Luxury watches...worth it?

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Amor Vincit Omnia
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Luxury watches...worth it?

Post by Amor Vincit Omnia »

Sunday morning musings.

By the way, I’m not excluding Christopher Ward watches from this discussion by placing it in Other Brands. It just seemed the more appropriate location.

Premise... in this day and age when the smartwatch becomes ever more popular and we have myriad other ways of seeing the time, to what extent are luxury mechanical wristwatches merely that: a luxury?

I once read somewhere that over about £200 the value of any watch is as a piece of jewellery.

Where does the value lie, then, in the luxury watches that are our pride and joy?

Performance? Complications? Aesthetics? Materials? The oft-quoted fit and finish? Brand cachet?

What about manipulated demand and desirability creating the market, as with certain steel sports watches?

Just interested in your thoughts, as ever.
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Re: Luxury watches...worth it?

Post by Thegreyman »

The straight honest answer to the question is probably no.

I was in a Rolex AD a few weeks ago and the guy let me try on a couple of gold Rolex (the all everose gold GMT and the yellow gold blue dial sub for anyone interested), I didn't ask to try them, he just produced them after we had been chatting for a while. The price tags on each watch showed something like £25k or £26k for each watch :shock: When you think you can probably buy a small flat in some parts of the UK for that, that it is more than a lot of people earn in a year, then it makes it seem all a bit obscene.

Coming back to more decently priced watches, non precious metal ones lets say ,then yes anything more than a £200 tool to tell you the time you could argue makes it just a piece of jewellery/luxury, however you could say that about almost all of our choice of consumer goods - why is the Ralph Lauren shirt better than a M & S one, why do you need a Jag/Porsche/Merc/BMW when a Fiat will get you from A to B in substantially the same time.

With luxury goods of any sort it is how they make you feel, the enjoyment you get from consuming them and I don't think there is anything wrong with that. If you have worked hard and want to enjoy your hard earned money then who is to say you shouldn't do what you like with it (other than our better halves of course :problem: ).
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Re: Luxury watches...worth it?

Post by sproughton »

Nine times out of ten I look at my watch and don't notice the time. It's on my wrist because I like the look and feel rather than as an absolute must have to tell the time.

I think it's fair to say that often (usually?) watches are worn simply as a piece of jewellery and therefore the functional side of them becomes secondary in nature.

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Re: Luxury watches...worth it?

Post by 0uatiOW »

I’m reading the question in 2 ways.

Firstly, in a purely financial sense, are they worth it? No. The sum of the parts will never add up to the price, even when the cost of labour and other added value is taken into account.

Now comes the second question: are they worth it to us as individual consumers? With reference to watches in general, of course the answer is “yes, but how much?”. :D The value to us over & above the costs of the materials & labour certainly exists. A watch is more than the sum of the parts; the functionality offered, and IMV in the case of mechanical movements in particular, the magical way in which that functionality is delivered, along with the aesthetic beauty of some specimens and the smile they put of your face every day when you admire the dial, the guilloché, the hands, the decorated movement, the crown, the caseback, the strap and the buckle..... these are the thing which add value for me, and it’s very difficult to put a monetary value on those elements. Personally, I find it difficult to justify spending the eye-watering amounts of money we read about every day in the blogs and journals, but everyone has his or her level of comfort.

It’s an old adage, often used in the art world, to say an item is worth what someone will pay for it, and there’s no doubt in my mind that the analogy is a good one.
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Re: Luxury watches...worth it?

Post by jkbarnes »

The short answer would be yes, by evidence of this forum and others like it. Clearly, to us, luxury watches are worth it.

I think this is less about watches specifically though, and more about luxury items in general. And the end of the day, this is a purely subjective impression based on ones own interests and desires. For me, a luxury watch in the range of a CW is worth it. A SS sport model Rolex however, is not worth. I simply couldn’t in any way justify the price. It would be irresponsible of me financially.

For a long time I thought about treating myself to a Martin dreadnaught guitar as a 50th birthday gift. They represent the pinnacle mass produced acoustic guitars, have a long and steeped history, and are in a price range I can afford (not vintage!). At the end of the day though, I abandoned this idea as not being worth it - I’m not that great a guitar player, and do t actually play as much as I used to, and I seriously doubt I have the talent and the ear to appreciate what a Martin brings to the table. I once bought a limited run, high end Fender strat with some prize money I won to celebrate a significant professional achievement. As much as I adore it, it pretty much sits under my bed in its case most days. If I were to do it over, I’d probably have bought a watch! :lol: :lol:
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Re: Luxury watches...worth it?

Post by mvlow »

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Re: Luxury watches...worth it?

Post by scooter »

Premise... in this day and age when the smartwatch becomes ever more popular and we have myriad other ways of seeing the time, to what extent are luxury mechanical wristwatches merely that: a luxury?

To answer the question, in my opinion, 100%.

I could pontificate in great depth but would probably bore myself before the reader.

Worth It?
Suffice to say that my second hand Submariner that took me 44 years to acquire would now, as an investment, return me more than had I left the money in the Bank since 2013.

More importantly, I have had and continue to have the pleasure of owning an exceedingly fine watch for nothing should I decide to move it on.

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Re: Luxury watches...worth it?

Post by H0rati0 »

What price on a piece of art? Because that is what mechanical watches are; electronics, not so much.....
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Re: Luxury watches...worth it?

