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post #18106 of 34961
It's a real sad development, because discounts aside imo the real utility of ADs lies not so much in the ability to try on a watch bit rather the ability to compare watches from different brands side by side.

As for prices the brands will keep raising them, and there isn't a thing we can do about it because are are so many new monied folk on the market now.

Just think, the PP I posted earlier, the modern equivalent's MSRP is more than twice what was paid for it. No added functionality, but increased price.
post #18107 of 34961
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino944 View Post

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
 Just an example of great minds thinking alike fistbump.gif
Not sure if your post was of the belief that I was speaking of the RO Dual Time for 8-9K?  I was not, but in any event you won't find a 39mm RO Dual Time for that price.  I was speaking of the 90s version of the dual time gold dress watches, which the OP inquired about a few posts earlier.  The old watch is top quality, its simply a matter of whether the design appeals to someone.  The current Jules Audemars Dual Times would sell for a heck of a lot more than 8-9K.
The new Dual Time RO is a beatiful and very functional watch.  It was a strong contender when I was shopping for a RO.  The RO Dual Time originally came out I believe in the early 90s, but I think the 39mm version is much nicer than the original!  Its a great travel watch for a CEO that travels, and will be wearing everything from suits to casual wear.  I don't really think of it as a motorcycling watch...I cringe at the thought of what it might look like if it were ever in some of the accidents my clients have been in with their motorcycles!
Just to comment further, there's no doubt that the 39 mm version is far more desirable than the 36 mm, and it's unquestionably a top steel watch. You describe exactly the type of person that was wearing the one that I saw, and it's a great choice as a suits-nearly-every-activity travel watch. My hesitation regarding its use for motorcycling is not crash-related, as any watch you're wearing is toast if it hits the pavement...


steel vs. asphalt results courtesy of Nicholas Hacko's watchmaking blog

...but that it would be a bit abusive to that fine movement and external finishing to be subjected to the vibrations and occasional grit-and-gouges environment encountered on the road or in general outdoor use. That (and its lack of waterproofness) is the same reason the Reverso often stays at home when I travel recreationally, although it does make a great city watch. At least for how I like to roll sometimes, a GMT on NATO is ideal, the above photo notwithstanding.



I'd still love to have the 39 mm Dual Time, but I'm happy with my watch situation at the moment — and you can only wear one at a time. Now it's time to go places and do things with them!
Edited by Belligero - 2/18/13 at 2:42am
post #18108 of 34961

Wearing this one today.

1000


Edited by dddrees - 2/18/13 at 4:33am
post #18109 of 34961
Quote:
Originally Posted by apropos View Post

It's a real sad development, because discounts aside imo the real utility of ADs lies not so much in the ability to try on a watch bit rather the ability to compare watches from different brands side by side.

As for prices the brands will keep raising them, and there isn't a thing we can do about it because are are so many new monied folk on the market now.

Just think, the PP I posted earlier, the modern equivalent's MSRP is more than twice what was paid for it. No added functionality, but increased price.

 

 

Well, it's sad for the customer in the short term in that the deep discounts just won't be available so much.  But I don't see much choice for the makers: like you said, the ability to compare watches is what makes ADs attractive right now.  You or I can go in, look at a whole menu of, say, chronographs under $7500 or whatever, choose one, go home, find the best price online and buy it from a reliable, low cost, low margin internet store.  So they ADs respond to this by shaving their own margins, selling online themselves and contributing to the low unofficially-official prices at which the watch-loving community buys.  Sure, there's still the guy who walks in, says "that one" and pays RRP.  But he's getting harder to find.  Because he feels a complete moron when he gets home and his wife tells him it was 20% cheaper online.

 

There are plenty of posts on this thread condemning the populism, dumbing-down and endless special editions of classic watch brands.  But it's all part of that same story: if the margins are lower because of online sales and AD discounts, the volume has to be bigger to compensate.  Makers need to make money.  And if we want new movements, new ideas, and high quality, then they need to succeed.  Right now, that success either means orange Omegas and pink Rolexes for $5000 to make sure every car salesman can buy one on bonus day.  Or it means exclusive boutique dealers, maintenance of brand integrity, and 30% higher prices with no grey market.

