I’ve been meaning to write this post since 2013. Because it’s an important one. But I stepped away from it for some time so that I could calm down and write about it without too much negative emotion poured into it.
I’d rather present my experience with Swiss Diamond cookware as a series of facts rather than a tirade of opinion.
So instead of my normal review layout, this time I will simply cut and paste my email exchanges with Swiss Diamond’s international PR & marketing manager. You’ll get a good sense of what went wrong with our Swiss Diamond pots and pans and my expectations based on the lifetime warranty we thought we had. And you’ll also read first-hand how Swiss Diamond doesn’t stand behind their products.
Before I paste that email trail, however, I want to give a HUGE shout-out to William Ashley, where we got our Swiss Diamond cookware, thanks to our wedding registry. While the store no longer carries Swiss Diamond (gee, I wonder why…), they were extremely helpful in not only helping me get in touch with Swiss Diamond’s representatives but also — very generously — provided my family with an interim set of pots and pans while most of our Swiss Diamond set was returned to the warranty folks for inspection.
William Ashley also provided us with a store credit to buy some new pots and pans when Swiss Diamond failed to deliver on its lifetime warranty promises. To boot, we were able to donate the interim cookware set to a needy family. Wow, William Ashley — just WOW; Swiss Diamond could learn a thing (or eight) from you.
The set-up: we got our Swiss Diamond cookware (a saucepan, large pot and some pans of various sizes) in January 2007. Aside from the pot, we started seeing some flaking — something we were assured simply “never” happened with (the VERY expensive) Swiss Diamond brand — around 2010. It got progressively worse through 2011, 2012 and 2013. But thanks to motherhood, a busy day job and an extremely time-consuming blog career, I only managed to get it together to contact Swiss Diamond in late-2013.
So, let’s go back to December 23, 2013, when I first emailed Swiss Diamond:
Swiss Diamond’s community manager, via Twitter, suggested I touch base with you about our pots and pans. She (he?) asked what happened and the only thing I can think is that it is from using metal cooking utensils on them, which we were encouraged to do by the woman who sold them to us at William Ashley. Her exact words? “This set is indestructible!”
And that’s really why we bought them. After years of using Teflon-coated pots and pans and having them flake on us (and we NEVER used anything but wood or silicone on those), she assured us these would never flake or chip and that if there was ever a problem with them, there was a lifetime warranty.
When we started noticing some minor flaking, probably in year two/three, we all but stopped using metal utensils. They still got worse every year thereafter, but the worst damage was in the first few years.
And then we were in the throes of having babies and buying/selling/building homes, starting new businesses, and…life! And I just never got around to taking them back to Ashley.
Most of the handles are wobbly and – as you can see – the surfaces certainly haven’t been indestructible.
I knew we weren’t to put them in the dishwasher and they NEVER were – always handwashed. And we used them as directed on medium heat. Sometimes just low, actually, because they do heat up so well.
So, really, the only thing I can think of is the metal utensils we used early on…which of course would never have occurred to is to do had the salesperson at Ashley not explicitly told us we could!
We trust that you will make good on the warranty that was so highly praised during the sales process at Ashley when we bought these in 2007.
Moving forward, however, you might want to let your sales representatives know that they are far from indestructible!
I look forward to writing a glowing review of Swiss Diamond and Swiss Gourmet’s customer service on my product review blog. I was really impressed by the responsiveness I experienced via Twitter and hope this is a positive.
Swiss Diamond, response No. 1:
Thanks for your email – I apologize for the delayed response! We’ve been closed for Christmas holidays.
I understand your frustration, seeing that you were using the cookware according to instructions. The damage to your pans is definitely not from metal utensils! So you can rest easy on that count. Damage from metal utensils would show up as deep lines and scratches, not flaking. We are also in the process of removing the “Virtually Indestructible” claim from our packaging and marketing material – it was originally intended to convey that the pans will never warp or change shape, because of the cast aluminum, but we definitely understand how it could be misconstrued.
