Watermark Design Faucets Review & Rating Updated: 04/24/23

Assembled in USA
from imported and domestic
Taiwan Flag
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Watermark Designs, Ltd.
350 DeWitt Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11207
(718) 257-2800
Business Type
Product Range
Kitchen, Bath, Prep and Bar Faucets

Related Brands
Devon & Devon
Street Price
Warranty Score
Gold & Copper Finishes
5 years
All Other Finishes
Mechanical Parts
Proof of Purchase
Meets U.S. Warranty
Law Requirements

Warranty Footnotes

1. "Watermark Designs products carry a lifetime limited warranty to the original consumer purchaser to be free from defects in material and workmanship for as long as they own their home.

Read the Watermark Dsigns faucet warranty.

Learn more about faucet warranties.

This Company In Brief

Watermark Designs is a Brooklyn, New York designer and producer of faucets. Its unique designs, some of which are award-winning, have captured wide attention, propelling thecompany's growth since its founding in 2000.

The company has experienced some growing pains but seems to have steadied itself over the past few years.

Its faucets are true luxury products, largely hand-assembled and impeccably finished – worth a look by anyone in the market for a smart, well-designed faucet with a very reliable valve that should give a lifetime of trouble-free service.

If the faucet should fail, however, keep in mind that the warranty itself is deficient, the process required by Watermark to claim under the warranty is convoluted and decidedly not customer-friendly, and the company gets low marks for handling warranty issues.

Brooklyn. One of the five boroughs of New York and the nation's fourth-largest city – home to a world-famous bridge, the Botanical Gardens, the Navy Yard, Coney Island; and some well-known neighborhoods: Canarsie, Brighton Beach, Bensonhurst, and Williamsburg.

It's not a place one normally thinks of as a design mecca. But, Brooklyn has become stylish, – to the absolute astonishment of those of us who lived there in the 1970s and 80s. The style even has a name: "Brooklyn Chic".

Some well-known international designers call the borough home:

to name just a few.

The Company

Watermark Designs, Ltd. should be included in this group as the purveyor of some of the more interesting faucets to be found in North America.

Founded by Jack Abel in 1976 as Sep­co In­dust­ries, Inc., a metal plating company, it expanded into designing and manufacturing upscale decorative bath fixtures in 2000 when it acquired Euro­tec, a decorative hardware designer and manufacturer.

Euro­tec became Water­mark Des­igns, Ltd., the design end of the business. Sep­co handles the production side.

Water­mark faucets range from traditional to very contemporary designs arranged in coordinated collections. Most collections are fully loaded with faucets, shower sets, tub fillers, and accessories. Some even include lighting fixtures, shower drains, cabinet knobs, and console frames for a completely harmonized look.

The fau­cet styles straddle any historical period from Vic­tor­ian to contemporary. No matter the era of your old (or new) house or your decor preference, there is likely to be a Watermark fau­cet that will fit your personal style.

If none of the company's standard offerings fill the bill, however, Water­mark's ID division will design a custom fau­cet just for you.

Of course, you would probably have to order several hundred for your mega-man­sion, luxury hotel, or Vegas casino to offset the cost of custom design and engineering.

The Acquisition

Watermark Designs was acquired by Dimora Brands in 2019. Faucets and showers are a new venture for Dinora that has in the past limited its acquisitions to companies in the decorative cabinet hardware business including premium brands such as Top Knobs. Vesta, and Du Verre.

The next year, Dimora was itself acquired by Clearlake Capital Group. Here is how Clearlake describes itself:

"Clearlake Capital Group, L.P. is a private investment firm operating integrated businesses across private equity, credit and other related strategies. With a sector-focused approach, the firm seeks to partner with experienced management teams by providing patient, long term capital to dynamic businesses that can benefit from Clearlake's operational improvement approach, O.P.S.® The firm's core target sectors are technology, industrials, and consumer."

Since its initial sale in 2019, we have not seen any major changes in Watermark, but we expect they will come.

