Review & Rating
Waterworks Operating Co., LLC
60 Backus Avenue
Danbury, CT 06810
Footnotes:1. "[A]s long as the original purchaser... continues to own and maintain the residence where the products are initially installed."2. Some finishes are limited to a two year warranty. are not guaranteed at all as is the usual practice in the industry. See the main report for more information.
This Company In Brief
Organized in 1976 by Robert and Barbara Sallick, the company is composed of a collection of several legal entities. The most important are Waterworks IP Co., LLC, the company that owns all of the trade marks and patent rights, including the Waterworks and Waterworks Studio trade names, and Waterworks Operating Company, LLC that operates the business of designing and selling bath, kitchen and bar collections.
Waterworks ran into financial trouble during the Great Recession of 2007-2010 and filed for voluntary Chapter 11 reorganization in bankruptcy. It was purchased out of bankruptcy by in 2009 by Design Investors, an investment group organized by A. Peter Sallick, the company's current CEO and son of the founders, specifically for the purpose of purchasing Waterworks. The new owners guided to company out of the recession and back to profitability. It was then acquired by Restoration Hardware, Inc. in 2016 in a deal estimated by some to be worth $119 million (US).
Restoration Hardware is an upscale home decor retailer that sells its own line of luxury faucets made by BrassTech, Inc., a Masco company.
The merger should be an excellent fit, enhancing both companies.
Waterworks markets design collections that include faucets, but also any other fixture or accessory you can think of, right down to the ceramic tile, towels, floor mats and even lotions and bathrobes. Waterworks sells through 15 authorized show rooms in the U.S. and U.K. where trained designers can help you create a coordinated Waterworks suite for your bathroom, kitchen or bar. But, if you live in a part of the world that does not have a showroom, the company will sell direct, but prefers to work with your decorator.
Restoration Hardware owns 85 showroom stores (which it calls "Design Galleries") as well as six internet sites and 28 outlet stores (as of the date of this report) and is still expanding. Waterworks will certainly benefit from the almost instant expansion of its retail exposure as its wares are added to RH outlets.
Most Waterworks faucets are manufactured by the French faucet company in its plant in Picardy. THG sells its diverse collections of very up-scale THG faucets, fixtures and accessories in the U.S and Canada. It also sells Waterworks faucets outside of North America as one of its many collections. It is called the Waterworks Collection and described to its non-North American customers as the "New York" style. So, if you want a Waterworks faucet in France, Germany or the UAE, you buy it through THG.
Israel's makes the Waterworks Easton kitchen faucet in its Birmingham, England foundry, and sells the same faucet in North America as its Fairfield kitchen faucet. There are almost certainly other manufacturers making faucets for Waterworks that we have not yet identified. These may include Kiswok Industries Pvt of Japan.
For its accessories and other fixtures the company sources far and wide. Among its many suppliers are
- American Standard Brands for toilets, lavatory sinks, and two models of bathtub.
- Diffusion Ceramique of France for ceramic tile.
- Ekom Eczacibasi Dis Ticaret of Turkey for porcelain sanitaryware (toilets, sinks and enamel tubs). Eczacibasi also manufactures for Kohler's upscale designer company, Kallista.
- Eke Tekstil Konfeksiyon Turizm Sanayi Ve Ticaret A S also from Turkey for towels and bathrobes.
- Drummonds, Ltd., Poland, for bathtubs.
- Rak Ceramics in the United Arab Emirates for Sanitary ware.
- Wetter Ltd. of the Peoples Republic of Vietnam for laquerware and furniture.
- A & J Gummers in England for shower valves. Gummers is a part of the Bristan Group which is owned by Masco, the giant U.S. faucet and sanitary wares manufacturer.
The design vision for the company is mostly internal, coordinated by creative director David Schaefer. Most of the faucet designs are unique and striking, but a surprising number are pedestrian — not unlike she styles found in almost any mid-priced faucet line. The company has begun to use outside design talent. The design firm of Roman and Williams, for example, has recently unveiled the R. W. Atlas lighting, fittings and hardware collections for Waterworks based on late 19th century fin-de-siècle industrial motifs.
If the company's standard collections are not exclusive enough for your upscale home, five-star hotel or Vegas casino, the Waterworks Studio, will design a one-of-a-kind faucet just for you.
Waterworks offers 17 standard finishes of which 11 are available for quick shipping ins "as little as four weeks", but more often six to 8 weeks. Gold, or Matte Gold require an even longer lead time. All finishes are guaranteed for five years except Architectural Bronze, Carbon, Gold, or Matte Gold which are warranted for two years.
The company provides full support for the faucets it sells, including parts replacement and warranty service. The consumer experience with this company has been very good overall. The faucets themselves have very few problems, and the company's customer support is capable. However, a few consumers have noted that showroom staff can be "opinionated, unaccommodating and surly."
Waterworks guarantees the mechanics of its faucets "for as long as the original purchaser or initial homeowner continues to own and maintain the residence where the products are initially installed." Finishes, however, are guaranteed for 5 years at most — specified finishes for just two years. The warranty is not transferable to a subsequent owner of the faucet. Because the finish warranty is for less than a "lifetime", this warranty is sub-standard for the North American market in which the standard warranty guarantees cartridges, other critical mechanical parts, and all finishes (except for as long as the original buyer owns the faucet.
Waterworks is not a faucet company for the budget-conscious. The faucets are indecently expensive, as befits something manufactured mostly by THG, faucets and handles are priced separately and anything but a standard finish can drive the price straight into the ionosphere. The company's prices are at or just shy of "if you need to ask, you can't afford it."
French made faucets loosely similar to Waterworks styling include
We are continuing to research the company. If you have experience with Waterworks faucets, good, bad or indifferent, we would like to hear about it, so please contact us or post a comment below.