Post by Wis »

Mechanical watches stopped being a necessity and became a luxury when quartz watches became generally available at low prices.
As an expression of human creativity and love of art and beauty they are priceless.
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Re: Luxury watches...worth it?

Post by PaulJS »

I think that indulging in expensive watches is a demonstration of Maslow's hierarchy of needs - in the Western world we all, generally speaking, are able to exceed our needs and then we move on to wants. It just depends how the wants manifest themselves: cars, holidays, homes, clothes, etc.

Few people can afford excess in all areas so you direct your resources to the area(s) that most appeal.

But, more importantly, it is just wonderful to see someone use 'myriad' correctly instead of bookending it with 'a' and 'of'.

Apologies for the digression but it is something that I find really irritating, along with the misuse of the flying comma.

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Re: Luxury watches...worth it?

Post by sproughton »

PaulJS wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 10:24 am
But, more importantly, it is just wonderful to see someone use 'myriad' correctly instead of bookending it with 'a' and 'of'.
Surely that depends on whether the author uses it as a noun or an adjective? I'm sure I've previously read that it was a used as a noun in English prior to use as an adjective, and therefore 'a myriad of' is perfectly reasonable (even if, to these ears, a little jarring). I would assume AVO may have a strong preference given its roots in Latin (and Greek?).

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Re: Luxury watches...worth it?

Post by Dancematt »

Wis wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:21 pm
Mechanical watches stopped being a necessity and became a luxury when quartz watches became generally available at low prices.
As an expression of human creativity and love of art and beauty they are priceless.
If they are that then i agree, if they are the same old eta 2824 or seiko/myota auto knocked out a billion times in a hen house and sold under that disguise then they are no better than a quartz movement, worse even given the time it takes to make these things and the waste that must occur but again its how it makes you feel or how deluded you can make yourself, happiness is ignorance to an extent so if that eta makes you happier than a quartz movement than thats better for your health.
Thegreyman wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:44 am
The straight honest answer to the question is probably no.

I was in a Rolex AD a few weeks ago and the guy let me try on a couple of gold Rolex (the all everose gold GMT and the yellow gold blue dial sub for anyone interested), I didn't ask to try them, he just produced them after we had been chatting for a while. The price tags on each watch showed something like £25k or £26k for each watch :shock: When you think you can probably buy a small flat in some parts of the UK for that, that it is more than a lot of people earn in a year, then it makes it seem all a bit obscene.

Coming back to more decently priced watches, non precious metal ones lets say ,then yes anything more than a £200 tool to tell you the time you could argue makes it just a piece of jewellery/luxury, however you could say that about almost all of our choice of consumer goods - why is the Ralph Lauren shirt better than a M & S one, why do you need a Jag/Porsche/Merc/BMW when a Fiat will get you from A to B in substantially the same time.

With luxury goods of any sort it is how they make you feel, the enjoyment you get from consuming them and I don't think there is anything wrong with that. If you have worked hard and want to enjoy your hard earned money then who is to say you shouldn't do what you like with it (other than our better halves of course :problem: ).
Perfect answer already, the question one should raise before buying these things is does it make me feel guilty owning these luxuries given their ability to lose money and what else i can do with this money? If no then your all good, it becomes stress free.
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Re: Luxury watches...worth it?

Post by nbg »

Luxury watches... worth it?

A few - yes

The vast majority - no

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Re: Luxury watches...worth it?

Post by strapline »

Luxury watches...worth it? Well, of course, this is a purely subjective question as we all know. A mechanical watch is old technology, and therein lies the charm. Most people in this day and age probably look to their phone when they want to know what the time is. I think a mechanical movement is a beautiful piece of engineering, regardless of who makes it. A quartz watch is very accurate but somewhat bland and uninspiring in terms of its components, not to mention the way these components all interact to display the time. What this discussion is actually about is 'quality' not value. Quality is a hard thing to define, but it can be done, when you have an informed argument. A really great book to get you thinking about this talking point in broader terms is 'Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance' by Robert M Persig. Not only is the whole idea of quality explored, but Persig also looks in to the classic way of looking at an object/subject versus the romantic way. In the early part of the book his motorcycle is used to highlight the differences in the two different schools of thought, but it could equally be a watch.

At the end of the day we are all consumers. We consume all kinds of everything. Some of us spend more on food, some clothes, some cars, some holidays...and some watches. I think if a person has an understanding of quality then it matters not where they direct their efforts...and cash, nor should they have to defend their choices.
I'm a tool watch kinda guy; bezels and pushers for me. I used to dive, I used to climb mountains. I spend too much time looking at watches.

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Re: Luxury watches...worth it?

Post by Wis »

Dancematt wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:00 pm
Wis wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:21 pm
Mechanical watches stopped being a necessity and became a luxury when quartz watches became generally available at low prices.
As an expression of human creativity and love of art and beauty they are priceless.
If they are that then i agree, if they are the same old eta 2824 or seiko/myota auto knocked out a billion times in a hen house and sold under that disguise then they are no better than a quartz movement, worse even given the time it takes to make these things and the waste that must occur but again its how it makes you feel or how deluded you can make yourself, happiness is ignorance to an extent so if that eta makes you happier than a quartz movement than thats better for your health.
Even a bad painting is art. Not everyone can afford a Picasso.
Bjørn

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