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classicalthunde

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I actually dropped by Watches of Switzerland at Hudson Yards yesterday with my family to get out of the heat.

First of all, I am such proud dada. Upon entering the store, my 5-year-old daughter pointed at the Patek and Rolex signs and exclaimed: “They have Patek watches and also Rolex! Let’s look at Patek first!”

There were very few Pateks to look at. Obviously, there were no Nautilus or Aquanaut models, but also nothing else other than a few ladies watches. No Calatravas, no smaller complications (annual calendars, travel time, etc.), nothing. Ninety percent of the display slots were empty. This was true last time I was at Wempe in midtown and the Soho Watches of Switzerland as well. Point is, Pateks in general are running scarce.

The Rolex section was even more ridiculous. All slots were empty except for TWO watches, including a 34mm rose gold Datejust. I don’t remember the other, but it was also a smaller ladies model.

Every other brand’s display area was fully-loaded (e.g. Vacheron, Omega, IWC, JLC, etc.). They had like six Speedmaster moon watches ready for purchase, including a couple of the outgoing version.

In some ways, this is to be expected. Perhaps, the broader watch consumer market is simply catching up to more serious collectors, who began heavily consolidating their collections on Patek and Rolex about ~10 years ago. Before then, it was more common for enthusiasts to dabble across the different makers. These days, it’s Patek, Rolex, independents, or you’re a beginner.

Will this change? For reasons discussed before, Patek and Rolex have unique appeal to collectors. The other brands from Richemont and LVMH tend to feel a lot more anonymous and luxury consumerist oriented. Hard to put a finger on exactly why, but one key element is that their marketing tends to feel a lot more forced and their watches feel a lot more influenced by marketing. In contrast, Patek and Rolex exude somewhat of a “we don’t give a fuck what you want” attitude. This reflects their conservativism and reinforces an aura of permanence.

In short, increasingly few people have concentrated collections of watches from the likes of IWC or JLC or even Lange. People who buy those watches tend to be more casual about collecting or will never buy more than one or two. Anecdotally, most of my friends and co-workers who have nice watches from such brands tend to have only that single watch, aren’t serious enthusiasts, and usually bought it because they saw an ad or think the brand is “cool”.

Given the underlying drivers, the current trend toward market bifurcation may be more secular than cyclical, unfortunately.
I think its interesting to see how the availability changes based upon location. The AD I've been popping my head around over the past couple of months is certainly within commute distance from NYC and had a decent number of Pateks on my last visit a couple of weeks ago including an Elipse, a 5196, a pair of 5227s, a 5396, a 5327, and a 5390 and a handful of ladies models that I'm not familiar with (they are undergoing a pretty big renovation, so working in a consolidated space and I believe the Patek case was set up for 12 or 16 watches total).

Their Rolex set up had 2 or 3 entire cases at the front of the store and probably 2 ladies models available in the whole thing. The SA mentioned that they were tripling their Rolex case foot print in the renovation, to which I asked 'what's the point if the cases are just going to continue to be empty?' and he then talked about how the size of your Rolex display played into your allocations
 

pmeis

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Checked out Zenith Vintage chrono reissue yesterday and was surprised how small it looks. Small even for 1970s vintage style.
Interesting Zenith Defy range of watches. Tonn of Longines, Blancpains and Breitling available. Some are very cool. Glaschutte reddish sunburst dials are gorgeous.
The Zenith A384 reissues feel small to handle, but the case shape gives it s bigger presence on wrist IME. They are strange watches, but I love them.
 

Nickd

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I still feel like Tudor is a watch for enthusiasts...is that changing? Is the "general watch-buying public" starting to buy them?
If the number of places you can get them is anything to go by then I’d say they are pretty mainstream now. I don’t think you’d give up space for other brands for an enthusiast

Buying Tudor means you have stopped dreaming and succumbed to mediocrity.
I’ve already got watches by other manufacturers, I just don’t want something as obvious as a Rolex for a watch I’d intend to travel with.

I do appreciate I’m talking to myself though as I’m pretty sure you are actually a contrarian bot.
 

mak1277

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If the number of places you can get them is anything to go by then I’d say they are pretty mainstream now. I don’t think you’d give up space for other brands for an enthusiast
I guess I'm going by the fact that I've never seen anyone wearing a Tudor in real life, nor have I ever met anyone who's heard of them except for enthusiasts. I certainly don't think they have the general mainstream appeal that matches Omega, Panerai, IWC, or even Tag, frankly. I accept that I may be wrong though and that times are changing.

Also, I wonder how many places choose to carry Tudor vs. being gently asked to carry Tudor by their Rolex overlords.
 

Deeky

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Well the popular Tudor models are also basically all sold out and difficult to get in SG, for all it's worth. But then again, SG is a very unrealistic and inane market
 

Nickd

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I guess I'm going by the fact that I've never seen anyone wearing a Tudor in real life, nor have I ever met anyone who's heard of them except for enthusiasts. I certainly don't think they have the general mainstream appeal that matches Omega, Panerai, IWC, or even Tag, frankly. I accept that I may be wrong though and that times are changing.

Also, I wonder how many places choose to carry Tudor vs. being gently asked to carry Tudor by their Rolex overlords.
Omega and Tag seem to be the brands worn by people who want a nice watch but aren’t that into it. I see Omega on people’s wrists more than any other brand, Rolex included.

