Yes they did .. and I didn't pull trigger yet (but I also heard their version is on the 7 last?)
What is the Nordstrom sale price on PAs?
Here it is. Once you said "playing around" I figured out where it had to be. Nice find.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you broke through the factory finish. You should never rub the shoe that hard when wet or with a wet cloth as this can result. I know from experience as I did the same thing to a pair of Carminas when trying to spit shine the cap. I used too much water and the result was a dull unfinished section like what you have here. You have two ways to remedy this:
1) Send the shoes to AE. AE can strip and reapply the factory finish to make them as good as new. I assume this is likely the cost of a full recrafting.
2) Create a new finish of your own by adding multiple layers of creme polish and wax. You will be surprised by how many times you have to do this to obscure the defect. You're in luck the shoes are black as this will make the problem easier to obscure.
FWIW, I took the second option with my pair of shoes, but will send them back to Carmina to fix this issue when they are in need of a resole. Good luck.
Maybe I'm just misreading it, but the 2014 spring catalog seems to suggest that cordovan shoes will be MTO from this point on (see pp. 18-20):
Pretty much every catalog number has an "MTO" attached to it.