Investment groups like Clearlake Capital insist on good profitability A company that does not reach and sustain a substantial profit margin will sooner or later get new management and very often a re-focus from quality to profitability.

For an example, see our review of a company that has gone through the process resulting in a substantial depreciation of the product.

The Manufacturers

Watermark Designs formerly described itself on its website as "...a true manufacturer of made-in-the-USA products". It no longer does so.

A made-in-U.S.A. claim is closely regulated and monitored by the Fed­eral Trade Com­mis­sion which requires that any product labeled "Made in U.S.A." be comprised of all or virtually all parts and components also made in the U.S.A.

It now describes its products as "Made-In-Brooklyn," an unregulated claim outside the reach of U.S. law.

In 2006 when Water­mark was much smaller, its current CEO, Avi Abel, could talk in a promotional video about casually walking down the street in Brooklyn to buy the supplies it needed from local vendors. If they ever actually existed, those days are definitely gone.

Today the vast majority of its fau­cet components and many whole faucets are imported – manufactured to Watermark's specifications by overseas factories.

Watermark's known parts and components sources during our look-back period of 60 months include:

In addition to parts and components used to assemble faucets in its plant in Brooklyn, Watermark also contracts for a growing number of fully assembled faucets from a increasing number of overseas suppliers, including:

Faucet Assembly

Watermark has never had the facility required to do its own casting or forging – essential processes in making most fau­cet – and the usual hallmark of actual fau­cet manufacturers such as

It does some machining in-house and has recently purchased a CNC machine to automate much of the process.

It assembled fau­cets from components made by other companies. How much assembly it does depends on the particular fau­cet.

Some are almost entirely assembled and finished in-house, others are received from component manufacturers almost complete, perhaps requiring installation of handles, cartridge, and other minor components – so-called "screwdriver" assembly.

Attaching a few components to an already finished fau­cet does not rise to the level of the true "transformative" assembly required for the faucet to be considered "Assmbled in U.S.A."

We are satisfied, however, that most of the company's faucets are finished and assembled to order, creating a whole faucet from what was before assembly just a collection of components and parts.

Most of its faucet are finished in house. In fact, Water­mark's forté, other than its striking original designs, is metal finishing. It started as a metal plating company, and its three generations of plating experience are evident in its faucets, showers, and accessories.

According to the company, no matter how or where the components for a fau­cet are made, or where the faucets are assembled, every fau­cet undergoes a very rigorous quality control process including a pressure test at three times normal household water pressure to ensure that the fau­cet does not leak before it is packaged for shipping.

Buying Rule for
Smart Faucet Buyers

Valve Cartridge

Never buy a fau­cet unless you know the type of cartridge used in the fau­cet and who made it.

Its cartridge is the most critical part of a fau­cet. It is the component that actually controls water flow. Without a working cartridge, a fau­cet is no longer a fau­cet.

Companies that use good-quality cartridges in their faucets usually disclose the cartridge source on their websites. Those that don't will happily identify the cartridge in a call to customer service.

If the company refuses to reveal the sources of its cartridges (because it is a "trade secret"), you can confidently assume it is not one of the better brands.

For more information about fau­cet valves and cartridges and the companies that make cartridges known to be reliable, see Faucet Valves & Cartridges.

Faucet Components

The critical components used in Wat­et­mark fau­cets are some of the world's best.

Valve Cartridges

A spokesperson for the company told us that every two-handle Water­mark fau­cet is developed around one of five ceramic cartridges made by Flühs Direhtechnik of Lüd­enscheid, Ger­many. The Flühs valve is generally considered among the best in the world.

Watermark's single-handle faucets are equipped with ceramic mixing cartridges made by Kerox Kft. of Hungary. The Kerox is regarded by most in the industry as one of the best mixing cartridges on the market.

The company's website identifies Flühs cartridges by name but does not mention the Kerox cartridges used in many of its faucets, although we found references to the Kerox K25A, K35B, and K35A cartridges in many parts diagrams.

Some faucets include a valve that appears to have been designed specifically for Wat­et­mark.

