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The Watch Appreciation Thread - Page 1648

post #24706 of 35671
Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerP View Post

It's not BS - they are pretty great.  By great, I mean beautiful (if conservative) designs, flawless fit and finish and superb accuracy.

I can't speak for why Seiko chooses to keep the GS line a small and exclusive segment of their otherwise massive (and highly successful) production, and I'm pretty sure you can't, either.  But if we are to freely speculate, I would say that they don't actually want them on every street corner.

Of course Seiko is "hurt" in terms of perception of luxury by being made in Japan - ignorance and outright bigotry abound.  But as you know, I wasn't addressing brand perception based on country of manufacture - I was addressing the merits of the product itself, and the continued suggestion (that I only ever seem to hear from you) that nobody really buys these things.  This simply isn't true.  Few are made, and few are consequently sold.  The quality of the product is far from BS - rather - it is evident to anyone with experience enough to assess the merits of a fine watch and a sufficiently open mind to make that assessment independent of the country of manufacture or the "story" being pitched in glossy hardcover catalogs.  Snow capped Swiss mountains are not an essential environment for the manufacture of a fine timepiece.

It is entirely possible that I am able to see quite clearly in this regard, and your vision that is somewhat clouded.

Roger, perhaps I wasn't clear enough. My fault, I did not mean that the claims of quality about the GS was BS. I meant that the people claiming the GS is great and they are going to buy one, but then buy a brand in the same price range that may be better associated with luxury, well those people are full of BS. They don't follow through and instead purchase the more well known brands.
post #24707 of 35671
Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerP View Post
 

 

It's not BS - they are pretty great.  By great, I mean beautiful (if conservative) designs, flawless fit and finish and superb accuracy.

 

I can't speak for why Seiko chooses to keep the GS line a small and exclusive segment of their otherwise massive (and highly successful) production, and I'm pretty sure you can't, either.  But if we are to freely speculate, I would say that they don't actually want them on every street corner.

 

Of course Seiko is "hurt" in terms of perception of luxury by being made in Japan - ignorance and outright bigotry abound.  But as you know, I wasn't addressing brand perception based on country of manufacture - I was addressing the merits of the product itself, and the continued suggestion (that I only ever seem to hear from you) that nobody really buys these things.  This simply isn't true.  Few are made, and few are consequently sold.  The quality of the product is far from BS - rather - it is evident to anyone with experience enough to assess the merits of a fine watch and a sufficiently open mind to make that assessment independent of the country of manufacture or the "story" being pitched in glossy hardcover catalogs.  Snow capped Swiss mountains are not an essential environment for the manufacture of a fine timepiece.

 

It is entirely possible that I am able to see quite clearly in this regard, and your vision that is somewhat clouded.

Roger

 

 

Do you think they sell such a small percentage because they realize that it might be such a hard sell? It's kind of hard to understand why they sell so little given that I have heard so many good things about them (GS).

post #24708 of 35671
Again, I think it's the whole Japanese secret brand thing. Buzz Rickson is the same way – they really had to be coaxed into selling their products to the wider market and finally co branding with Ralph Lauren on a couple of items.

I've been to couple of Tokyo Ramen shops that refuse to put signage on their doors, tell people they can't take pictures, etc.

Nevertheless, in the wider world of watch buying, brand counts for a lot. At the risk of you all rolling your eyes, you could search "Grand Seiko" on YouTube and there are couple of very vocal and very idiotic watch aficionados talking about how nobody should ever buy one. Their arguments are essentially based on the idea that a GS is no better than an ordinary Seiko, because they can't see beyond the branding.
post #24709 of 35671

I just get a feeling they would have a tough time selling the GS in wider luxury market. It just wouldn't be your typical luxury brand. I don't know of any other luxury watch maker who also sells any of their watches at such a lower cost like Seiko. Typically luxury brands only sell in the luxury price range.

 

That whole brand perception like Roger mentioned.

post #24710 of 35671
Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerP View Post
 

 

It's not BS - they are pretty great.  By great, I mean beautiful (if conservative) designs, flawless fit and finish and superb accuracy.

