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The Watch Appreciation Thread - Part two (Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Jaeger LeCoultre,

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by mimo, Feb 12, 2016.

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  1. mafoofan

    mafoofan Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I'm not sure I understand the "more limited editions" versus "limit more editions" issue.

    However, I have thought for quite some time that the high-end watch market is becoming increasingly over-saturated with pretender brands. There are true blue chips (Patek and Rolex come to top of mind) that may sell fewer watches in the next year or two, but will not need to meaningfully restructure their pricing model or model line-ups. They will soldier on as they always have, finding safety in the long-term value proposition and prestige they offer consumers and collectors. It's the Hublots and Glashuette Originals of the world that are in real trouble--resuscitated, refashioned brands that have aggressively increased prices chasing over-exuberant luxury buyers who don't have enough knowledge to understand they are buying an illusion.

    I'm most interested to see what will happen to the companies in between--established, "real" firms that don't quite reach Patek-level prestige (Lange, JLC, IWC, Omega, etc.). These companies, I would wager, will recalibrate to focus on core offerings, eliminate slower selling model lines, introduce more entry-level models, and perhaps lower prices across the board.
     
  2. Belligero

    Belligero Senior member

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    Limited editions are bullshit.
     
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  3. Dino944

    Dino944 Senior member

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    I also forgot to mention, but its related on some level to your thoughts on Hublot and GO, that we will see fewer resuscitated brand names and possibly some will be absorbed or disappear altogether depending on pricing and competition. I've never seen much need for or interest in brands like Perrelet or Arnold & Sons/British Masters.

    Rolex being as large as it is and having weathered many rough market changes etc, will be unaffected. Patek, at the high end is fine, and they have their supporters who will buy regardless, but I do question whether they can continue the way they have in the last 10+ years at least with regard to their lower end models. They make great watches, but their pricing is ridiculous with respect to Calatravas and "Lower end models."

    It will be interesting to see how the various brand will move forward in the next few years.
     
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  4. BLAUGRANA

    BLAUGRANA Senior member

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    It actually means both. I was referring to both limiting the production of limited editions as well as in some cases standard production pieces.

    I wasn't referring to specific brands, but I definitely wasn't referring to PP, AP or VC. That said I think other brands like JLC for instance would benefit from such a move. While I don't see the pieces being more exclusive as entirely a way to broaden appeal or increase sales, though I think that's a definite possibility from such a move, it would in many cases likely allow brands in some cases to be able to limit discounting and thus make more of a margin.

    That's actually not correct. I said that limiting more editions could keep them from having to lower prices "more than they need to." I didn't say that it could keep them from having to lower their prices at all. I stand by that statement too. What's more though, I never offered this as the only solution much less the main solution to their problem. I said "one thing that comes to mind" in reference to this point and I also mentioned being interested in seeing what some manufacturers can offer at the $3000 price point for example. I agree with you that they'd have to come up with solutions for lost volume and economies of scale. In fact that came to mind when I put forth the notion of limiting some production. I work for a company in a similar predicament, though not as a result of hiking up prices, and they're limiting production in addition to other moves. When discussing this with some of my peers in management I've commented on the economies of scale as there is already a built in amount of sales simply from volume even at a discount and that the company can't just limit production by a great degree overnight. Of course I don't work for a company that produces watches.

    I respect your view and that of your watch collecting friends and to an extent agree with it. In fact I'm certain it's a part of the problem as I'm sure there are multiple issue out there. However you're just a very small portion of the watch consuming public. There are still buyers out there who view pieces they love as "must have" and who very likely when faced with paying closer to full retail for such a piece as it's even more limited than even today's production numbers (which aren't always that "limited") will do so.

    At the end of the day we do have different ideas, but I think they both apply as part of the solution for the watchmakers.
     
  5. xMaximex

    xMaximex Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
     
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  6. mafoofan

    mafoofan Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Well, each specific brand has a specific problem. The downward market shift is just forcing them to each bear with reality.

