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The Watch Appreciation Thread (Reviews and Photos of Men's Timepieces by Rolex, Patek Philippe, Breitling, JLC etc...) - Page 1178  

post #17656 of 48312
Originally Posted by apropos View Post

I would attribute the "unfashionable association with suburbia" for Rolex to the very very high visibility of Rolex ad copy, as opposed to some inherent tackiness with the brand.
+1.  Rolex has been known for huge advertising campagnes for at least the last 40 years (National Geographic, Time, car magazines, sports magazines, fashion magazines etc).  Other companiews did a fraction of the advertising that they did, if at all.

The "lifestyle of McMansions, large SUVs, shopping malls, office parks, etc" is IMO to a significant degree one of conspicuous consumption and social signalling, and it would logically follow that a popular, high visibility prestige brand like Rolex does well with that segment of the population, not unlike BMW. Sort of like the lazy way out for someone who wants something "better" but doesn't want to do tons of research prior.

Yes there are people that buy a Rolex in an effort to show off.  However, there is also a huge segment of Rolex buyers that are not WISs.  They walk into a dealer with the idea of treating themselves to one good watch to last the rest of their life (they may even buy a his & her set).  They have heard of Rolex, the dealer tells them its a good, sturdy, reliable watch. its versatile, and will last them the rest of their lives.  They walk out with a DJ in steel or steel and gold, or if they splurge they buy a Day-Date.  They want one watch to wear forever, they were never going to buy something exotic and delicate such as an FP Journe or a Calatrava, as those are not going to fit their lifestyle...those are for a WIS.  In addition, the pricing on a steel and gold model is far below something from PP, AP, Lange, those were never going to be considered. You get some overlap in pricing on an all gold Rolex and some "Moderate to less expensive" Pateks, APs, VCs, but realistically as much as I love those brands...if I could only have one watch to last the rest of my life for every activity, I would easily go with some form of Rolex...the others are just more delicate and I don't think would hold up as well in say 30 years of daily use.

post #17657 of 48312

I might need to add that small IWC portuguese to my short list 

post #17658 of 48312
Originally Posted by Dino944 View Post

 Hi Johan,

You provided some interesting ideas and a very thought provoking topic, so thank you. 

I am not sure that the lifestyle of McMansions, Large SUVs, Shopping Malls, and office parks are specific to Rolex owners.  Although, I'm not sure what the association with shopping malls means?  Whether that is the owners work in malls, shop at malls or something else?  In any event a good friend of mine owns a Patek Chronograph 5070, a Patek Travel Time, a Lange 1 Moonphase, a Master Antoine Platinum 8 Day Reserve JLC, and his most recent watch purchase and bang around watch is a Rolex Daytona...guess what?  He drives a large SUV and lives in suburbia...although his home is not a mansion.  I asked why he went with a Daytona and not a Nautilus, RO, Overseas, JLC , or maybe a PAM (since he never owned one).  He said he had owned a Nautilus an RO in the 1980s, he thought the Nautilus was nice but overpriced and too delicate, the RO left a bad taste in his mouth as his old one never kept good time, the Overseas was too flashy and ugly, JLC does a great dress watch but they have no clue what a sport watch should be and their sporty watches reminded him of the clunky watches Zenith made during the last 10 years, and he thought the PAM wasn't versatile, there are average movements in many, and he thought the thickness made it look like something for guys that need people to notice their watches as it doesn't easily fit under a shirt cuff and its so bulky people can't helpt but notice it.  He said in the end a Rolex would give him a durable watch, its not cheap but not insanely expensive for a daily wearer, he liked the design, good resale, and it can be worn easily with casual clothes or a sport coat and dress pants.  I also have another friend with a Patek Calatrava, GP chronograph and he lives in a "McMansion" and works in an industrial park.  Also, as someone that has lived in various cities, they are fun when you are in school and going to clubs, but when you get a bit older you want a home, a yard with some space between you and neighbors, peace and quiet, and you don't want some of the hassels that come with living in the city... "suburbia" even if less fashionable than a big city like NYC, still has its advantages.