 

I can't speak for why Seiko chooses to keep the GS line a small and exclusive segment of their otherwise massive (and highly successful) production, and I'm pretty sure you can't, either.  But if we are to freely speculate, I would say that they don't actually want them on every street corner.

 

Of course Seiko is "hurt" in terms of perception of luxury by being made in Japan - ignorance and outright bigotry abound.  But as you know, I wasn't addressing brand perception based on country of manufacture - I was addressing the merits of the product itself, and the continued suggestion (that I only ever seem to hear from you) that nobody really buys these things.  This simply isn't true.  Few are made, and few are consequently sold.  The quality of the product is far from BS - rather - it is evident to anyone with experience enough to assess the merits of a fine watch and a sufficiently open mind to make that assessment independent of the country of manufacture or the "story" being pitched in glossy hardcover catalogs.  Snow capped Swiss mountains are not an essential environment for the manufacture of a fine timepiece.

 

It is entirely possible that I am able to see quite clearly in this regard, and your vision that is somewhat clouded.

Had to cut my earlier reply short.  As for your need to address the merits of the product itself, I've never said that they made a bad product.My main point in bringing up GS, was in reference to one of the difficulties that I think Ben will face.  Many luxury consumers don't see Asia as source of luxury watches.  In addition, most people associate Seiko with very good moderately priced watches, rather than something priced at times competitively with Rolex, Omega, Breitling etc.

Even when I think about several of my Asian friends who have nice watches or who's parents did, they owned Rolex, Patek, VC, Piaget, Cartier, and Chopard...traditional luxury brands.  Only one friend who grew up in Japan was very nationalistic and he wore a Credor.   

 

As for your dismissing history or brands, or where they are made, yes those things are simply romanticized themes for selling watches.  Hardcore watch enthusiasts will no doubt examine the watch, looking for quality (regardless of where its made or the parent company).   However, country of origin and the parent company might be tough for more mainstream luxury watch buyers to overlook, even if the quality is there.  If I said to a bunch of SFer that they could either have a pair of custom made Edward Green shoes or a pair of custom made shoes of similar quality and price from Sperry Topsider, and each would be a comfortable fit and a classic brogue, and people were familiar with each brands usual offerings, I wonder how many would line up for the Sperry Topsiders.  And I'm not picking on Sperry or anyone one that wants to wear them, I only picked them because its a brand name many people would know offering average to moderately priced shoes.   I think its a tough transition for a brand that is well known for traditionally selling average priced items to sell very expensive luxury items. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hayward View Post

No GS yet, Dino. What I do have is a spring drive watch from Seiko's Prospex range:



It's a remarkably well-designed "action watch". I'm really impressed with the design of the dial – it allows you to read local time instantly in all conditions, and it only takes about a millisecond of extra effort to make out the 24 hour time. Despite the clunky appearance it is extremely comfortable to wear - Even with the bracelet, and I'm not much of a bracelet person. Plus Seiko seems to be the only watch company that has really gotten titanium down. And finally, it's the most accurate watch I own so far. At around $3000, it's apparently the cheapest Spring Drive watch you can buy.

I think with regard to marketing issues, GS is very much like many other Japan only high end market items. Very much the Kaicho aesthetic. You don't really understand the quality in them until you see them up close. Very conservative design, with roots in postwar Japanese nostalgia. There is also the whole "secret brand" Mystique around many high-end Japanese products, which leads to their purveyors not wanting to market them aggressively, as part of their appeal.

Large watch, but quite handsome and I like the dial.  I can sort of see the secret brand thing a bit.  Or as one of my friends from Japan used to say, although it was more in reference to electronic goods, "Japan usually keeps its best products for its self and it exports many of its older less cutting edge products to foreign markets.  So maybe that is why we see very little GS here in North America, but we see lots of the standard Seiko brand products in the States. 

post #24711 of 35671
Quote:
Originally Posted by dddrees View Post

I just get a feeling they would have a tough time selling the GS in wider luxury market. It just wouldn't be your typical luxury brand. I don't know of any other luxury watch maker who also sells any of their watches at such a lower cost like Seiko. Typically luxury brands only sell in the luxury price range.