The flaking and peeling of the coating, like what’s shown in your photos, actually only occurs when the pans have been voraciously overheated, over a long period of time. If the coating was experiencing a manufacturing defect, you would see a small area of flaking while the rest of the pan was intact. Also, since each pan is made at a different time, it would be unlikely for an entire set to experience the same manufacturing defect. In your photos, it looks like all your pans have similar characteristics and it covers the entire pan.
Swiss Diamond proudly offers a Limited Lifetime Warranty that covers ANY manufacturing defect for the lifetime of the pan. Like I said above, sometimes if the coating received an air bubble during the manufacturing process, or a similar issue, it isn’t visible to the eye and only shows up once the pan has been used and the air pocket expands, causing a small blister. In the case of the pans shown in your photos, the damage was not caused during the manufacturing process, but instead is a result of the way the items were used.
I personally own Swiss Diamond cookware and have used it for years in my own kitchen. Like anything worth buying, the daily care and handling has a profound impact on the performance and lifetime. For me, the convenience of how easy they are to wash outweighs the longer cooking time from using lower heat – but I know that’s not the case for everyone. It’s really OK to decide that you want to get the absolute most possible performance out of the pans and just retire them a little earlier than the average user. Most of our customers use their pans for 10+ years before they need to be replaced, unlike the inexpensive nonstick pans that start sticking after the first month and need to be replaced every 2 years.
If you enjoyed using your Swiss Diamond cookware, and find the performance and convenience worthwhile, I encourage you to retire your current set and purchase a new one. I’m sure we could offer you a discount. If you are looking for cookware that will be more accepting of fast, high heat cooking, I recommend stainless steel. You will need to use more oil, and they definitely take longer to clean, but the high heat won’t destroy the surface like it does with nonstick.
Please reach out to me with additional thoughts and questions. We take customer service very seriously, and want to make sure we’ve thoroughly addressed your concern.
Happy New Year!
My Jan. 9, 2014 response:
Apologies for my delay, too. We have been on holidays until this past Monday and I stayed away from email for most of the break and am just catching up now.
Here’s the first problem: they have only been used on medium heat (or lower), but while I wonder aloud if a gas range could make a difference… here’s the second problem: what you don’t have in your possession is a pot that is in like-new condition, but which was bought at the same time, has been used as frequently and in the EXACT manner as all of the others. And it’s perfectly fine. No wobbly handles, no flakes and barely a scratch on it. That’s how I know there’s something wrong with the others. It makes no sense that JUST ONE would be fine.
I’m not interested in retiring a set that’s seven years old when I was talked into purchasing them because they’d be the last set I’d ever need to buy. We never would have returned so many wedding gifts to “save up” for these if we thought they had a 10-year shelf life. Not ever.
So, I’m afraid to say you still have a very unsatisfied customer. It just doesn’t add up.
I’ve copied in F—– from William Ashley in hopes that someone can come up with a solution. We were sold Swiss Diamond on the premise that it was virtually indestructible, had a lifetime warranty (there was never a mention of “limited” lifetime warranty during the sales pitch) and would be a good, long-term investment. Seven years is certainly not long term.
I’d either like them fixed, replaced or a credit refunded to purchase a high-quality set at William Ashley.
Please let me know how this will be resolved.
So, what happened next?
At this point, Swiss Diamond refused to take responsibility for its crappy, defective cookware and basically told me to have a nice day.
Despite their own admission that they were removing the “indestructible” claim from their packaging because they knew it was misleading, and despite the fact that I had one pot from the set that showed no sign of damage or deterioration — which debunked their statement that my handling of the Swiss Diamond cookware caused the problems — they refused to exchange or replace even one of my pots or pans.
Needless to say: SWISS DIAMOND IS A JOKE. Be careful where you invest your hundreds (and hundreds and hundreds) of dollars when it comes to cookware. And if you’re in Canada, shop for your next set of pots and pans at William Ashley. Because they actually know how to take care of their customers.