In 2023, we've added a new section to the Kobold site: Testimonials from Koboldians all over the world who received their watches and are happy to review them. 

The first testimonial we received this year is from Pete Sinclair, a former U.S. intelligence officer. Pete writes:

"This is a story of perseverance and the effort it takes to do the right thing. The photo is of a brand new Kobold Phantom Chronograph, currently ticking away on my wrist.

I bought my original Phantom in 2008. That watch was with me for eight years. Those eight years included both the worst and best of times.

Between three deployments, eight countries, one trip around the world (over 160+ days), and going to other places I can’t mention, the watch picked up some subdued charm and patina.

The watch didn’t hang out in a watch case, it was used. Worn with love, but not worn out. After eight years, it was time to send in the watch for a minor repair and an overdue cleaning; unbeknownst to me, that was during a long series of unfortunate events befell the company.

One of those events was the watch disappearing into the ether. I was more than a little fired up and disappointed about the loss. That is an understatement. Life goes on. Years passed and I often thought about that Phantom.

When I heard that Michael was hard at work repairing the damage at Kobold, I was quietly rooting for him. Then, one day, Michael reached out to me and offered to send a brand new Phantom as a replacement for my original Phantom. I was amazed and had to sit down to let this news sink in. You can call it “doing the right thing” or “restoring some balance” in the world, but either way I was (and still am) grateful.

My plan for the original Phantom was for it to be an heirloom and for it to capture some of the crazy adventures I had. The new Phantom will be an heirloom for my children and serves as a reminder to them to do the right thing, no matter how much time it takes. To Michael: Thank you again for the watch and for one heck of a story!

If you want to know more, here is Michael's story in his own words."


Then there's the story of Matt Haradon. We tried for almost one year to contact this customer. Perseverance pays off, it would seem, because now Matt is a happy Koboldian:

"I would like to share my Kobold story. In December of 2016 I ordered a Phantom Chronograph. I never got it. Over the years I cycled through anger (both at myself for being conned, and at Kobold), regret, and resignation. A few dozen emails to Kobold yielded no results, and I didn't have the time or energy to keep trying.

Flash forward 5 years! In the meantime I had moved to Europe and in the summer of 2022 moved back to the US. In the middle of this chaos, I was surprised to see that Michael Kobold had viewed my LinkedIn profile. That was notable because a lot of time had gone by since 2016. Michael and I had never met, so the only reason he would know my name is because I'd ordered a watch from his company. I didn't understand why he would look me up on LinedIn, so I ignored it.

Then a week or so later I got a ping in Messages on my European number, from someone claiming to be Michael Kobold, asking if this was Matt Haradon. I ignored that one too. A short time later Michael pinged me a third time, on What'sApp. This time I figured it had to be him, so I responded. By text I told Michael I'd never gotten the Phantom, and would still love to, sent him the invoice, etc. Michael immediately responded with an apology, and promise to send the Phantom to me in the US.

Weirdly, I wasn't skeptical - who after 5 years exerts so much effort to contact an ex-customer to promise something they won't do? And sure enough, about 3 weeks later, a gorgeous Kobold Phantom Black Ops Chronograph appeared at my house. I literally haven't taken it off since. It's that stunning.

During our texts Michael and I had a short exchange about karma - taking responsibility for and trying to make things right in one's life. It's a topic Michael obviously thinks about. It's a topic I also think about for living my life. He didn't hide behind making me prove anything - he just asked if it was me, whether I got the watch, then he sent one. So why write this? I want folks to know that Michael took responsibility and made things good. He found my contact info, persisted in contacting me when I didn't respond, then sent me a watch I am sure he made no profit from. No hassles, no complaining, he just sent the watch.

The word that keeps coming to my mind is grace - the day that watch arrived in the mail some grace entered my life - the grace, after a long arc, of a promise kept, and the grace of a beautiful time instrument that makes me happy to wear every day. I'm grateful for that.

So what's the lesson? If you can get your hands on a Phantom, I highly recommend it. You will have a beautiful precision timepiece on your wrist. And you join in a story of grace as Michael continues to rebuild his company.

Thank you, Michael and best wishes.

Matt Haradon"


From the world of finance, an ex-Wall Street banker, Kevin O'Reilly, wrote:

I have known Michael Kobold for over ten years, and my relationship with his company at times has seemed like an adventure. I first discovered Kobold whilst I was stationed in Shanghai. After reading an article about the company, I contacted Mike and exchanged pleasantries. When I returned to the US, I ordered a Kobold watch, which was delivered promptly in person a week later in NYC by Mike himself. It also came with some excellent ‘swag’, which I believe was commonplace for Koboldians back then.