That whole brand perception like Roger mentioned.

Frederique Constant is not considered a "luxury brand" precisely for this reason. A week in an MBA program and you'll address basic brand strategy - Low Cost or Differentiated. It's very hard to be both.

At the risk of going way off topic, this is why I've never understood why brands like Kiton and Tom Ford put their logo on fragrances that can be purchased at a Kohls or a Macy's.
post #24712 of 35671
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChicagoRon View Post


Frederique Constant is not considered a "luxury brand" precisely for this reason. A week in an MBA program and you'll address basic brand strategy - Low Cost or Differentiated. It's very hard to be both.

At the risk of going way off topic, this is why I've never understood why brands like Kiton and Tom Ford put their logo on fragrances that can be purchased at a Kohls or a Macy's.

 

Yes.

 

But perhaps it reflects more upon how I've (mostly) written off Tom Ford - and not Kiton - that I still wonder about Kiton-Kohl's-Macy's versus Tom Ford-Kohl's-Macy's.  Just me.

post #24713 of 35671
There is trickle down branding in the clothing world. If you can't bespeak a suit from Timothy Everest or Richard James you can buy a suit off the peg from high street shops. Even Sexton is doing MTM. I suspect there's a growing trend of trickle down aspirational brands...
post #24714 of 35671
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino944 View Post


Roger, perhaps I wasn't clear enough. My fault, I did not mean that the claims of quality about the GS was BS. I meant that the people claiming the GS is great and they are going to buy one, but then buy a brand in the same price range that may be better associated with luxury, well those people are full of BS. They don't follow through and instead purchase the more well known brands.

 

My misunderstanding -  I thought your contention was that the claim that GS's were "great" was BS, undermined by the lack of realized purchase commitment.  I still don't accept that this 'talk but don't buy' scenario remotely reflects a generalized reality even if it is something you have encountered in individual circumstances.  Would I be correct in guessing you don't spend much time on Seiko forums?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dddrees View Post
 

Roger

 

 

Do you think they sell such a small percentage because they realize that it might be such a hard sell? It's kind of hard to understand why they sell so little given that I have heard so many good things about them (GS).

 

Yes and no.  I do accept that the brand faces challenges in marketing a luxury wristwatch both from the standpoint of country of origin, AND from the fact that they are already a successful and established NON-luxury brand.  The latter I would expect to be the more significant factor.  But it doesn't follow that the reason they sell so few is that they are unable to sell more. It is at least as likely - moreso for the reasons below - that they are disinclined to sell more.

 

First, they don't NEED to sell 250,000 Grand Seikos per year to maintain profitability.  They already manage that selling vastly greater quantities of vastly less expensive watches.  I remember reading an article where a Seiko exec was discussing the GS line and mentioned the desire to keep the line small and exclusive - something very special and very Japanese.  He wasn't directly responding to the question of why they don't sell more, but my (admittedly vague-ish) recollection of his comments lead me to believe that they don't WANT to sell 250,000 Grand Seikos per year.

 

I find their approach with the GS line both refreshing (in the context of an industry that shovels BS by the truckload) and appealing.  They have created a product that stands on its own merits independent of branding and vapid celebrity endorsement, most of which I personally find odious. I can tell you that I buy Omegas DESPITE the fact that James Bond wears one, not because of it.  And I would purchase a Rolex as my next watch DESPITE the fact that I might have to explain to some brand-bedazzled twit that it doesn't actually take a whole year to make one. The Grand Seiko buyer (and yes, there are quite enough of them out there to support the limited production) is first and foremost a watch guy.  Period.  I can live with that kind of product / purchaser association.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hayward View Post

No GS yet, Dino. What I do have is a spring drive watch from Seiko's Prospex range:


I think with regard to marketing issues, GS is very much like many other Japan only high end market items. Very much the Kaicho aesthetic. You don't really understand the quality in them until you see them up close. Very conservative design, with roots in postwar Japanese nostalgia. There is also the whole "secret brand" Mystique around many high-end Japanese products, which leads to their purveyors not wanting to market them aggressively, as part of their appeal.