Many faucets in the 22 series contain a cartridge of this type. We asked who made it but the person we spoke to claimed not to know. However, it is neither a Flühs nor a Kerox.

In the older design of 22 series faucets, the valve was built into the body of the fau­cet, so that if it failed the fau­cet had to be returned to the company for repairs. In the new design, the valve is built into a removable cartridge that can be replaced without uninstalling the fau­cet.


Most Water­mark faucets also include engineered by Neoperl of Switzerland and Amfag, an Italian firm.

Faucet aerators used to be simple devices that merely infused a little air to soften the water stream so it would not splash out of the sink. Today, however, they are precision products used to limit water volume to the lower flows required by federal and state water conservation laws, and in faucets with pull-out sprays, to prevent back-flow that could contaminate household drinking water.

It is important, therefore, that this little device, not much larger than a dime, be the best available.

The Swiss-designed Neoperl is considered slightly superior to Amfag's aerators, but as far as we can tell both are very good brands with little practical difference between them.

Faucet Designs

Most of Watermark's fau­cet designs are striking, and some are award-winning.

The industrial look Elan Vital bridge fau­cet won the Best of Year award from Interior Design magazine in 2016 after having already captured a KBCulture award in 2014.

Rustic industrial design is not new with Water­mark. It was largely pioneered by in the late 1990s, but Water­marks interpretation of the design category is innovative.

In 2012 the Edge collection won the Product Innovation Award from Architectural Products Magazine. The Zen collection was voted K+BB's Bathroom Product of the Year in 2013. Interior Design magazine named the Lily 71 collection and honoree in its 2019 Best of Year design competition.

Watermark's creative in-house design team develops and prototypes most of its fau­cet designs but outside designers also contribute.

The H-Line collection is by Mark Zeff.

The Chelsea fau­cet, originally designed for Hastings Tile & Bath by designer Bob Gifford, was reintroduced by Wat­et­mark under license by Hastings Tile in 2013.

The design cleverly marries the sweeping curves popular in traditional American fau­cet styles with an angularity typical of North European design to create a dramatic fau­cet that would be equally at home in a traditional or urban-contemporary bath.

The Elan Vital collection was designed in collaboration with the Fredman Design Group and kitchen and bath designer David Kotowsky of Hydrology in Chicago. (Mr. Kotowski is also the designer of the integrated Galley Tap, kitchen.)

The Brooklyn 31 Collection, with its unique handles based on gate valves from turn-of-the-20th-cent­ury New York, was created by Incorporated Architecture and Design, Inc., an international design firm based in New York City.

We believe that the design concept is a Watermark original, but it has been widely copied by companies such as the upscale and by the Chinese companies that supply mid-priced faucets to and

The Touch27 series of hands-free faucets is the inspiration of Clodagh Design Studio, also in New York City, which designs everything from ceramic tile to lipstick cases.

The name "Touch27" resulted in a trademark lawsuit by Delta Faucet. Delta considered the name too similar to its registered trademark, Touch20. The lawsuit settled in 2010. The settlement terms are confidential but allowed Wat­et­mark to continue using the name Touch27 to identify its sensor faucets.

In addition to kitchen and bath faucets, the company supplies coordinating accessories and decorative hardware, primarily for the bath.

It does not, however, manufacture these accessories but buys them from accessory manufacturers including Camel Products, Inc. (Taiwan), Oannes San­itary­ware Co., Ltd. (China), and Inte­gra­dora Em­pre­sarial Po­blana, S.A. De C.V. (Mexico).

Many of its fau­cet component suppliers also make the accessories that coordinate with the faucets they supply.

Faucet Finishes

The photos in Wat­et­mark's catalogs and on its website do not begin to do justice to its impeccable finishes.

It offers about twenty-seven basic finishes (or 25 or 26, sometimes even 37 or 38 – the number varies from press release to press release) and can provide special finishes on request.

It does most of its own plating and lacquer coating, and, according to company sources, has begun [3] finishing in-house. Formerly, PVD finishing was outsourced.