In my local large Mall there are two Tudor ADs. One is also a Rolex AD, the other isn’t - I suspect you are at least partially right, but I know the Black Bay range, especially the chrono and silver models are selling well for them.
 

Drek Galloche

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The Zenith A384 reissues feel small to handle, but the case shape gives it s bigger presence on wrist IME. They are strange watches, but I love them.
They are interesting watches but I did not expect zenith to stick to vintage size so literally. A bit of a punt on their part. I do like real vintage pieces with brown dials that are sold for the same price as new ones.
I am currently hunting for very underappreciated chrono from a very famous and storied maker that noone cares about. Hard to find a good example though as they are rare.
 

George Red

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I actually dropped by Watches of Switzerland at Hudson Yards yesterday with my family to get out of the heat.

First of all, I am such proud dada. Upon entering the store, my 5-year-old daughter pointed at the Patek and Rolex signs and exclaimed: “They have Patek watches and also Rolex! Let’s look at Patek first!”

There were very few Pateks to look at. Obviously, there were no Nautilus or Aquanaut models, but also nothing else other than a few ladies watches. No Calatravas, no smaller complications (annual calendars, travel time, etc.), nothing. Ninety percent of the display slots were empty. This was true last time I was at Wempe in midtown and the Soho Watches of Switzerland as well. Point is, Pateks in general are running scarce.

The Rolex section was even more ridiculous. All slots were empty except for TWO watches, including a 34mm rose gold Datejust. I don’t remember the other, but it was also a smaller ladies model.

Every other brand’s display area was fully-loaded (e.g. Vacheron, Omega, IWC, JLC, etc.). They had like six Speedmaster moon watches ready for purchase, including a couple of the outgoing version.

In some ways, this is to be expected. Perhaps, the broader watch consumer market is simply catching up to more serious collectors, who began heavily consolidating their collections on Patek and Rolex about ~10 years ago. Before then, it was more common for enthusiasts to dabble across the different makers. These days, it’s Patek, Rolex, independents, or you’re a beginner.

Will this change? For reasons discussed before, Patek and Rolex have unique appeal to collectors. The other brands from Richemont and LVMH tend to feel a lot more anonymous and luxury consumerist oriented. Hard to put a finger on exactly why, but one key element is that their marketing tends to feel a lot more forced and their watches feel a lot more influenced by marketing. In contrast, Patek and Rolex exude somewhat of a “we don’t give a fuck what you want” attitude. This reflects their conservativism and reinforces an aura of permanence.

In short, increasingly few people have concentrated collections of watches from the likes of IWC or JLC or even Lange. People who buy those watches tend to be more casual about collecting or will never buy more than one or two. Anecdotally, most of my friends and co-workers who have nice watches from such brands tend to have only that single watch, aren’t serious enthusiasts, and usually bought it because they saw an ad or think the brand is “cool”.

Given the underlying drivers, the current trend toward market bifurcation may be more secular than cyclical, unfortunately.
My AD told me that Rolex has instructed all ADs to change their display cases. Rolex ADs used to have display cases that allowed for large spreads and plenty of real estate in them. Rolex now provides all ADs with what is essentially a small trey that looks like a cafeteria trey. In it, there are about 3 slots, each accommodating one watch. ADs are not allowed to have more than 3-4 "treys." If you look at modern display cases, there are MILES of empty space between each trey and almost all slots in the treys are empty.

These fuckers are deliberately, actually limiting models on display to no more than 9, or so, total models. When I picked up my Big Pilot on Saturday, my AD had like three 30-something millimetre, two tone Datejusts. That's it. It's sad. My AD was kind enough to "check in the back for me" and offered me a white gold, 42mm Yachtmaster (on the Oysterflex strap), but I politely refused, as I think that watch is hideous.

In conclusion, the watch market is sad.
 

pmeis

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They are interesting watches but I did not expect zenith to stick to vintage size so literally. A bit of a punt on their part. I do like real vintage pieces with brown dials that are sold for the same price as new ones.
I am currently hunting for very underappreciated chrono from a very famous and storied maker that noone cares about. Hard to find a good example though as they are rare.
If they were to "right size" them, then they get people bitching about why does everything have to be inflated in size. I've certainly seen these types comments on almost every other vintage reissue that gets put out in a larger size.

They did make a couple larger reissue in 2009 for the 40th anniversary. It loses something at that size at least...kind of looks a bit ungainly.
 

mak1277

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If they were to "right size" them, then they get people bitching about why does everything have to be inflated in size. I've certainly seen these types comments on almost every other vintage reissue that gets put out in a larger size.

They did make a couple larger reissue in 2009 for the 40th anniversary. It loses something at that size at least...kind of looks a bit ungainly.
Yep, again the difference between catering to enthusiasts vs. general public
 

reidd

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Just to fuck with everyone, Patek should re-release the Neptune as a replacement for the Nautilus in the steel sports line. I'm sure it would go full waitlist immediately.
 

Drek Galloche

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Most of my watches are 36-38mm so I am not the one for XL trend. My comment was specifically about Zenith 1970s Vintage as it has 38mm case but strangely shrunken dial that appears to be barely 33.
 

Keith T

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I'm digging the color on that Big Pilot. And bonus points for no date ;-)

Never have really liked the rivet strap look myself, but it obviously makes a lot of sense with that watch.
 

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