Tuesday, 20 January 2009

what are you paying for?

i am suffering some serious withdrawal symptoms not having my beautiful vianney halter classic with me. it has taken a trip back home for a spa treatment and should be chilling in st croix as i type this. what this has led me to is... well... desire to get me another watch! but honestly in this time i have to say that unless you have loadsa$ to spend, its not the time to pick up luxury items (Sorry to all the luxury goods/watches retailers reading this. I know your business has been down a fair bit but how can one spend on high end luxury items in these challenging times?)



to quote from esteemed tv presenter and all round petrolhead Jeremy Clarkson, "...i bet they(state of the world's finances) are not pretty. And I bet the problems are very, very far from over. In fact, you are probably looking at your pet goldfish right now, wondering what it would taste like."
an old pic with some amazing hair on Mr Clarkson
voted heat magazines weird crush of the year...

well he may be just pushing that a little but you get the drift... necessities before luxury. and with the cost of living not exactly coming down significantly in singapore, example the cost of rice may be increasing and children nursery/enrichment classes costs are $$#@! unbelievable, the sentiment to spend on excess, nice to haves, luxury has shrivelled up quite a fair bit.

but i still have wants... just can't give in to them is all :) so what has been playing on your mind, raphael? other than the freakish delight you so crave... well there are a few other watches i have been thinking of and there are a couple in there that have 4 digit codes a certain watch brands cognoscenti just love to rattle off :)

so the 5396G was on my mind but i may actually prefer the not so busy sector dial of the 5296 somewhat. hmm.. but then which metal does it work better in and complement what i already have? how about older models like the 5054 with officer/half hunter case? and what about the FP Journe Chronometre Souverain 40mm plat that you saw for sale? hmm... the patek makes more sense for me since i have the fpj octa i suppose? how about lange's offerings? somehow i don't understand the pricing in their ranges and feel the only watch worth considering there is the dato but thats quite a lot of $$$.

so what is it to be? 5296G or R?

and what about the 5396 annual calendars? hmm

so where does it leave me with? trying to convince myself that its not worth spending on watches and save the money for whats important... a new house and spending $ for the family ;) why do u say watches aren't worth it raph? well ask yourselves, what goes into the price of a watch?

some costs and expenses from the brand/manufacture
- labour costs for all staff... watchmakers, management, marketing, hr etc
- r&d, branding and marketing, sales and distribution/relationship management, pr
- direct watch costs like watch parts, ebauches, cases, dials, bands, bracelets, metal and labour to make them watches
- expenses like machines(purchase and maintenance costs), tools, property/rents

some costs and expenses from the authorised dealer/retailer
- labour costs for all staff at retail boutiques, service centres and head office
- marketing, sales and distribution, pr, events
- rentals, utilities of all offices, outlets, service centres
- price of watches sold to them from the brands/manufactures (from 'hot' to 'not so hot' to 'not hot at all' pieces that they have to display in that brand's corner)

after pricing in all of that, the cost of the watch you hold should probably be a fraction of the price you pay. how difficult do you think it is to machine cases, work with new materials, have eta/vaucher/lemania movements prettified, order ebauches/parts needed for a watch from providers to your specs and put it all together? not a lot. so the brand x watch in your hand may cost from a pure 'costs related to making the watch' standpoint, maybe 10% or less of the price you pay.

the lemania 2310 in my speedy pictured below was probably a couple of 100 bucks or less. patek took it and beautified it and changed a couple of bits and put it in the 5070 as the ch27-70 and charge 15-20 times the price of the speedy for it. in the vc malte chrono its probably about 10-15 times...

you have to factor in the other costs noted above and the margins at both the retailer and manufacture end too. some following price hikes in the heydays of the 2006 and 2007 market growth and pushing prices to a high with the ground swell of demand as more $ was made in the equity and property markets. with the great demand and controlled supply worked out by the smarter brands, many watches sold for very low discounts and some went for premiums in primary and secondary markets. that has all come crashing down but luxury watch prices are retracting slowly it seems, much like property. the singapore property situation is sellers still asking for high prices even though bank valuations are down and buyers holding out for prices to go down further and hoping sellers wake up and realise its time for them to let go at more realistic prices... its a standoff... oh patek did revise its prices downwards but i am not sure if its across the board or in certain markets or some pieces only.

for independents, you have to consider what it is you are buying... is it art? the philosophy, soul of the creator imbued in a tiny space or is it technical excellence and mastery in ultra complicated watches or some romanticised notion in your mind of the artist artisan creating their watches... is it their lifes work, their heart and soul, their passion or just a means for them to make mo money.

some independent greats who are in ahci and time aeon...

marketing hyperbole, superlatives abound... with watch forums(many that are paid by the brands) and watch magazines(that survive on the brands ad revenue to them) doing their part to add to this and make people believe that that is the watch you should desire and buy if you want to be seen as ... (fill in the blank) ... What is it you want to project then? vulgar or conservative? connoiseur or wis or ? and how do people/other watch collectors/enthusiasts actually view you with that watch... is it what you believe you are buying the watch for... perhaps. or perhaps they think you are a sucker to pay S$50k? for a S$5k watch at most :)

but its all pretty unnecessary isn't it? i mean really... clocks and time telling devices(pc, mobile phone) are all around us... what good is a watch anyway?... i don't need another watch and you certainly don't too... but all dat said... could someone explain to me why it is I still want to buy that Patek? and kari's observatoire... and vianney's antiqua... and journe's resonance or cs... and and ...

the beautiful and classy fp journe chronometre souverain

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