Other than identifying (which have no warranty), and two finishes as PVD, the Water­mark website does not typically disclose the technology used to produce its finishes.

The company's two living finishes are Polished Natural brass and Aged Brass. These are just the brass from which the fau­cet is made. Polished brass is buffed to a high shine. Aged Brass is then given an artificial head start on tarnishing.

Polished Natural Brass will not stay polished very long. It will turn into aged brass within a few weeks or months unless polished frequently. Aged Brass will continue to tarnish until it turns a deep brown.


The company's other "brass" finishes are PVD finishes and a lot more care-free.

PVD Brass and Satin PVD Brass do not tarnish because they are not brass. They are a non-reactive (i.e. non-tarnishing) metal, usually titanium or zirconium, treated in a PVD chamber to look exactly like brass. PVD finishes are highly scratch resistant and impervious to most chemicals, and absolutely will not tarnish.

Finish Durability

Some finishes are more durable than others.

Some, the so-called , are expected to fade, discolor, and otherwise show the effect of use and wear over time. These results are built into the finish.

Other types of finishes, however, are expected to be more durable. They are not expected to fade, discolor, or show undue wear.

Here are common types of fau­cet finishes and their durability from most to least durable.

For more information about fau­cet finishes, including their durability and longevity, see Faucet Basics: Part 5 Faucet Finishes.

The colored finishes, Red, White, and Matte Black, are powder coatings – essentially a paint applied in powder form, then cured in an oven.

They are not nearly as hardy as metal finishes, damage more easily, and require more care and maintenance to retain their good looks.

Watermark Red is a RAL color (RAL 3200).[4] Black and White are not identified by Watermark as RAL colors. A RAL color can be paired with any object in any material with the same RAL code no matter where in the world it is made, and the colors are guaranteed to be identical.

To better understand RAL colors see RAL Col­or Stand­ard on Wi­ki­ped­ia.

All other finishes, according to a company spokesperson, are electroplated.

Electroplating, invented by Italian chemist Luigi Brunatelli in 1805, is the oldest process still being used to finish faucets.

It involves immersing the fau­cet and the metal to be used as plating in an acid bath, then applying an electrical charge to both objects so metallic ions are drawn from the plating metal to the fau­cet.

Usually, multiple coats are applied, one or more undercoats and then two or more coats of the finish metal.

The top coat may be polished or brushed. Chrome, a relatively hard metal, is usually polished to a high shine. Nickel, a softer metal, is usually brushed to help hide the inevitable minor scratches.

Related Faucets

Watermark at one time supplied most, if not all, of the faucets sold in North America by the Italian bathware company, Devon & Devon.

Devon has, however, largely withdrawn from the North Am­er­ican market.

Watermark also provides some of the distinctive bath faucets sold by Rejuvenation, our favorite "house parts" company.

Watermark Website

In the past the structure of the Water­mark website made it very difficult to just browse the online catalog for inspiration, now it's very easy to do so by scanning collections (Water­mark calls them "ranges") of faucets by type: kitchen, lavatory, or bar faucets.

Gone is the frequent use of industry terminology about which we complained in earlier reports. You no longer need to know terms like monoblock or concealed edge to navigate to an appropriate fau­cet.

Once you find a fau­cet you might like, you will likely be disappointed in the information provided about the fau­cet. It is woefully insufficient for an informed buying decision.

Generally, only a single image of a fau­cet is available. Multiple images or, better yet, a 360° viewing feature such as is used by faucets, that allows the mouse to rotate the fau­cet to any viewing angle, are invaluable in fully visualizing the fau­cet.

Much of the information about a fau­cet is in linked .pdf downloads. Click the conspicuously marked buttons to download the documents.

Many faucets are missing one or more of these links.

Only a few fau­cet listings have a "Dwg" link. Some have a "Specs" link, others just an "Install" link. Some have a "Specs" link that opens Installation Instructions, just to make things a lot more confusing, and some links go absolutely nowhere.

