-4621-956E-7A049F4A3818-211-0000030250EB4186.jpg

 

 

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P4GTR

Interesting read. I've been wondering how Col, Q5 and R2 all wound up admin over at RWI.

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baxter

great read greg .. thanks :)

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nalicali

Makes me glad I didn't use my favorite Wesley Snipes-acted vampire hunter as a forum name...

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onzenuub

Nothing about the claps? I am confused. :lol:

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gran

Nothing about the claps? I am confused. :lol:

 

you know nothing onze :kma:

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Nisv

Thank you :)

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onzenuub

Nothing about the claps? I am confused. :lol:

 

you know nothing onze :kma:

 

 

Dont start threadcrapping now dammit

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gran

Nothing about the claps? I am confused. :lol:

 

you know nothing onze :kma:

 

 

Dont start threadcrapping now dammit

 

 

It was the GGG thread back in those days, but yours presently are equally good...even better now with the hand held phone pics

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hawaii

Great info and a good read

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onzenuub

Nothing about the claps? I am confused. :lol:

 

you know nothing onze :kma:

 

 

Dont start threadcrapping now dammit

 

 

It was the GGG thread back in those days, but yours presently are equally good...even better now with the hand held phone pics

 

That was the thread of Johnnyboy, and yes I know nooooothing. :P

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gran

Nothing about the claps? I am confused. :lol:

 

you know nothing onze :kma:

 

 

Dont start threadcrapping now dammit

 

 

It was the GGG thread back in those days, but yours presently are equally good...even better now with the hand held phone pics

 

That was the thread of Johnnyboy, and yes I know nooooothing. :P

 

I still want to strangle that promiscious beach bum Johnnyboy....beside it was that German Thors thread me beleive

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Hazz

+1 ... and your tireless dedication

+1000

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George.

Really interesting, thanks.

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