 

I'm not too knowledgeable about watches, with the sum total of my knowledge coming from this thread.  But as Mr Belligero might attest, one of the other examples of this business reality is motorcycles: I come from Europe.  When I bought my Triumph Tiger 955 in 2001, I read all the info, visited my local dealer, took a test ride, did my research.  And then found some guy hundreds of miles away who could get me a grey import from Belgium and save me $3000.  That was a great deal for me, but a shitty deal for my dealer.  When that same place did some work on my Suzuki GSXR 1000 a few years later, I was put off by the impersonal and unresponsive nature of the business.  But in a way, it was my own doing.

 

Some manufacturers really don't like that phenomenon, particularly if they see themselves as premium brands. So around that same time, Ducati cut off dozens of well-known dealers and focused on "solus" Ducati-only outlets.  That meant that a customer had to buy from them, it killed the grey market in discounted Ducatis, and in their minds, protected their brand while giving them better margins.  It also meant, for the customer, than wherever you bought a Ducati from, it had a Ducati-trained team of mechanics and a salesman who genuinely knew all about your product.  It is now a lot harder to get a discounted new Ducati.  But on the other hand, if you own one, the resale value got better.

 

So that's how I see it - pros and cons really. The top brands will go their own way, and that will mean their prices will go up.  But if it allows them to remain what, I think, we want them to be, then it's not entirely a bad thing.  I mean, I'd like to buy a Royal Oak like the one above for $6000.  But not if it has to be a Snoop Dogg special edition.  (Sorry Snoopy).

post #18110 of 34961
Quote:
Originally Posted by mimo View Post




Honestly, I hate them all, from James Bond to Valentino Rossi.  Never understood why you'd want someone else's name on your watch. Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

By the way, that's an interesting thing about authorised dealers, Dino.  You've mentioned this issue a few times, with some makers moving more to their own boutiques.  Really, I think it's the only way their brands can survive.  I saw the CEO of a big UK clothing retailer on TV last night, talking about how "most companies now with they had fewer stores" because more and more retail is now done online.

This is slightly different for watch makers, I think, in that they need to have a physical retail presence because the "feel" of the product is such a part of the buying experience.  And especially as you go further upmarket, not many people spend $100k or even $5k on something they've never physically seen.  And there's the problem with authorised dealers: they have seven or eight brands, the customer comes in, finds the one he likes, and if that happens to be your brand, great.  But then the customer asks advice in this thread, goes to watch forums, ebay, even other dealers, and searches for the best price.  So the only way the AD can compete is brutal discounting.

If I ran AP or any other good watch company, I'd be doing the same.  I'd do everything I could to get my product off eBay, off online discounting sites, and back under my control.  Of course you then need to maintain awareness of your product with advertising, endorsements and clever marketing - I'd pay you to keep posting pics of your RO on StyleForum, for instance.  Then with exclusive boutiques (and even an accompanying online shop to make ordering easier and internationalise stock), the margins can be maintained, the customer knows he's buying from the most trustworthy source, and the brand avoids any dilution.  If anything, it becomes more exclusive and appealing.

Not being able to get big discounts is a bummer.  But if it were my company, I'm damn sure that's the way I'd go too.  Traditional retailers of other people's products are going to have a hard life, and devalue some of those products in the process.  Retailing your own stuff is the future.  
Ah yes, the Domino's Pizza Air-King.

Imagine busting ass for years as a manager to reach pizza-slingin' sales targets, finally getting that sweet, sweet Rolex you've been putting in the extra hours for...

... and then realizing that the dial is half-occupied by the logo of a company at one of whose locations you spend two-thirds of your waking life, softly whispering "we own you" every time you or anyone else looks at the watch.

I don't know whether Domino's was actually so naïve as to think that its omnipresence could be perceived only in positive and affectionate terms by the watch's overworked recipients, or whether they were just being deliberately misanthropic, but either interpretation makes it a bit of an awesome watch. It's the token of appreciation that Ike would have given to Tina.