As for advertising and celebrity assocation and special editions that go with them, I am actully not very impressed with AP or IWC.   I prefered their ads in the 1980s and 1990...AP going for being exclusive had the slogan "AP...Known Only By Those Who Know."  IWC had some clever ads about being watches for men and discussing the attributes of their watches.  IWCs recent ads to be honest, I can't really remember the theme.  Patek has photos of a dad and son (you merely take care of the watch for the next generation), VC had their ads about showing significant milestones in human achievement and then mentioned how old the brand was when the milestones were reached...but I draw a blank on IWC so I'm not sure how great their current ads are.  AP's ads of the last few years have shown a watch with a tribal mask or sculpture...I don't understand the ad or see its significance.  Thankfully, more recently they have been more focused on the 40th anniversary of the RO.  AP is associated with Quincy Jones, JayZ, Lebron James, IWC has been afiliated with Boris Becker, Cousteau, and all great people in their fields, but so what.  I wouldn't buy an AP because Jay Z is their ambassador or an IWC because Borris Becker is their ambassador.  These are people that get all sorts of perks (be it publicity, watches, or money) for their associations with the brand.  Years ago when Carry Grant wore Cartier, or Paul Newman wore a Rolex, it had more meaning because they personally chose these items rather than the brand selecting them and saying please wear this and we will do X,Y and Z for you.   I think kids like things that their heros wear, drive, or have...but I've out grown the age of having althetes or musicians as heros. 

Also, I find that AP, IWC, and Omega should stop making a tons of limited waters down their importance and cheapens the brand image.  AP has had limited editions for Qunicy Jones, JayZ, Lebron, Juan Pablo Montoya (I believe who left them for another company after just a year) and NSYNC.  Not to mention some hideous Montauk Edition Royal Oak, named for a traffic clogged highway in snobby Long Island (my wife is from Long Island and couldn't figure out why they would create a tribute to it).  Then there is IWC with a Cousteau watch, Borris Becker Watch, a Prada Edition, Galapagos Edition, Miami Vice, Jackie Chan, and thats just a small fraction of their limited editions.  Their only really worth while tributes are to Kurt Klaus (developer of the the perpetual calendar mechanism in the original DaVinci and an all around gentleman) and FA Jones, the founder of the company.  And since I'm talking about limited editions...Omega ought to get off the band wagon...there are too many 007 watches, colorful Speedys for Michael Andretti and Michael Schumacher (who is now with AP), and anniversary Moonwatches every 5 years, and the Snoopy Speedy Pros.  Colgate and Crest make good toothpaste, perhap AP would like to make a Colgate Edition Royal Oak, and IWC could do a tribute to celebrate feminine hygene and create the Summers Eve Edition Portugese, and Omega could go on to celebrate 50 years of the Pilsbury Dough Boy with a Speedy Pro Dough Boy Edition.  The race to make more limited editions to work collectors into a frenzy has really become ridiculous!

As for Rolex pricing, any company hitting the $10,000 mark tends to lose a lot of potential customers.  However, they are only are headed toward ranges that have already been vacated by the top brands such as PP, AP, and VC.  Many of their steel watches are in the high teens or 20s.  Although, those companies have a much smaller annual production figures so they don't have to find as many customers.  As someone that bought his first good watch a steel GMT master at roughly age 14, for $900 ...the current prices are tough to swallow...then again in 1999 a steel Nautilus had an MSRP of around $9,600 and I could have bought it new from the AD with a discount for around $6, a Nautilus is in the mid 20s so prices have gone up across the board. I guess Rolex better hope that their customers incomes go up as quickly as the price increases...although I'm not sure that is likely in this economy or where they say the current generation might be the first generation to NOT do as well financially as their parents.  

