Review & Rating
935, Rue Lachance
Quebec G1P 2H3
Footnotes:1. "Julien Inc. offers a 1-YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY on its faucets, following the purchase date, against manufacturing defects."
This Company In Brief
Julien, Inc. was founded in 1946 by Leo T. Julien as Accessoires de Cuisine, Ltd. to sell commercial kitchen products to restaurants. Within a few years the company had opened a sheet metal fabrication shop, working mostly in stainless steel, to manufacture custom equipment for restaurants.
On Mr. Julien's death in 1973, the company was purchased by Somesco, Inc., a consulting and investment group, and reorganized as Les Enterprises Julien, Inc. In 1998 the company, renamed Julien, Inc. and under new ownership by its former managers, branched out into residential kitchen sinks under the trade name Julien Home Refinements®.
The company's main business is stainless steel fabrication. It still manufactures custom products for the restaurant industry in Canada, and fabricates stainless steel sinks in 16 gauge stainless steel for commercial use and lighter 18 gauge steel for residential use. It will also craft a stainless steel counter top to match its sink, and where appropriate, meld the sink into the counter top in a seamless construction.
The company advertises its stainless sinks as being made from 304 (18/10) stainless steel, an excellent grade of stainless, "using recycled American stainless steel", but without any indication of just what percentage of the steel used is actually recycled steel. It could be anything from a fraction of 1% to 100%.
Although Julien identifies all of its sinks as "hand crafted in Canada", it is clear from import records and bills of lading that a good many Julien stainless sinks are made in China by Shenzhen KeHuaXing Industrial, Ltd., a company not at all known for "hand crafting" sinks in its state of the art production facility. KeHuaXing Industrial also makes stainless steel sinks for the U.S.-based (which does not claim the sinks are "hand crafted" in Canada).
It is not clear from the company catalog or web site just which sinks are made in China, and which are made in Julien's factory in Canada. Company literature boasts of its ties to German and Italian manufacturers, but is completely silent about its Chinese connection.
To supplement its stainless steel sinks, Julien offers fire clay sinks, kitchen faucets and faucet accessories — at present limited to matching soap and lotion dispensers.
It manufactures none of these. Its fire clay sinks are made by Shaws of Darwen in the U.K., a company well known for its high quality clay products. Most of its faucets are purchased through and made in Italy by IB Rubineterie S.p.A., an established Italian manufacturer that sells a broad collections of faucets, fittings and accessories throughout Europe and most of the rest of the world.
However, at some kitchens faucet are, according to the company, made in Germany. We have not yet identified the actual manufacturer, or confirmed that it is indeed a German company that actually manufactures in Germany. A great many German companies do not.
Aquabrass is an importer of Italian faucets which it sells at retail under its own brand over the internet and through showrooms. Julien buys faucets and renames them, then also sells them at retail. The relationship relieves Julien of the burden of cultivating relationships with overseas factories and provides a well organized source of faucet parts that Julien does not have to manage.
So, on the one hand, this was probably a canny move on Julien's part. But, on the other, the addition of another middleman adds to the cost of a Julien faucet. For example, the Julien Abyss kitchen faucet, shown above, has a street price of about $829.00 (all prices in U.S. dollars). The street price of the Spray Joy, its twin in the inventory, is right around $500.00.
Amazingly, however, the price of the same faucet in Europe is even higher. IB Rubinetterie sells the faucet in Europe as the Loft (LO387). No matter where you go to buy the Loft in the Euro-zone, the price is exactly €639.00 or $871.02. Evidently IB Rubinetterie does not encourage discounting in its home market.
The faucets are offered in a limited number of styles in two collections: Contemporary and Traditional. Only two finishes are available on most faucets, polished chrome and brushed nickel. The styling is contemporary Italian, and the quality of the Italian faucets is good to very good. We have not had an opportunity to examine the company's German faucets, and so reserve judgment.
The Julien faucet warranty is woefully sub-par in North America where the standard "lifetime" warranty is for as long as the original purchasers owns the house in which the faucet is installed. It is hard to comprehend the logic behind the warranty because the warranty offered by its faucet supplier, on the same faucets is the standard lifetime warranty on mechanical parts and chrome and brushed nickel finishes.
Customer service is good to very good. Customer service agents handled our requests for information quickly and accurately. We scored it 3.75 our of 5 possible points. Anything above 4.0 is good.
As of our last update to this report, some Julien faucets were certified, some were not. A company spokesman told us that all of its faucets were in the process of being certified. Unfortunately, that turned out not to have been true. No Julien faucet is currently certified according to the records of the seven accredited testing organizations authorized to test and certify faucets to North American standards.
It's not that Julien management is unaware of the requirement. So far as we can tell Julien does certify all of its sinks, but not its faucets.
Our overall judgment on these faucets is that they are a risky purchase. There is no independent evidence that these faucets are certified and legal for sale and installation in North America. Some faucets are identified on the company web site as certified when, in fact, they are not. Others are identified as "pending" certification. If so, they have been pending for an inordinate amount of time.
You should not buy a Julien faucet without seeing the actual certificate that lists the model of faucet you are buying by model number and/or name. If you are not sure about the bona fides of the certification, e-mail it to us and we will confirm it for you.
Our experience is that Julien customer service agents do not have ready access to certificates, and it takes several days for the company to produce one; or admit it does not have it.
Other companies that sell Italian-made faucets in the U.S. and Canada include:
Other Canadian faucet companies include:
If you do purchase a Julien faucet and install it in a public drinking water system, you may be liable for civil penalties and even criminal charges if the authorities find out about it. The most likely consequence, however, is that your plumbing inspector will just disallow it, and it will have to be removed, leaving you with a very expensive, oddly shaped, paper weight.
We are continuing to research the company. If you have experience with Julien faucets, good, bad or indifferent, we would like to hear about it, so please contact us or post a comment below.