Other graphics on the page include

A lot of essential information about the fau­cet necessary for an informed buying decision is missing, including

A spokesperson for the company told us that any additional information needed about a fau­cet is always available from the company through customer service, including CAD drawings and 3d models.

Buying Rule for
Smart Faucet Buyers


Never buy a fau­cet unless you have read and understand the fau­cet's warranty. It tells you more than the company wants you to know about management's real opinion about the durability and life expectancy of the faucets it sells.

Learn how to read and interpret fau­cet warranties at Faucet Basics, Part 6: Un­der­stand­ing Fau­cet War­rant­ies.

Model Lifetime Warranty: For an example of a warranty that avoids Wat­et­mark's drafting problems and complies with the Mag­nu­son-Moss War­ranty Act, download and read our Mod­el Lim­it­ed Life­time War­ran­ty.

We tested that claim by sending e-mails over a 40-day period from diferent e-mail addresses requesting CAD drawings and 3d models for several faucets.

Watermark did not respond to any of the requests.

A follow-up telephone call disclosed that the customer service agent had no idea where to get a 3d model for a Watermark faucet, or even who to ask.

We give the site an A- for ease of use but only a C+ for the information provided about each fau­cet.

The site is striking and entertaining and presents its products in an attractive manner, but it is not very informative about some important details of Wat­et­mark faucets.

Faucet Installation

Our plumbers found the installation instructions easy to follow and graded installation as "Easy" on a scale of "Very Easy" to "Very Difficult".

Faucet Warranty

The warranty is poorly written, redundant, ad in parts ambiguous (see sidebar).

Warranty and parts support is only fair. The process of claiming under Wat­et­mark's warranty is unduly cumbersome.

The customer pays the cost of returning defective fau­cet parts to Wat­et­mark and must pay for the replacement parts before they will be shipped. If the returned (also at the customer's expense) parts are determined by Wat­et­mark to be defective, the company will credit the cost of the new parts (but not the customer's shipping costs).

The whole process seems perfectly designed to make Wat­et­mark look suspicious-minded, miserly, and cheap, and is almost guaranteed to ensure that a customer that makes a warranty claim will come away from the process determined to never again, under any circumstance, buy a Watermark product. The process is just an idiotic business practice.

The Better Business Bureau has rated the company's response to consumer issues a B- on its scale of A+ to F for five years running, other than a bump up to A+ for a few months in 2020, then back down to B-.

The basis for the rating, according to the BBB, is that "Wat­er­mark does not respond to customer complaints."[5] Wat­et­mark has not been vetted for BBB accreditation.

Most of the complaints about the company we receive have to do with failure to honor its warranty or unwarranted delays in sending replacement parts.

We also get the occasional complaint about customer service representatives seeming wholly disinterested, distracted, and even rude. We think that much of the reported rudeness is just New Yorkers being New York­ers, which to the rest of the county can seem brusque and impolite.

Retail Sources and M.A.P. Policy

The company sells through authorized dealers located mostly on both coasts of the U.S. If you live in the middle of the country, a Wat­er­mark dealer may be hard to find.

Some of the Wat­et­mark collection is available from internet plumbing sites like Quality Bath, and some general merchandisers such as Amazon.com. Only a limited number of finishes are available through these outlets, however.

Do not expect substantial discounts on Wat­et­mark faucets even if you bypass your local showroom.

Watermark seeks "to maintain the integrity of the product line" and a "quality brand image" through a minimum advertised pricing (M.A.P.) policy that prohibits advertising a price "more than 15%" below the company's suggested list price.

Dealers may still sell below the minimum advertised price, they just cannot advertise that lower price.

Testing & Certification

In 2010 Watermark fell afoul of the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act and was assessed a civil fine of $135,104.00 by the U. S. Department of Energy for failing to certify that certain of its products complied with federal water conservation standards. (Order:2010-CW-1404) Then in 2011 the DOE again imposed a penalty of $4,200.00 on the company for having "distributed in commerce" products that did not meet federal conservation guidelines. (Order:2011-SW-2908)

Having learned its lesson the hard way, Watermark now appears to comply fully with Energy Policy and Conservation Act reporting and water flow requirements (see above).