As for JLC...I think they make a fantastic watch.  Based on an article I read I see them as in between the top tier brands and the brands just below.  Everything you said about them is true.  However, they have always given their best movements and products to top companies such as PP, AP, and VC and then used slightly lesser movements in their own pieces so as not to compete with the top brands they supply.  I think they are a great brand and they could be a top brand if they chose to be, but traditionally they have chosen to stay just slightly below the top brands.  They represent a great value and have a loyal following, but it will be tough for them to reach beyond the point where they are.  Names like PP, AP, and VC have status and reputations...that JLC doesn't have and may never attain.  Still the advantage is it provides true enthusiasts with a great product at a reasonable price.   

Dino, thanks again for an excellent post which I think reveals that we're not very far apart on substance but are approaching the question from somewhat different directions. Responses to a few points raised:

1. I'm also not terribly impressed with watch advertising or any advertising for that matter as, like most educated people, I try to avoid being manipulated by marketing or paid celebrity endorsements. I did enjoy your rant about limited editions, which have clearly gotten out of hand. My point was about the mainstream perception of the brands in the retail and secondary markets, and how such perceptions may be evolving due to (i) increasing associations with unfashionable subcultures in the case of Rolex or (ii) focused and consistent marketing campaigns in the case of some other brands.

2. On pricing, it's plausible that Rolex wants to fill the void left by Patek etc. for $10k-15k SS sport watches. The wrinkle is that Patek's brand had always been associated with expensive precious metal watches so one could more easily understand the tradeoff of substantially increasing margins on high-volume lower-end models while only slightly diluting their brand for higher-end pieces. I'm pretty skeptical that Rolex has the "luxury" (pun not intended) to "borrow" brand equity from elsewhere in their product range in order to justify such price increases to the market. I'm probably too interested in watches to be objective but if I saw this narrative in a different industry I'd think the brand is recklessly abandoning market share at its current price tier. No surprise that Omega is rapidly expanding its range of SS sport watches with MSRP $4-8k.

3. On lifestyle, I'd note that I do actually like many Rolex watches and if stranded on a desert island, I may choose a Rolex to keep me company. However, I view "desert island" and "urban living" as two ends of a spectrum, with suburban living somewhere in between. I've lived in the suburbs and enjoyed the feeling of autonomy and independence because everyone does their own thing with little competition or social pressure to conform to norms and standards, at least with respect to personal presentation. In contrast, in a city there's a great deal of transparency with respect to what people are up to, and a widespread preoccupation with being associated with what cool and informed people are up to (plus a pathological fear of being left out, or missing out, cf. Styleforum). A few reasons for this phenomenon include (i) exposure to brands and advertising, inspiring curiosity for further research into those brands and markets (ii) exposure to wealthy, famous and/or trend-setting people, (iii) close quarters at home, bars/restaurants, offices, and public transportation, (iv) a snobbish perception of rural/suburban culture as backward. I'm painting a caricature of some monolithic "urban culture" as pretty rotten and shallow, but it's not all so negative. For young and materialistic people, it's (perversely) enjoyable to be surrounded by people who are well dressed and conversant with luxury goods.

Returning to watches, if I was truly in love with a Rolex model maybe I'd think differently, but as it stands I'd personally be uncomfortable to wear a Rolex as I'm pretty sure that people around me would notice and draw undesirable inferences without a chance for me to respond and make the WIS arguments in its favor. Frankly most people I know don't wear watches or wear Casio-type utilitarian watches, so to wear an expensive shiny watch in the first place is pretty expressive. To wear a Rolex is to make the statement that you felt the need to spend [$5,000] for the same luxury experience desired by a McMansion-dwelling frat boy
Originally Posted by apropos View Post

IMO, IWC has really taken off in Asia/Oceania. It is one of the "default" options considered by newbie or aspiring WISes, the sort that do a little internet searching and reading up before purchasing.