Rolex has mercifully stopped accepting commissions to place company logos on its dials for employee-reward-type watches, so now Domino's simply has their branding (the word has rarely seemed more appropriate) riveted to the bracelet instead:



The best part? You're not allowed to wear it while you're at work.

Brilliant! teacha.gif
Edited by Belligero - 2/18/13 at 7:49am
post #18111 of 34961
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moloch38 View Post

Figured its switch things up a bit:
Marathon Govt. issue GSAR
Great workhorse watch; had the crystal and bezel replaced after last deployment.




These are some great shots...the company should buy these from you and use as print ads
post #18112 of 34961
No, mimo, I think you're wrong, you have no idea the number of people who are able and happy to pay MSRP and in fact view it as something to be proud of. Medtech touched on it earlier in the thread.

Your argument is quickly sunk by your misunderstanding of how the watch industry works. The houses sell their watches at a negotiated price to the middlemen, who are the ADs. The houses are not affected from a financial pov by the ADs discounting, they have already made their money. Except when they open their own boutiques to circumvent the middleman. Then there are all the soft reasons like brand image, secondary market values, etc etc that get affected by rampant deep discounting.

The fact remains that while we in the so called western developed world hollow our economies and communities out for the benefit of a few, we create an entire generation of new rich (I do not mean this in a derogatory way) who share little in the way of culture, let alone purchasing habits with us. We have subsidised the rich in the poor countries by taking from the poor in the rich countries.

What do you think is the single biggest factor causing prices to rise? Has it been driven by the brands? The shrinking proportion of penny pinching buyers in the west? Or the emergence of a previously untapped market hungry to catch up?
Edited by apropos - 2/18/13 at 7:44am
post #18113 of 34961
Quote:
Originally Posted by apropos View Post

No, mimo, I think you're wrong, you have no idea the number of people who are able and happy to pay MSRP and in fact view it as something to be proud of. Medtech touched on it earlier in the thread.

Your argument is quickly sunk by your misunderstanding of how the watch industry works. The houses sell their watches at a negotiated price to the middlemen, who are the ADs. The houses are not affected from a financial pov by the ADs discounting, they have already made their money. Except when they open their own boutiques to circumvent the middleman. Then there are all the soft reasons like brand image, secondary market values, etc etc that get affected by rampant deep discounting.

The fact remains that while we in the so called western developed world hollow our economies and communities out for the benefit of a few, we create an entire generation of new rich (I do not mean this in a derogatory way) who share little in the way of culture, let alone purchasing habits with us. We have subsidised the rich in the poor countries by taking from the poor in the rich countries.

What do you think is the single biggest factor causing prices to rise? Has it been driven by the brands? The shrinking proportion of penny pinching buyers in the west? Or the emergence of a previously untapped market hungry to catch up?

 

I might well be wrong about the number of people willing to pay more.  But I don't think I've misunderstood.  As you put it, the "soft reasons like brand image, secondary market value get affected by rampant deep discounting", which is my central point.  So makers have a choice: take the Omega route and allow your brand to become less exclusive, but openly push it to a wider, less specialist market for your volume. Or close out the deep discounting by opening your own boutiques, take the retail margin yourself, and accept that exclusivity of brand means a smaller volume of sales.

 

That's a fair point about a driving force in price increases, though: China and Russia especially have discovered an enormous appetite from what I've seen.  But the point you made about Medtech's observation of people wanting to buy from the boutique for prestige, is important in that context.  The prestige brands have to remain prestige for that kind of customer to want them.

post #18114 of 34961
Quote:
Originally Posted by mimo View Post

 

 

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

 

 

Hahaha.  Honestly, I hate them all, from James Bond to Valentino Rossi.  Never understood why you'd want someone else's name on your watch.

 

By the way, that's an interesting thing about authorised dealers, Dino.  You've mentioned this issue a few times, with some makers moving more to their own boutiques.  Really, I think it's the only way their brands can survive.  I saw the CEO of a big UK clothing retailer on TV last night, talking about how "most companies now with they had fewer stores" because more and more retail is now done online.

