Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A fool and his money are soon parted - but Who is the fool here?

It is January 21, and I already broke my New Year's resolution - I am
back to "grumpy old myself" mood.

Let's be realistic - I am a grumpy old troll.

And yes, I am totally aware that some of you are not going to like
this post. Few will unsubscribe and yes, I will get abusive replays.
But quite frankly political correctness was never on my 'to do' list,
and certainly not my New Year's resolution.

Yesterday, I was offered a nice Omega Railmaster XXL.
A lovely watch, sought after model in fantastic condition.
Except for a slightly worn leather strap.
We all know Omega straps are not relay cheap
so before I could commit on price, I sent my assistant across the road
to Omega boutique. The young assistant is new to watches so
I warned him not to be shocked if quoted in excess of $300.

Little did I know that I am the one up for the shock: the Railmaster strap was quoted $500!

Now, I know some of you out there honestly and sincerely believe that $500
for an Omega leather strap is fair and reasonable.

But not me!

A five hundred bucks is a lot of money, even for Elton John.

A cool, hard earned five hundred Aussie dollars will buy you
a brand spanking new washing machine, or two pairs of fine leather shoes,
or fancy TV. Even a holiday to one star resort in Fiji - but hey, this still counts as a holiday!

But what the hell is so special, technologically advanced or exclusive about
5 inch piece of leather to justify it's $500 price tag?
For goodness sake, a cave man invented his third leather strap
10 minutes after he hunted his first meal!

Don't get me wrong - this post is not about spitting venom on
leather goods industry - I have nothing but utmost respect for millions of poor, hard working third world workers
who make 'luxury' goods in swat shops earning $2 per day.
This post is about greedy corporations who are ripping us off
in the name of exclusivity, prestige and branding.

Well as far as I am concerned, as of today I REFUSE to pay
excessive and ridiculous amount of money for piece of leather that cost
$10 to manufacture. I am not a fool. I have had enough.

Here is my message to SWATCH Group: your strap prices are
joke, but we are not laughing. By "we" I mean hundreds of customers
I talk to and hundreds of watch collectors I see every month.
You have managed to upset your most loyal clientele.
This is no longer about spitting in face of second hand watch dealers
who support your brands with their own money - you have spat
on everyone from mums, dads, pensioners, small watch lovers, enthusiasts to
top collectors - and get this: we no longer enjoy your tyranny!

Yes, times are good and demand for mechanical watches is high.
But why are you taking us, your customers, for granted ?
The only reason your business exist is because of us.
The watch business is cyclical - over the 200 years of Swiss watch industry
very often the entire industry was shaken by advancements
in manufacturing progress, technical advancement or fashion
causing many makers to either restructure or close their doors for ever.
But next time (maybe in not so distant future?) I fear you will have no one to blame but your
arrogant greed.

My newly acquired Railmaster will be fitted with
a lovely $90 hand made, had stitched custom strap.
With my money I will support independent craftsman.
Otherwise, if I give in now, who can guarantee that next time I need
another Omega strap I won't be charged $750 or more?
Of course, Swatch people will call it fake. But only thing that is
fake is their silly smile when trying to excuse yet another price rise.

Yes, we love our watches, but no, WE ARE NO FOOLS.