I've also noticed that IWC has made huge leaps in brand recognition. It's more explainable with AP, given all the references in Jay Z and Kanye lyrics, but I've been surprised how IWC invariably comes up when I try to talk about watches with non-watch people. My guess is a combo of a modern and serious sounding brand name and good internet presence (not to mention the watches!)
post #17659 of 48312
sidebar - rolex is the number one advertiser in terms of money spend per year, they are often double the #2 spot. they are the most visible high end watch brand. with a lot of eyeballs, comes a lot of scrutiny. for better or for worse.

also, i do think the prices have gotten a bit too high. however, even if they are abandoning their previous price tier/market share, if they are still crushing it in their new higher price point, there is really no reason in the world they should stop.
post #17660 of 48312
Originally Posted by apropos View Post

The Lange 1s are beautiful, as always. I have now set my heart on a WG Lange 1; in partficular ref. 101.027x would be a grail for me.

The prices were a little... surprising - the Lange 1 is SGD$45,000, which is approx USD$36,300. The discount was bad, nay, pathetic for Singapore - just 5%.

It's pretty surprising that you can get Langes cheaper in the USA than in Singapore, watch mecca that it is.

The 101.027x is a beaut. I'm a sure a purchase directly from a Lange boutique must be quite an experience, but if you're open to second-hand L1s typically trade at the US$20k mark. Factor in another US$1.8k for a full service and polishing and it's as good as new. Other s'pore pricing observations below.

Originally Posted by academe View Post


Prices in Singapore for luxury goods are generally inflated relative to other industrialised economies, much like HK and mainland China. Prices for designer goods, including luxury watches, in Singapore often exceed those in Europe. For example, the MSRP for Church's shoes or other Northhampton shoemakers is often twice of what the MSRP is in the UK. MSRP for many luxury watches in Singapore are typically 10-20% over the MSRP here in Europe/the UK, to the extent that basically even with the customary discount, you're still paying the MSRP in Europe! I was looking at Reverso 1931s in Singapore last year and they were quoting me on the order of £6000 before discount. The 1931 can be had for £5350 at full MSRP here in the UK, and around £4500 if you pick it up in Heathrow in duty free. They weren't offering me much more than a 15% discount, so really not much of a savings if any. Basically I put it down to a hyper-materialistic, super money conscious, upper middle-class and noveau riche for whom wearing a luxury watch, driving a luxury car, etc. is a must-have status symbol, and for which they are willing to pay silly money.

High retail pricing for luxury goods in Singapore is a relatively recent phenomenon, and as you're probably aware is driven primarily by the rise of Greater China and the SGD appreciation relative to the USD of the past few years. I bought my first AP Royal Oak (an offshore as it so happens) 11 years ago BNIB from Sincere Watch for the equivalent of US$5.5k. Back then, not only were full MSRP for watches lower than both Europe and the US, but the ADs would typically go up to a 25%-35% discount (except for PP and Rolex). At that time, the SGD traded about 1.85/1 to the USD, and Singapore was truly a WIS paradise.

Since then of course, the Singaporean and regional economy has gone from strength to strength (minus a correction '08-'09), and the SGD has appreciated massively to about 1.25/1. For the past couple of years, Singapore (at least for me) has turned into the world's greatest showroom - only for browsing, unfortunately.
post #17661 of 48312
Originally Posted by Moloch38 View Post

Here's a good Rolex story from the winning driver at the Rolex Daytona 24 last week:

