Reading this thread from start to finish has been an interesting experience.
I don't have a single watch at this point in my life, but am casually reading about the scene, and finding some stuff that I like the look of. Of course, I don't yet understand the market and how things are valued. (Correction: I have a few fun pieces from Tokyo Flash that are DEFINITELY originals :). I just have no rare or coveted watches).
Despite the fact that a quartz crystal keeps better time, I agree that the point of an exotic watch is not to tell precision time, but more to exist and be appreciated as a work of mechanical art. Calling a movement inaccurate is like calling the brush strokes of a classic painting "sloppy", because these days autocad drawings are more precise.
I would agree that buying a fake has a psychological impact on its wearer, whether they want to admit it or not. I would not want to do it.
I wouldn't like wearing a repro. Or an homage.
It reminds me of some story from Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance (I think) where a part breaks on a motorcycle, and in a pinch, this guy fixes it with a part fashioned from a soda can. The bike owner appreciates the help, but expresses that eventually he will want to replace it with the genuine manufacturer's part. The debate ensues over whether a piece of metal doing a job is just a piece of metal doing a job, or if it's origin/frame of reference is meaningful. Since both pieces of metal would do the job equally well, it clearly came down to the eye of the beholder. I still struggle with the merits of each argument. On the one hand, I would want the original part there too, just for the art and the sense of legitimacy of it. On the other, god dammit, I also know that it IS just a piece of metal and that soda pop can has every bit the required properties to carry out the task. The part was not in plain view, by the way, so nobody but the two men would ever have known.
A sidebar to this concept is the question of enhancement - what if the same part were replaced with titanium or something more exotic, custom produced for the bike by a respected customizing company? It's still not a factory part anymore. But now it represents an upgrade, and at that stage it enhances the perception of the motorcycle. It is now better than stock, and special.
I honestly think the question boils down to are you going to take a romantic approach to your possessions (which is a facet of taking a romantic approach to your life), or a practical one?
You can say that dress is practical, if you look at it from a perspective of you have things you want people to think about you, and you're trying to manifest those impressions through artful forgery. Your dressing is oriented towards social and professional goals. But once you have achieved those goals, how will you feel, looking back on the way you got there? Maybe you're fine with it. I wouldn't be - but of course that's your business. In the real world we do know that cheaters prosper, even if the particular "prosperity" in this case is as seemingly insignificant as the "achievement of a look"
Beyond a basic professional image, I don't believe that dress is practical. We have solved the problems of basic protection from the elements. And the basic professional image (that which is sufficient to succeed in most professions or dating) is not difficult to achieve legitimately. I see on styleforum all over the place comments that the standard of dress in business and society at large is a very low bar indeed to get over. So if you have the means and skill to be above this very low bar, aren't you now operating on an artistic level?
Isn't part of the beauty of art a religious (and therefore impractical) lack of compromise? The worlds most respected craftsmen in any discipline would probably say so.
So for me it's about the art of style, which is also related to the art of living. And for me, legitimacy must be at the heart of any artistic endeavor, or it ceases to be the fine wine of art, and becomes the vinegar of advertising.
Originally while I was reading this thread, questions like "What if you're working in Rio, would like to dress nicely but you know there are healthy odds your watch will get stolen?" were running through my head. But in the end, you don't HAVE to wear a watch - I never have, and I'm doing just fine in my social life and career. Or you can choose an original design from a less expensive manufacturer that accomplishes the task of your esthetic. Actually in my initial browsing of watches, I'm finding myself drawn to a lot of old Jaeger LeCoultres, which seem to be achievable for less than $1500 - I don't think that's a problem for most of us? I like Submariners and Sea Masters as well, but I'm sure I'll find plenty of stylish original and legitimate designs to compliment a lot of great looks in the "under a grand" category. Even with only a few weeks of casual looking at the world of watches, I don't think I see any real need for homages or counterfeits.
In the end, I believe that faking anything is only justified for matters of basic survival. If you are broke and have to wear a fake outfit or borrow one for a job interview in order to be afforded a legitimate chance to succeed from there on your own true merits, for example. But that's not what we're talking about.
Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder. One hopes that one will be recognized for being genuine, but in reality the only reliable reward for adherence to legitimacy is a deeply personal one. So do what you believe in. It's you who has to look in the mirror.