Originally Posted by DerangedGoose
The problem with the Submariner nowadays is that it was never meant to be a luxury watch. It was supposed to be a high quality, robust working tool that a working person could afford and rely on. Not cheap, but not luxury. Put simply, there is absolutely nothing in the modern submariner that makes it worth 7000 dollars. Neither the engineering nor the materials nor the COSC certification (easily acheived by watches orders of magnitude cheaper and home tinkerers everywhere). By that reasoning, I might as well go for a Daytona at 11k, since at least that offers a chronograph. The Submariner is by all means a quality piece, but you can achieve the same quality or better from any number of other brands making steel divers. What you are paying for with Rolex is the aggressive marketing, the purposeful display of conspicuous consumption, and essentially downpaying for increased resale prices down the road.
I will stand by my statement that titanium is superior to steel. People who argue about "heft" are missing the point -- anyone can build a thick and/or heavy watch. To create something that is thinner, more streamlined, and from a superior material is what takes skill. "Heft" is a scam and is about pulling wool over people's eyes. If you have ever dived with a steel diver on a steel bracelet, it gets annoying. It becomes anchor/ballast tied to your wrist. A titanium watch disappears by comparison.
I strongly encourage you to handle one of Seiko's Brightz/Diashield hardened titanium watches. The look is indistinguishable from steel and the mirror finish is diamond hard. You will never see swirls or hairlines in it. It is in every way the most superlative material for a functionality oriented timepiece. I wish Tudor had used a similar material but my goal in this enterprise is to find a clean, robust daily wear watch that will transition into any activity or scenario I want. To me, that is how you bond with a watch.
Sorry, while it was meant to be a tool watch it was quite expensive, even decades ago. Its not as though your average plumber or electrician were wearing them. Doctors, lawyers, engineers, and professional divers wore them, but average people could not afford them even when they were only a few hundred dollars. The difference was people's incomes were substantially less.
As for the the Sub not being worth $7,000, most watches are overpriced. When I see what the competition offers, be it IWC, Breitling, Omega, Cartier, Blancpain, etc. $7,500 isn't unreasonable. Hell, many of IWCs diving watches don't even have shoulders to protect the crown. Years, ago I was speaking with someone that actually did deep sea diving as part of his engineering job, and he said he'd never buy a dive watch without shoulders. He said, bang the crown against part of a bridge or a rig underwater and now you have a nice entrance for water to get into the watch. As for the materials not being worth the cost, they have continued to improve the watch and the materials used, be it ceramic bezels, the blue parachrom hair springs, and completely new bracelets and glide lock clasps. As for the certified chronometer, so what? Omega and others do that too. I don't think its important these days, but it doesn't detract from the watch, and its not like its 30% of the watch's cost.
Yes, there is aggressive marketing has helped them, but realistically, they are the standard by which all others are measured. Most companies' dive watches look like modified Submariner designs so as not to look like blatant copies. You also stated "Other big houses, even mainstream ones like Omega, are pushing innovation while Rolex rests on laurels earned decades ago. It may last them another 50 years but it wont be forever. As Rolex has pushed the Submariner ever market, it deserves ever more stringent scrutiny against upmarket standards, and it simply doesnt measure up." Yet you ignore that the Submariner has been revised numerous times over its +60 year life span. There are so many changes over the decades that one can actually see where the R&D has gone over the years. Deeper depths, the original was good for 100m, then 200m, now 300 meters. Shoulders to protect the crowns, ratcheting bezels that move in one direction, sapphire synthetic crystals, different movements, new cases, new bezel materials, new bracelets and clasps, etc. Many of the things I listed, today we take for granted, but they were used on Rolex before many other brands adopted them. I just don't see any of their competitors offering a substantially better product for less money. I think their competitors do offer some good products, but I don't think I've seen something better for less money. I like the Blancpain 50 Fathoms and that you can get in Ti, but IIRC, that's about the price of 2 Submariners. Furthermore, I'm uncertain what these amazing innovations are that Omega and others have pushed while Rolex as you say sat on their laurels.
As for Rolex designs, its funny but detractors dump on them saying they still have the same designs they have 50 + years ago, but someone brings up a Patek Calatrava , and well that's a classic design. That's a watch that went from having an MSRP of $9,600 in the late 1990s (and being available at a 35% discount from ADs so you could pick them up for about $6K or just under) and now they are $30K? They enlarged their cases a few millimeters s, but where is the R&D in that watch? So I supposed if its Patek they get a pass for making something about the same for 80 years with little R&D, and jacking up the price, because they are Patek. Beyond, that one of my biggest issues with Omegas's Seamaster their lack of evolution or a coherent collection (until recently). Omega used to changed up models all the time and many are incredibly dated... just look at Seamasters of the 1960s, the 1970s, the 1980s, the 1990s. You can basically tell the decades just by looking at the watches. Some are retro cool, some are just sad looking.
Maybe some people like a disposable design, that gets tossed out the window every 5 years like the latest Nissan. However, I like designs that evolve and stand the test of time. I like that the JLC Reverso is available in a design quite similar to the original from 80s years ago, and that Omega offers a Speedy Pro in a form similar to their original model (although most collectors prefer the original movement over the new) , or that AP and PP offer designs similar to their original RO and Nautilus.
While its clear you are not a Rolex fan (nobody' perfect ), I think you have over simplified various issues in your discussion about Rolex and their competitors.
As for Titanium, its interesting, its strong, its light, and it tough. As you said it doesn't show swirls. The converse of that is that because its so difficult to work with and solid, if you get a deep scratch or ding, its nearly impossible to polish it out. Also, it makes many watches look far more casual and less versatile than their SS siblings. I might get a Ti watch someday just to have something different from what I have, but I've never truly needed or wanted a watch in Ti.