 

Nice watch.  Interesting comments - thanks.

post #24715 of 35671
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChicagoRon View Post

basic brand strategy - Low Cost or Differentiated. It's very hard to be both.

 

My page of waffle condensed neatly into a phrase!

 

I'm sorry for yanking the Seiko chain; the point was rather supposed to be that the Japanese had got past this hurdle.  Clearly not yet!  Perhaps one issue with the Seiko is that it's still called a Seiko at every level.  Toyota called their premium export models "Lexus", and in a fairly short time established them as a separate luxury brand, which despite the transparent ruse, seems to have succeeded admirably in a decade.  I'm told that most of the "Lexus" models are still branded as Toyotas in Japan.  

 

Perhaps if GS were called "Suprememegadiamondplatinummountfujiartisanwatchworks" or something (that probably sounds awesome in German), they could pull a similar trick.  But I suspect that while the cheap ones still fly off the shelf and the GS sells perfectly happily to small groups of purists, they don't really give even one of several small shits.

post #24716 of 35671
i have read very long articles about the GS, and i just dont see the love. i dont hate it, but last i looked, they just did not do much for me.

peepwall[1].gif
post #24717 of 35671
Quote:
Originally Posted by in stitches View Post

i have read very long articles about the GS, and i just dont see the love. i dont hate it, but last i looked, they just did not do much for me.

peepwall[1].gif

Nothing wrong with that, not everyone likes the same things. But have you actually seen one in person?

post #24718 of 35671
Not to date. Send me one, if i love it, ill make sure to send a note.
post #24719 of 35671
Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerP View Post
 

Nothing wrong with that, not everyone likes the same things. But have you actually seen one in person?

 

I have - many times since I am from that part of the world.  Didn't do much for me, but that's just me.

 

I did receive a lovely Seiko clock as a wedding present, which I still display in our living room!

 

To the many points discussed above, I think relative pricing, brand perception, resale value, and alternative options all play a part in whether someone goes for a GS or other offerings in the market.  It's the same issue even Rolex faces once it tries to break the $50,000 to $100,000 price range: the current all-platinum Daytona will retail for $75,000.  We do not know how it will do in the secondary market, but I do know that platinum models like the 118206 Day-Date clears for about half or just a little more than half of its last retail price of around $60,000.  At those price levels, potential resale value markdowns and availability of alternative options, a guy like me would start sniffing at Patek Philippe grand complications.

 

Similarly - and this may be a bad example, I'm sure GS has other unique-looking models, but this is to illustrate my point above - here is the GS SBGA029:

 

 

http://www.grand-seiko.com/collection/9r-springdrive/SBGA029.html

 

I'm not sure about the exact retail price of this piece - but I think it's between $7,000 to $8,000 nowadays.  I've seen some posts advertising this for sale for around $5,000, maybe a bit less.

 

But for this kind of aesthetic, pricing and the availability of other options - how many end users would go for this GS versus going for a Sub?

 

Again, this isn't about slamming GS; nor is this a popularity or beauty contest ("how many TWAT members likes a specific watch" does and should not translate to what you yourself should pick as an individual: it's your money and your collection after all).  And not to speak for Dino necessarily, but I think this was his point: a whole lot of people would probably go for the Sub.  Roger - you might call them brand-bedazzled twits who drink the KoolAid made by elves, and that's OK too.

 

Speaking of - Roger, if you would go for Omega and Rolex despite their associations with James Bond, overhyped marketing and bloated budgets, etc, etc - do you think their pricing (whether retail via ADs or on the secondary market) is justified anyway?

post #24720 of 35671
Quote:
Originally Posted by no frills View Post

if you would go for Omega and Rolex despite their associations with James Bond, overhyped marketing and bloated budgets, etc, etc - do you think their pricing (whether retail via ADs or on the secondary market) is justified anyway?

Here's a good take on pricing, specifically the smaller/boutique brands vs. the big name makers:

http://wornandwound.com/2013/02/25/watch-curmudgeon-how-little-did-you-pay-for-that-watch/
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