Golden Age?

It has never been so apparent that where are currently in a "golden age" of watch making. Never has there been so many complications at such prices and, what's more important, so many people willing to spend money to buy them. Pieces like the AMVOX2, Squadra, PK Chrono, Panerai Foudroayante, Genta Biretro... where unthinkable only ten years ago at these prices. Back then, only a few manufactures where capable of such developments. Ratrapantes, 8-day power reserves, retrogrades, vertical triggers, jumping hours and large dates are becoming quite common and more affordable than at any time in history. Even the Tourbillon's exclusivity has been challenged by Jaeger's "Master Tourbillon" (about time if you ask me). New companies like Richard Mille, URWERK, Hautlence are proposing new radical designs and thrive. That inspire of being priced at what was not long ago considered insane price points. Consider the "infamous" RM004v2, backordered to the end of time at a whopping 130,000 Dollars! Insane. This used to happen with the infamous Rolex "Daytona", yet at a price point one tenth that of the RM. But for a watch that costs 130k?!?

Another factor is the "spending threshold" on watches that has been continuously overrun in the last few years. Never have there been more people willing to spend obnoxious amounts of money for a watch. Almost any brand can make (at least commission) a Tourbillon and sell it! That, in some cases, is a mystery to me. Have we gone mad? Or is it that the choice has become so wast that it has become much more appealing to us all? The survey that Velociphile once took in his blog comes to one surprising conclusion; most of us blatantly lie to our spouses/relations/family about the watches that we own. Not only about the number of watches we own but what they really cost. I am certain that most of us can identify with this. When is the last time that you heard from your girlfriend/wife say; "... yes honey, you should really buy this beautifull watch." I would bet my underwear that the last time you told "her" that you where "considering" the purchase of a watch, at any price I might add, the response you got was closer to; "... What!?! Another one??? Are you going to grow extra arms to wear them all?..." And that would be the light version.

Disregarding your income evolution over the last ten years, would you ever have considered buying... sorry, spending that much money for your last watch? I sure as hell though that anybody spending that much money had something seriously wrong with him. Since then I have surpassed that line, tenfold. What about you?


wtallman said...

One thing can be said about this cornucopia of horologica, and that is that mechanical watches are not only far from dead, but will be alive and thriving for many years to come. What now carries a price tag in six figures will drop zeros in due course, and what remains will be what is truly of value at a greatly reduced price. So, not only do we get to drool all over the pictures of the current lot, but we've reason to be certain we will actually own the best of them as they become more affordable. If we wish, that is.


Antonio said...

As with any market, boom and bust cycles occur. I truly believe that we are in a boom that has to peak at some point. There is only a limited amount of wrists out there and some of them paid insane prices for a technology that was developed in the 18th century (tourbillons) I agree with wtallman, some patient buyers will get a chance to own great pieces at good prices.

Anonymous said...

Its not about watch itself anymore, the industry are now played by the big&rich groups which doing luxury goods business. This trend is about "luxury marketing", not horological achievement anymore, absolutely not! Why we make them bigger, when smaller if much difficult to achieved? Why they only made 100 pcs, when they can easily make 2000 or more. Why people say VC is dead when AP spends billions of advertising. Why people critisize so much about in-house movement when JLC actually made them for the big-3!... To me, the "Golden Times" is really a era of dictatorship by few big luxury groups. Its a game of buying, re-packaging, selling brands.


Anonymous said...

I read the "Golden Age?"

Article with great interest.
The part about lying too your spouse about made me smile, but also scared me!I dont know how too tell her I have already ordered a Dornblueth! Guess I got some months to think about that...
I also think there are alot of overpriced watches today, the Panerai 1950 Flyback is based on the good old Valjoux 7750. Looks good but I would something more exclusive for the price.