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.


Anonymous said...

Hi Nick,

There is a custom strapmaker that has an impeccable reputation on various watch fora. Shane made me a strap which is featured on his site (#1000)and the quality is beyond par.
If I can recommend him - Shane Delaurian -



Perpetuelle said...

Hi Nick,
Well stated and thanks for sharing your opinion. I tend to agree with you on matters such as this - some of these brands have WAY too much confidence (Big Egos) that their brand is so valuable they can get away with charging prices like these for what should be a relatively inexpensive item.

I wrote a similar article about TAG Heuer who seems to think they can extend their brand and create a new market for "luxury USB flash memory". Total joke.

Here is my article, wonder what you think:

Again good writeup and I am glad to hear your support the independent craftsman when this was all said and done.


Unknown said...

Hi Nicholas,

I don't think that you will lose any readers from a post like this. I'm sure that everyone agrees with you that the prices that they try to charge us common folk are more than ridiculous! Fair enough they want to continue to make money from after sales service and accessories but $500 for a watch strap is a bit stupid (unless the leather comes from a flying crocodile found only in the Amazon rainforest which only comes out on the equinox or something dumb like that..)

P.S. Please keep up the good posts, I really love your blog! If you want to post more frequently that is fine by me! ;)