    JLC will likely have to bring down prices and rationalize its model line-up. They have always been more of a volume, value-for-money player. High-end, haute horologie exclusivity is not in their DNA--despite where they have tried to push and market themselves. I don't understand who's buying $30k+ JLCs. Hell, I barely understand the market for JLCs at $20K or $15K a piece.

    AP suffers from a crack-cocaine addiction to the Royal Oak. That single model has become nearly synonymous with the brand and, unfortunately, the company seems happy enough to fuel short-term gains by marketing ever-multiplying variations and limited editions. Needless to say, this practice is terribly corrosive to long-term brand equity. People talk about the "trinity" of Patek, VC and AP--but realistically, when was the last time anyone ever gave a second thought to AP's Jules Audemars model, their only "normal" dress model? When all the irrational exuberance dies down, so will the love party for the thousands of Royal Oak variations, which are mere novelties. Then what for AP? Luxury consumers won't be buying anymore of the latest carbon fiber Royal Oak Offshore, yet more classic-minded collectors haven't considered a new AP in years, if not decades.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2016
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  7. SteveH35

    SteveH35 Senior member

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    I have been doing Hourtime Podcasts recently with Ariel from ablogtowatch and gotten into this topic of current market and production. I spoke a bit about it in the one I did a few weeks ago, and more in one that should be released this week.

    In the meantime, I've been getting back into FP Journe recently myself. Been a Journe collector since 2002 and sometimes move away, but always come back. These are recent pick ups for my personal collection. Chronometre Bleu (BEST value for money in modern horology IMHO), Black Label Tourbillon (single best Journe piece IMHO), and an URWERK 203 for good measure, which is my favorite URWERK.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Best4Best

    Best4Best Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  9. tim_horton

    tim_horton Senior member

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    For the JLC afficionados:

    I've been looking at the standard used watch sources for a specific Reverso model - the Grande Taille. I've seen it in the metal, and one of the things I like about it was the guilloche dial. Most of the ones I've seen online that are for sale look like they don't have the guilloche dial. Are there two versions of this watch?
     
  10. mafoofan

    mafoofan Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Some time around 2004, JLC harmonized their Reverso line-up (before throwing back into chaos multiple times over the next decade) and added guilloche to the dial of the Grande Taille model. If you are looking at a no-guilloche Reverso Grande Taille, it is pre-2004.

    But then, all Reverso Grande Taille watches are at least pre-2009, when they were replaced by the Grand Reverso 976, which was itself discontinued in 2014. As far as I am aware, there is no large case, classic dial, manual, time-only Reverso in the current line-up. The closest is the Reverso Classic Large, but that has an automatic movement and is slightly different in size (slightly bigger or smaller, I forget). All these models had (or have) guilloche dials.
     
  11. DLJr

    DLJr Senior member

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    Love those Journes @SteveH35. The Bleu is a realistic get for me and definitely on my wish list.
     
  12. cchen

    cchen Senior member

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    Do it! You won't regret it.
     
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  13. tigerpac

    tigerpac Senior member

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    The pull of the bleu is strong!


    Thinking about it even though I have a Chrono Sovereign...
     
  14. tim_horton

    tim_horton Senior member

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    Thanks for confirming my suspicions. It's a shame that JLC went automatic for their new time-only Reversos.
     
  15. mafoofan

    mafoofan Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    The could switch back any month now, at the rate they're going. Also, I'm sure you can find a new Grande Reverso 976 somewhere.
     
  16. Dino944

    Dino944 Senior member

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    Limited editions generate additional revenue, and can ignite some interest in a model that collectors already have (but to not yet own "this version") but I don't think they lead to true growth for most companies.

    Yes, perhaps the companies I referenced were too specific, or not brands you would apply your theory to. However, I think many companies can't really afford to be more exclusive . Brands like Zenith, Piaget, GP, etc are hardly well known. If they become more exclusive they possibly run the risk of becoming so obscure as to not sell enough units to be profitable. Companies like IWC, Omega and JLC, make great products, but I'm not sure they can afford to cut production as they are dependent on being large volume companies. In addition, making limited editions or making fewer Pilot watches, Seamasters, and Reverso's isn't necessarily going to make a company more exclusive and therefore allow them to charge retail and get it. JLC has made some great limited editions, but they have a track record whereby anything above the $25K price range (even limited editions), end up being very difficult for dealers/boutiques to move and they end up selling at big discounts or going to grays and selling there at big discounts.

