But you make a good point ... replica watches are 'artistically' somewhat equal to reproduction art. I see both as essentially worthless from an artistic point of view. That said, I suppose artistic reproductions can serve from an educational point of view ... replica watches can serve a similar purpose on a much less important level. As I noted, I dimantled several top quality replicas for comparison with the original.
When you think about it, it's not really the same - the primary (only?) purpose of a replica watch is to pass off as the original, signalling status/wealth/taste if you will via deception. Only twisted people buy straight up replicas to appreciate their artistic value - the analogy is going to McD's to buy a burger to enjoy the effort that went into their make.
A print is... well, no one is going to confuse that Picasso print for a >$50 million dollar oil painting.
I don't go to artprints.com to pick up a print that will convince my mates that I own a real Manet - there is no element of deception. Paintings/sculpture are also usually one-of-a-kind, not relatively mass produced like watches - prints/repros are the only way more than 1 owner will ever 'own' and enjoy a piece. Artists sometimes commission limited prints of their work as well, legitimising the concept somewhat. As for the signalling status/wealth/taste thing - for prints probably not the first 2, perhaps the last one.
In other words, the primary motivation differs, the secondary gains while overlapping generally differ, and due to the inherently different circumstances around their origination the same set of rules do not - cannot - apply.
And surely, somewhere in your house(s) there are reproductions of 'art' - it may be something as simple as a garden ornament, an architectural feature, stained glass lampshade, etc... so maybe you are not that different from the rest of us non-fake-watch buying folk.
Edited by apropos - 9/18/11 at 10:12pm