Originally Posted by apropos
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).