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

 

This is slightly different for watch makers, I think, in that they need to have a physical retail presence because the "feel" of the product is such a part of the buying experience.  And especially as you go further upmarket, not many people spend $100k or even $5k on something they've never physically seen.  And there's the problem with authorised dealers: they have seven or eight brands, the customer comes in, finds the one he likes, and if that happens to be your brand, great.  But then the customer asks advice in this thread, goes to watch forums, ebay, even other dealers, and searches for the best price.  So the only way the AD can compete is brutal discounting.

 

If I ran AP or any other good watch company, I'd be doing the same.  I'd do everything I could to get my product off eBay, off online discounting sites, and back under my control.  Of course you then need to maintain awareness of your product with advertising, endorsements and clever marketing - I'd pay you to keep posting pics of your RO on StyleForum, for instance.  Then with exclusive boutiques (and even an accompanying online shop to make ordering easier and internationalise stock), the margins can be maintained, the customer knows he's buying from the most trustworthy source, and the brand avoids any dilution.  If anything, it becomes more exclusive and appealing.

 

Not being able to get big discounts is a bummer.  But if it were my company, I'm damn sure that's the way I'd go too.  Traditional retailers of other people's products are going to have a hard life, and devalue some of those products in the process.  Retailing your own stuff is the future.  

 

 

 Hi Mimo,

 

As Belligro was mentioning, that Domino's Air King is not a limited edition.  Its actually a watch commissioned by Dominos and given to people in their industry that achieve certain goals.  Personally, I think their new pizza is disgusting and smells like old feet, so they should spend more time learning to make a good pizza and spend less time riveting junky medalions to watches.  In any event, as Belligro mentioned Rolex no longer takes commisions from companies, governments, royalty etc.  I've seen Subs that commemorate the Suez Canal, Daytonas with symbols from various air force units, and other models with Saudi writing on them.  They are an interesting part of Rolex history, and I wouldn't mind a Daytona with an air force symbol, or maybe a Sub with the Suez Canal insignia, but who the F*ck wants a watch that stands for smelly greasy pizza...no thanks.

 

Yes, many companies have reduced the number of ADs.  Some of it is retaliation for deep discounting.  However, it also works for the company and the AD because if you reduce the number of ADs in a state there is less competition among them, and less competition within a region means buyers that don't want to travel have fewer options, and there is less need for an AD to discount to get a sale.   If most dealers in a region stay with the no discount or low discount, it forces people to pay MSRP or close to it.  Rolex goes a step further to reduce competition (at least in the US), they do not allow watch sales via telephone purchase.  I ran into this issue when I wanted a model that had gone out of production.  I live on the east coast, the watch was in California.  They told me (and I called Rolex in NY to confirm) that I had to either travel there to get it or have someone go there for me, which is what I did. 

 

As for brand Boutiques, once one company does it, they all have to do it.  It does give a brand a more upscale appearance in some regions, and that is something that can't be ignored in wealthy areas that are competing for sales of high end merchandise.  They often have better trained personel and a greater selection than an AD, and while they do not discount the incentive to buy from them is often that they will extend the warranty (AP's standard warranty is 2 years, if you do some on line registration it gets extended to 3 years...but if you buy from the boutique its a 5 year warranty plus a free overhaul within the 5 years).  In addition, if you buy from the boutique you will have access/the opportunity to buy boutique editions that are not available to people that buy from ADs.

 

The days of really deep discounting are long gone or (will be gone soon). Imagine buying a new automatic PP Calatrava with date with a discount of 40% off the MSRP or a Nautilus for 35% off.  How about 25% off a new steel GMT Master in the mid 1980s, or 12 years ago 15% off a new SS GMT Master (not a huge discount compared to others but for Rolex it is).  How or 25% off a new Cartier or 35% off a VC.  I miss those days...as my fun money would surely go further.  However, I do understand brands feeling it cheapens the appeal of their watches and leads to a much softer resale value. 

post #18115 of 34961
pretty much agree with dino in the the above.

to dinos point, right now, rolex does not allow the ADs to offer ANY discounting at all on steel models.