    Yes, as you point out there are people who will pay closer to full retail for limited editions...but last years numbers may be a wake up call to Swiss companies that they need to make serious changes and that they can't simply depend on consumers loving limited editions enough and paying near retail to make up for lagging sales. You seem to really like limited editions, and yet you seem rather price conscious with your purchases. That suggests there are consumers who may want a limited edition very badly, but plenty will wait and search for avenues that will allow them to avoid paying near full retail at ADs/Boutiques...whether it means going through grays or pre-owned.

    Limited production or limited editions don't necessarily elevate a brand and make it more desirable. It might garner additional interest in a specific model. If you were going to buy a Speedmaster and there is a limited version, then why not get the limited version if you like it. However, IMHO the brand is the same...making a limited model or lower production numbers doesn't put it on par with say Patek. Granted I'm only one person, but if they limited production on the Seamaster series, it would mean nothing to me as I really only am interested in their Speedy Pro. In addition, if limiting production across the board led to them not negotiating on price or drove prices upward...I'd probably then consider other brands that may be considered finer watches. So that doesn't necessarily work to their benefit.

    Actually, in terns of AP...which Foo already discussed, I actually find myself turned off by their limited editions. There simply are too many and they don't seem more special simply by being limited editions. Hence, I chose what many would consider a classic RO, the 15202. Its not a limited edition and they have been in production for years. As you mentioned, I'm just one person. In addition, so far AP has done well selling limited editions...but I don't think limited edition after limited edition can truly be sustained without people eventually saying WTF...I already have it in 2 or 3 colors...perhaps its time for something different.

    The $3-4K could be a good range for some brands...as more consumers can afford to spend 3-4K rather than $5-10K or more. However, it seems many brands have left that range (particularly the under 5 range some time ago). The only big name brand that recently went back to offering something for that amount was Cartier with their Tank Solo XL auto. It will be interesting to see if that is successful for them or if it is a wasted effort and they eventually nix it and focus on battling with Rolex, IWC, Omega in the $6K and over.

    I'm not very good with Memes, but all the limited editions from various watch brands starts to remind me of those "Yo Dawg" memes..."You Dawg, I heard you like limited edition watches, so we made a limited edition, of limited edition, of a limited production model, from a company with very limited production numbers...so you can wear a limited edition of a limited edition, when you wear a limited edition." [​IMG] Cheers!
     
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  17. culverwood

    culverwood Senior member

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    Tim

    Until very recently there was a time only Grand Reverso Ultra Thin with a manual wind and guilloche dial [2788520] . They may still be in stock at some distributors if that type is on your radar..
     
  18. mafoofan

    mafoofan Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    If a brand has to issue lots of limited editions, that says something about the brand's lack of intrinsic prestige/reputation amongst collectors--particularly when said limited editions aren't meaningfully special. Unless your name is Patek, your limited edition watch is not likely to garner any greater resale value than its corresponding regular edition model, which means the only people willing to pay a premium for it new are less knowledgeable luxury buyers easily tickled by the latest "in" watch, not serious collectors, the clients needed for sustained, long-term growth.

    The Royal Oak 15202 is literally the only new AP I would consider buying. All others are blegh and pointless.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2016
  19. Best4Best

    Best4Best Well-Known Member

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    One of the best value for the money....and a fine dress watch....Zenith

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I got the watch new for around $1500 about 10 yrs ago and even now can buy it for around $3500.....

    I would recommend Zenith to anyone who wants a starter dress watch


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  20. mafoofan

    mafoofan Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Early 2000's Zenith was fantastic stuff. Understated, elegant, great value.

    Today's Zenith is a near total180.
     

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