You know, this avatar has been quite a big hit .
And back to Stitchy
Let me start off with just a little touch on the perspective that I am coming from. I love watches, I love the world of watches, and, obviously, I love talking about watches. At the very end of your thread, you said “Is the watch world perfect? No. […] But it keeps me happy.” I could not agree more with that statement. I am a bit of a compulsive hobbiest, as I like to call it, and this hobby is one of the few things that keeps me grounded, and what brings me back to this thread every day.
But I realize that the imperfections in the watch industry are a direct result of us, the consumers. And the only way that we can change whatever bothers us about the industry is changing our own behavior.
I am still thinking through my response, ended up doing more bar prep than I anticipated (“go me!”), but I wanted to post this little blurb from Marcus Hanke, the Zenith moderator on TPP. It really touches on a lot of great points in my opinion.
I want to hit more on what you said, because I think you really made some great points in your last post. I am in agreement with a lot of what you said. Of course, I really appreciate your counter-points.
Without further adieu:
With the exception of the so-called “crisis” in 2007/08, that was rather a mere economical hiccup than a real crisis, the watch industry has been through a decade of constant growth, that is marked by - who wonders - an equally steep price increase.
Of course I am fully aware that a true connoisseur, or a Purist, has a perception of “value” that is independent from an artificially created definition in Mammon’s realm, vulgo price. But it is so much easier to appreciate this “value” when you are not living under a bridge, having sold your house for a luxury watch. I mean, is there any celestial rule dictating that an industrially produced watch, with a movement bare of any hand-applied finish, and a standard complication, like a chronograph or a second timezone, has to cost an average white-collar-worker’s net income of six or seven months? In stainless steel, or course. I think not, and there is absolutely no reasonable explanation for such a price level, other than that the prices demanded are paid. And, I fear having to admit, this is a rather convincing argument.
Apparently, the number of “connoisseurs” has globally increased so much that its demand for watches supports the ever-growing production output of the luxury watch industry. And you do not have to read all works by Adam Smith to understand that this demand is driving up the prices.
However, there is also no basic law forcing us to buy all those products. A “connoisseur” is somebody “connaissant”, someone who “knows”. Which includes knowing that high value and quality are not necessarily bound to the respectively newest product of a certain manufacturer; or to the products of a certain manufacturer at all. Quality and value can be found in all places, the game is dodging the constraining influences of the masses and finding the not so apparent gems. A true connoisseur will never let a marketing department define his impression of “value” and “quality”.
There is a world beyond Chateau Lafitte, beyond those Bordeaux proud of their 1855 classifications. Many, many Crus Bourgeois are absolutely excellent, very near, if not on par with the top wines. And if you want to find a magnificent value at even lower market prices, try the wonderful wines of the Pays d’Oc, or of South Africa, Southern America, Australia, New Zealand ...
Fortunately for us, a similar rescue is available in the world of watches: I was deeply impressed by the high level of quality and unique design offered by brands like Certina, Tissot, Rado, Citizen, Seiko, and so on. When you see an automatic steel chronograph in an excellent steel case, with a flawlessly finished, shining brown metal dial, and a reliable, yet mass-produced ETA movement, that is to be released this autumn at a price for about 1,000 Swiss francs, then you will accept the assertions of some “big” brands, that their watches are so expensive because of the high prices demanded by their case/dial/hands/crystal suppliers for this quality, with a huge grain of salt.
So what is under the line of my impressions from this year’s Basel fair? We as enthusiasts, connoisseurs or PuristS have to cease being mere puppets of the “big” brands’ marketing departments, trying to explain why their products have to be so expensive. Let’s make our own evaluations of quality and value, and let us draw our own conclusions. Finally, we should not hesitate to turn our backs on products and manufacturers that in our opinion have lost the adequateness of price and “value” out of their eyes. I am convinced, that sooner or later they will crawl back, begging for our attention.
Until then, I will enjoy good watches and great wines with less prestigious names printed on them, but with the awareness of having something good.