|Source • Brands||
Price • Origin
Assembled in U.S.A.
American Faucets & Coatings Corp.
3280 Corporate View
Vista, CA 92081
Sigma Reserve Collection
(Far Below N. American Standard)
If an excellent, well designed and engineered, stylish and awesomely finished American faucet is your dream, Sigma® by American Faucet and Coatings Corporation is a faucet line you absolutely should look at.
Founded in 1992 by Susan and Charles Butler, American Faucet and Coatings Corporation is a specifier, assembler and importer of decorative sanitary ware and plumbing fixtures with a 100,000 square foot facility in Vista, CA. It sells several lines of faucets, including the Sigma and the Sigma Reserve Collection.
But, residential faucets are just a part of its business which is basically the design, prototyping and manufacturing of anything of on earth, smaller than a truck, that can be made of brass, copper or stainless steel. It makes sports equipment, lighting, and door hardware as well as custom fittings and components for Seachrome (commercial bath and washroom products), Water, Inc. (water filtration), Cole and Co. (very expensive vanities), (faucets), and (faucets). It also designs and fabricates custom faucets and fittings for hotels, motels and casinos, for example, the new Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego. If you happen to need a truly unique faucet in quantities of several thousand for your next hotel, motel or casino project, American Faucet may be the place to look.
The company does not manufacture most of its faucets. It designs, prototypes and engineers faucets that are then typically cast, forged and machined by others. One of the manufacturers the company is known to use is Precision Brass Services, Inc. in Chino, CA. It assembles some faucets from components made by others, and it outsources whole faucets. It mostly uses cartridges made by Fluhs Drehtechnik, GmbH and Anton Traenkle, GmbH & Co. KG, both German companies. Other faucet components are sourced from Asian manufacturers, including:
The company assembles, finishes and polishes faucets in its California facility, which is, according to a company spokesman, as a "zero discharge" finisher. Only a tiny portion of the water used in production is discharged back into the environment. The rest is cleaned up, and used again. The facility regularly wins recognition for its careful management of waste and environmental pollutants.
Styling is all in house, supervised by the Butlers. The faucets are stunningly styled and well made. We disassembled one that we got our hands on, just for the usual look-see. The finish and polishing was first rate. Absolutely gorgeous, in fact, equal to any we have seen anywhere. And, the faucet installed with no trouble whatsoever. Even the plumber could find nothing to grumble about — you have no idea how rare that is.
Sigma styles range from traditional to very contemporary European, in a number of collections, so there's probably a faucet in the collection for every taste. Each collection seems to have a choice of at least three different handle styles, which extends the variety of faucets offered without costing the company much money. Finishes are plated, powder coated, and PVD thin film. There are 30 available finishes at last count in four categories: Chrome & PVD, Powder Coated, , and Precious Metals, which includes three gold and two silver finishes. Obviously some of these finishes are going to drive the final price for the faucet up a little bit. (Ti view Sigma's finishes, click here.)
Sigma faucets are available from authorized show rooms and a few internet retailers. Sigma allows authorized retailers to sell the Reserve Collection on line, but so far, none have done so. We could find no internet source. They are considerably more expensive than the basic Sigma line, which, for the quality, is very reasonably priced. Often the on-line street price is much lower than comparable European-made faucets, and in several instances even lower than better-quality Chinese faucets, like We think the price-value relationship is extremely good. To find a brick and mortar store, Sigma maintains an easy-to-follow dealer locator on its web site.
The faucets are designed, prototyped, engineered, assembled, quality controlled and given their fabulous finishes in the U.S. But, since major components are manufactured elsewhere, Sigma does not qualify as "made in U.S.A.".
We applaud Sigma's customer and technical service which are staffed by very knowledgable personnel. The company scored 4.51 out of 5 on our customer service tests, losing points only for hold times that exceeded five minutes.
But, we do not applaud the company's warranty. The very sub-par warranty cost the company points in our ratings. A faucet line this good deserves more confidence from its owners and weighty warranty support. The company is looking at the warranty from a bean counter's perspective -- "How much will it cost us?". What it should be asking is "How much can it earn us?". A warranty is a potentially powerful marketing tool can be used to foster customer loyalty and improve sales. But, that is not the way American Faucets views its warranty program, and it's myopia is probably costing the company a whole lot of money.
We also do not like the company's web site. It is very hard to find anything. For example, if I am looking for a 4" lavatory bath faucet, given the menu choices
Click on [lavatory sets] and you get
It gets worse.
Click on the menu item [SIGMA] to display all the Sigma faucets and you get a drop down menu with this enlightening display:
If the company intends to sell to the public, it needs to provide information understood by the public, not just by other decorative hardware professionals. The site has not been upgraded in several years, and badly needs it. It is boring, dull and frustrating to use. Why would anyone spend any time there? We suspect the company loses a lot of business each year because its web site seems intended to frustrate finding anything by anyone who does not work for American Faucets.
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If you have had an experience with Sigma, the Sigma Reserve Collection or American Faucet & Coatings — good, bad or indifferent — that you would like to share, please let us know or leave a comment below.