The Funniest Story You’ll Ever Hear About A Rolex

Dr. Jim Norman, One Hot Lap

(Dr. Jim Norman, driver of the Napleton Racing #16 Porsche Cayman team that just won the GX class of the 2013 Rolex 24, has the funniest Rolex story you'll ever hear! In his own words — OHL)
Funny story: Today I took my new Rolex to the jeweler right down the street from my house in Tampa to get a link taken out so it fits me better (for those of you who don't know, the winning drivers of the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona are presented with a new Rolex timepiece in Victory Lane).
The jeweler re-sizes it for me and charges me $8. I say "Wow, 8 bucks, that's not very much." The manager lady says, "well, if it were a REAL Rolex we would charge you more!" I chuckle and say "it IS a real Rolex."
She says, "Nope it is not...We know Rolex watches and this is definitely a fake."
My retort, "well, I guess you don't know these as well as you think!"
Hearing this, the Jeweler comes out from behind his little glass window from where he is working on a frail, blue-haired lady's broach while wearing some very dorky-looking magnifying glasses and says, "I'll bet you bought that watch in New York." He puts both hands in his back pockets and sticks out his skinny "bird" chest in an attempt to be strong and assertive. "Nope" I say, "I haven't been to NYC in some time." He quickly replies, "I'll bet you $1000 you didn't buy that from a real Rolex dealer". I say, I won't take that bet, because you are right, I didn't buy this from a Rolex dealer."
"AH HA!" he exclaims, "it IS a fake!! Where did you get it??" "I got it in Daytona this past Sunday." "HA! I am right!" he shouts, almost loud enough to break some of the crystal elephants assembled as a group on one of the overhead glass shelves. "I know all the Rolex dealers in Daytona, and none of them are open on Sundays!" He is quite pleased with himself and turns to strut back to his window-enclosed, nick-knack cluttered cubby.
"Maybe I didn't get it from a dealer" I state smugly. He turns and says, "well then tell me, who DID you get this FAKE Rolex from?" "Well, I stated calmly and coolly, I was presented this beautiful timepiece from the President and CEO of Rolex Watches while standing on the podium at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona." "OH, Sure!" he says, "and I'm Santa Claus!!"
And back into his cubby he went, oblivious to the REAL world around him. He doesn't get it... The world is passing him by and he isn't even aware that it is happening. You gotta love life and embrace life, even if it means you have to wear a fake Rolex.
And I bet I know exactly which Rolex dealer in Tampa that was, too. I went to that shop once. Once. The nick-knack comment is a dead giveaway.
post #17662 of 48312
Originally Posted by Dino944 View Post

 Great story.  Reminds me a bit of an experience a friend of mine had dealing with Tourneau in NYC years ago. 
Or the high end watch dealer in Tampa,who literally wrote a book on the history of Rolex, but had a fake Panerai for sale A couple years back, and didn't realize it was a fake...
post #17663 of 48312
Thread Starter 

post #17664 of 48312
That Panerai is growing on me.


The part below turned the story teller into the douche.
And back into his cubby he went, oblivious to the REAL world around him. He doesn't get it... The world is passing him by and he isn't even aware that it is happening. You gotta love life and embrace life, even if it means you have to wear a fake Rolex.
post #17665 of 48312
The Pam is a top contender for my next watch. I love the design and the versatility of the straps. And the price point is decent.

My only watches now are a Sub LV and a Stowa Antea 365 - both purchased new. But I'm thinking second hand if I were to choose the Pam.

Other wish list watches are IWC Portuguese and JLC.

I learn a lot from everyone in this thread!
post #17666 of 48312
Sandwich lumeC18C32C6-B1F9-4692-8061-1553E6680A9E-1965-000000B630E42A1C.jpg
post #17667 of 48312
Great pair. 5002 and 176?
Originally Posted by gdl203 View Post

post #17668 of 48312
Originally Posted by gdl203 View Post

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

great pics. deets on sweater and where to kop?
post #17669 of 48312
Originally Posted by rnguy001 View Post

Great pair. 5002 and 176?

that is not the 176. the 176 is a 2 handed watch.
post #17670 of 48312
Can anyone think of a watch similar to this IWC "Vintage" Portofino but smaller (this one is 46mm)? 18K, round, moonphase at the top, classic look:

Edited by Superfluous - 2/3/13 at 2:43pm
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Styleforum › Forums › Men's Style › Classic Menswear › The Watch Appreciation Thread (Reviews and Photos of Men's Timepieces by Rolex, Patek Philippe, Breitling, JLC etc...)