also, ime, boutique sales people have been by far, by-enlarge, more knowledgable and more interested in watches, and more enjoyable to chat with, even when they know you are only there to chat, than sales people in ADs. especially if the AD is primarily a jewelry store that also sells high end watch lines.
post #18116 of 34961
Quote:
Originally Posted by Belligero View Post

My hesitation regarding its use for motorcycling is not crash-related, as any watch you're wearing is toast if it hits the pavement...


steel vs. asphalt results courtesy of Nicholas Hacko's watchmaking blog

...but that it would be a bit abusive to that fine movement and external finishing to be subjected to the vibrations and occasional grit-and-gouges environment encountered on the road or in general outdoor use. That (and its lack of waterproofness) is the same reason the Reverso often stays at home when I travel recreationally, although it does make a great city watch. At least for how I like to roll sometimes, a GMT on NATO is ideal, the above photo notwithstanding.



I'd still love to have the 39 mm Dual Time, but I'm happy with my watch situation at the moment — and you can only wear one at a time. Now it's time to go places and do things with them!

I figured the vibration could have some effect on the watch, but as for WR all ROs are water resistant to at least 50m.  Not something I'd wear diving, but rain or a swim shouldn't hurt it (although I know some people do not want to subject a watch to water unless its water resistant to 100m).  However not being a rider, I didn't think of the watch being subjected to road grit, which probably wouldn't add beauty to a RO's finish. 

 

Having a collection you are satisfied with is a great feeling!

post #18117 of 34961

Totally get you, Dino - and I assumed the origin of the Domino's thing was something like that; it was just the most ridiculous thing I could find (well, apart from my Saddam Hussein Rodania, but I think that was kind of their thing).

 

That's an interesting refinement you mention, actually: they don't need to completely wipe out ADs, just reduce the number sufficiently and make buying from a distance hard.  I'd like my "fun money" to go further too.  But from a cool-headed business point of view, I get what they're doing.  I suppose that's all I really needed to say in the first place.peepwall[1].gif

post #18118 of 34961
I agree the Domino's one looks like crap. On the other hand, a Comex branded Submariner has a great history behind it and is highly collectible.

post #18119 of 34961




Taking pictures at work to kill time.
post #18120 of 34961
Quote:
Originally Posted by apropos View Post

No, mimo, I think you're wrong, you have no idea the number of people who are able and happy to pay MSRP and in fact view it as something to be proud of. Medtech touched on it earlier in the thread.


What do you think is the single biggest factor causing prices to rise? Has it been driven by the brands? The shrinking proportion of penny pinching buyers in the west? Or the emergence of a previously untapped market hungry to catch up?

Yes there are some people that consider paying MSRP a badge of honor.  But I think the number of those people isn't as great as you might think.  Even in wealthy areas and developing regions where some people have what seems to be insane wealth, many of these people are serious bargain hunters.  Its not that they don't have the money its that they want a deal.  They like to show they are in control and they can affect the price.  I've seen people nickel and dime the hell out of sales people on fine watches (and I'm not talking about pieces that are $20K or less), and I've seen some nickel and dime the hell out of car sales people on an Aston Martin.  Yes, these people love to wear or drive high end items, sometimes bragging about its MSRP, but they sure didn't walk in the door, toss the salesman their Amex Black Card and say "I'll take that one."  In many cases they wouldn't buy the item without getting a deal.   Sure there are people that buy at full MSRP, but the bulk of buyers even in high end consumer goods want to feel that they got a deal.

 

As for the factors that caused prices to rise...its all of the above.  And actually, prices really started to take off around 2001/2002  Companies took notice that Franck Muller was charging for a steel watch with ETA movements roughly what companies like Patek, VC, and AP were charging for higher quality gold dress watches, and he was making good sales numbers.  Most decided they had undervalued their products and systematically started raising prices, even when watches remained the same, no R&D was going into them, and back then gold prices were no where near what they are today.  Back in the 1990s prices had remained fairly stable for years.  At least in recent years companies have been able to blame the increase in MSRP to the increase in the cost of matterials (gold, platinum) and transportation costs for their more recent increases. 

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