For faucets made or assembled in North America or Europe comparable in quality and strength of warranty to Wat­et­mark, consider


If you are in the market for a good quality luxury fau­cet that features cutting-edge design and incorporates only first-class components, Wat­et­mark would be a company worth a look. The craftsmanship and finish of the faucets we examined were tops. The best-in-class Flühs and Kerox cartridges and Neoperl® aerators promise a lifetime of faultless service.

Be aware, however, that if your fau­cet does break, you will get warranty service only after jumping through several irritating procedural hoops that could make the process needlessly long and annoying and leave you without a working fau­cet for weeks, even months.

We are continuing to research the company. If you have experience with Wat­et­mark faucets, good, bad, or indifferent, we would like to hear about it, so please contact us or post a comment below.

1. Consider the following set of facts:

Buyer installs a Wat­et­mark fau­cet in his house. A year later he replaces the fau­cet with a newer fau­cet and gives the Wat­et­mark fau­cet to daughter Nell who installs it in her house.

At that point, the warranty on the Wat­et­mark fau­cet is still in force because Buyer still "owns their house."

Buyer no longer owns the fau­cet but continuing to own the fau­cet is not a requirement for continuing to own the benefits under the warranty.

Buyer cannot transfer the warranty to Nell because, under the terms of the warranty, only the original buyer is entitled to the warranty.

The question is: if Nell's fau­cet starts to leak, can Buyer claim under the warranty for Nell's benefit?

The answer is "yes." A warranty is a contract. As a general rule, a party to a contract can enforce the contract for the benefit of a person who is not a party to the contract.

2. Most fau­cet warranties exclude (the legal term is "disclaim") consequential and incidental damages without ever explaining what they are, and the Wat­et­mark warranty is no exception.

Very briefly, these are damages other than the defect in the fau­cet itself. For example, your Water­mark fau­cet leaks and damages your kitchen cabinets. The leak is a "direct damage" to the fau­cet. The damage to the cabinets is a collateral or "consequential damage"..

If you need to hire an appraiser to estimate the loss in value of your damaged cabinets, the appraisal fees are an "incidental damage" – part of your actual cost of making and proving a warranty claim. Col­lect­ively, consequential and incidental damages are often called "indirect" or "special" damages.

3. PVD, an acronym for "physical vapor deposition", is the latest space-age fau­cet finishing technology, rapidly replacing electroplating as the finish of choice.

The process is almost science fiction. Load a chamber with unfinished faucets, then remove all the air and add back a carefully calculated mix of nitrogen and reactive gases. Add a chunk of the metal to be used for the coating, usually in the form of a rod. Heat that rod to a temperature so high that the rod dissolves into individual atoms. The atoms mix with the various reactive gases to get the color and finish effects you want and are then deposited in a very thin layer – 2 to 5 microns (.00008-.0002") – on the faucets.

Because the coating bonds to the fau­cet at a molecular level, the finish is incredibly hard (Rockwell HRC-80+ and Vicker HV-2600+). In abrasion tests, PVD finishes were found to be 10 to 20 times more scratch-resistant than the old standard: chrome electroplated finish.

4. RAL is a collection of color standards originally developed in Germany and administered by RAL GmbH, a non-profit company. They are used primarily in Europe to define colors for paints and powder coatings which allows manufacturers to specify exact colors using a four-digit code (i.e. RAL 6015 "Black Olive").

The advantage of the RAL system to consumers is its precision. You can buy a RAL-colored fau­cet from Wat­et­mark, towel bars from Fantini in Italy, and a toilet seat made in Taiwan, and as long as the RAL codes are the same, the colors will be an exact match.

A handy chart of RAL Classic colors can be found on Wikipedia.

5.  BBB ratings represent the BBB's opinion of how the business is likely to interact with its customers. The BBB rating is based on information BBB is able to obtain about the business, including complaints received from the public. BBB seeks and uses information directly from businesses and from public data sources. For more information, see Overview of Ratings.