The watch was handsome, ran to a COSC spec, and I enjoyed talking timepieces and adventures with Mike when we met in person. I was lucky to visit the Galapagos a few weeks later and give the Soarway a little adventure. The watch was fine, but as stated in the Kobold history, there were a few issues with early cases. Whilst the watch held up beautifully in diving and a few other physical (read clumsy) and risky (read stupid) endeavours, it developed minor fogging, which Mike was keen to remedy. There was a recall of the cases, and I was asked to wait, which I had no problem doing as I owned other watches, including Patek Philippe and other luxury brands. But I wanted my Kobold timepiece back, a Soarway. They look big but wear a medium and feel ‘light’. They also look outstanding.
During this time, I ordered a second watch. Mike had since departed to Nepal, so I dealt with the staff members who went on to sabotage Kobold. I ordered a unique modification which I was told would take quite some time, so I waited..and waited and was more than patient. In the interim, I had exchanged notes with Mike, but the replies were intermittent as he was busy on a humanitarian mission in Nepal and assured me his staff were doing their best. Given our relationship and my busy life, I let time pass. I had the luxury of being able to wear my other watches, and so before I knew it, time had flown. Neither watch came back to me! 
Like a few other folks, I was very angry and sent aggressive emails to the company and Mike himself. Eventually, I had to write it off as a bad commercial experience. Life goes on, and it was better to try and take something positive away from the whole experience.
At the start of 2023, I received a long email from Mike explaining what had happened. He gave a detailed account of my watches and company correspondence regarding them while he was in Nepal, including internal emails that evidenced how the former staff had promised him that my watches would be sent, only to then not send them to me. Mike explained his company had been damaged by these persons and that loyal customers had suffered extensively because of their nefarious activities. However, he also stated he had been rebuilding the company and was looking to make amends with anyone who did not receive a watch they paid for, or their existing watches lost in their repair centre. 
To say I was surprised at this news would be an understatement. I would have thought he moved on and either started again or focused entirely on Nepal-related work. Nevertheless, I appreciated Mike's reaching out and his sincere apologies, so I offered him a second chance on the watches because, despite the time, my old anger and what I thought I had lost monetarily, I still wanted a Kobold watch! Put one on your wrist, and you will feel that way too.
A few days later, I received two brand new Kobold watches: A Phantom Safari Chronograph and an Arctic Diver in polished titanium and on a rubber strap. I am thrilled with both watches. The finishes are great, the designs eye-catching, and the performance is +/- 1/2 seconds around the COSC specs after two months of wear. Besides their daily wear, they have not been tested hard apart from in crossfit sessions in the gym, some roughhousing, and for fun in the deep freeze for the Arctic Diver for 24 hours (it was fine, but I had to check).
Every day I thoroughly enjoy one or the other of these watches, and I look forward to new adventures to put them through their paces. I am happy that Mike finally made good on his promise and that the company is working hard to repair its reputation. I highly recommend Kobold if you wish to 'Embrace Adventure' and seek a unique and sturdy timepiece.
Kevin O’Reilly
Berlin, 4/12/23"



Captain Vincente Osorio of the Gardena Police Department in Southern California also ordered a Kobold Phantom Black Ops Chronograph:

"Finally received my Kobold Phantom Tactical Chronograph from Michael Kobold yesterday! I have a modest watch collection and each one is unique, but this one really has a story behind it. I first reached out to Kobold with interest in their watches back in 2013.

The watches intrigued me as they were made in America and had a pretty good following (president, military, police, etc). I placed an order for this watch in 2015, made payments, and waited (and waited). I was later contacted by the company's founder and owner, Michael Kobold and he went on to tell me the story of how his company had been eviscerated by internal theft and employee fraud while he was away in Nepal. (Look up the story. He's written a lot on it and it's crazy!)

Michael assured me that would make good on all orders for his watches, no matter how long it took. He maintained regular contact with me via phone, email, and messenger while he was getting his company back on its feet.

Fast forward almost six years and the Phantom is here! The watch is high quality and a great addition to the collection. I had a couple of questions about stuff that I thought would come with the watch and assured me that the items would follow and that he just didn't want me to wait any longer for my watch. I don't know of any other watch company you would get this type of treatment by the owner of the company! I'll be a Koboldian for life!"

Captain Vincente Osorio's Kobold Phantom Black Ops Chronograph