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February 25, 2014

Comments

Paul

Polio-Like Disease Appears in California Children
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2014/02/25/us/ap-us-polio-like-illness.html?hp

Also
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-26289614

jonnybardo

I think it really depends. Some people start with a Rolex and never really appreciate it - they just buy it because, well, its a Rolex! They're like people who are born into wealth - they don't appreciate what they have because they didn't have to work for it.

Different people have different degrees of aesthetic sensitivity - they notice different levels of subtlety. Some get really into the legacy/history of the brand, and others are really into the movement. All of these make "downgrading" difficult.

Again, its like fine wines. Sure, you can downgrade from $30 bottles to $10 bottles and adjust, but it is more difficult the more your palate is developed. To the wine aficionado with a developed palate, there's a world of difference between a $10 and $30 bottle. Or stereo equipment, etc. The differences are real for those with the ears to hear it.

So I would adjust my "law of diminishing returns" theory from awhile back and say that it isn't as much that the returns diminish, but that the differences become subtler and subtler and require a more and more developed palate to notice.

But the bottom line, of course, is that it is individual - and whatever one is happy with, and can afford, is the way to go. For myself, I still enjoy my $200 Seikos on occasion, but they aren't in the same league as my Oris or Accutron, which are "low-level luxury" watches. I imagine that mid-level (e.g. Omega) are another step up in terms of fit and finish and other factors.

herculodge

Jonny, I can drink 13 dollar red blend wines and not miss the 50 dollar bottles. I hope that analogy applies to watches since I don't want to spend 4,500 on a Breitling Super Avenger.

Paul, I heard about that polio-like disease on NPR this morning. I should post your links on facebook. Thanks.

Angelo

Watches, diseases: Watches: If I wrecked a BMW and then a Mercedes, I too could be happy in a Kia Optima. Does most of what the others do and does it almost as well, maybe better in some areas. Ditto, Seiko Kinetic vs. his luxury watches. Diseases: In the mid-1970s, childhood and for that matter, many adult diseases were all but wiped out in the United States. When freer and cheaper international travel became the norm and when borders became Swiss cheese, gradually, these terrifying diseases have returned----not in epidemic numbers, but if it hits you or your child, it doesn't need to be "epidemic" to be devastating. There are some respiratory/lung diseases that were just about at zero in the U.S. that are now back and considered somewhat routine...and they've been reintroduced by visitors, short term and long term.

jonnybardo

Jeff, but here's the question: are you a wine expert? That's my point - it depends upon the individual, not just their individual preferences but the development of their palate.

I had a $50 bottle of wine once and, to be honest, I couldn't tell the difference between that and a $25 bottle I had had previously. But I could tell the difference between that $25 bottle and a $15 bottle, or a $15 bottle and an $8 bottle. My palate is a BIT developed, but not as much as an aficionado for whom those incremental differences are more noticeable. For a true wine expert, there's a world of difference between a $10 bottle and a $30 bottle, to the point that a $10 bottle may eventually be unappealing because it lacks the subtle textures of a $30 bottle.

The "upward journey" is probably one that is best not made at all, or at least if you can find a nice sweet-spot to settle into, a "sustainable collecting zone," that's ideal. But we all have our upward limit, or SHOULD. I can tell you that I long for, and eventually plan to buy watches in the $1-4K range (Omega Seamaster, Seiko SBDB001, used Breitling Chronomat), and its because I've developed my palate to the point that I can tell the difference between them and, say, a $500 watch. But at some point there has to be a cap, even if it is a soft one. I can see being able to afford one or two $1-4K watches a year, but I can't see being able to afford a $10K Panerai, let alone a $30K Patek Philippe. Who knows, maybe someday I won't feel the need to buy more than one new watch every few years, so a Patek won't be out of the question. But if my palate hasn't developed to that point, there's no reason to go there.

Angelo, what a watch can "do" has little to do with people's interest in "luxury" items. If it came down to what a watch can do, it would be best to stick with a <$50 quartz Casio or Timex. But there are so many factors that go into luxury watches - craftsmanship (fit and finish), history, movement, prestige, etc. I think the degree to which those things are important determines what one's cap is.

herculodge

I'm no expert but I used to work in a wine store in Berkeley when I went to college and I got to drink expensive wines.

The watch buyer has to make a judgment about quality to price ratio. For me as much as I love the Breitling Super Avenger II, it's simply too much. I topped out around 1,000 for the OSD and Tuna.

Angelo

You're right Jonny, but putting aside the luxury image, I think a $200.00 Seiko (especially $200.00 on sale----something marked down from a little higher Seiko price) would hold it's own against a luxury watch. Obviously, you or Jeff could identify issues with the clasp or maybe a slightly rougher finish on the bracelet links edges----other things too. But it wouldn't be the same as going down to a $39.00 Casio. I think a luxury watch buyer who has been away from pedestrian watches long enough might take that Seiko out of its box and admit to being pleasantly surprised at the quality and even the style. And the Kinetic technology, while not perfect, would be a source of fascination for some rich guy who's used to an automatic. The guy who lost his expensive watch in the Airport----I think the biggest aversion that person might have is losing the impressive image of his old watch. If he could move past that, I think he could be reasonably happy with the $200.00 Seiko-----though I'm sure he'd start Jonesing for a super luxury watch that he could wear on occasions when losing it wouldn't be likely.

herculodge

I would never consider wearing an Omega or Breitling to the airport.

Gary

Exactly, Jeff. Why not just wear a cheaper watch when traveling and use more expensive watches on other occasions?

herculodge

That's what I do.

Angelo

I think the highest of the high rollers (but not high enough to fly private planes out of general aviation Airports) might be wearing their best gear to critical business meetings. Picture a guy (or woman) flying first class to meet a client and close a deal----or the client going to the vendor to close the deal. The millionaire wears the perfect tailored suit for the big day, a tie that costs more than my suit----Italian leather shoes buffed to a high gloss----initialed cufflinks. This person had these clothes laid out for a couple days leading up to the meeting----in fact, they might have flown in the night before so none of the clothes were wrinkled in flight. Anyway, this ensemble needs to be topped off by the perfect watch----not a compromise.

herculodge

My Citizen Grand Touring could complement any business suit and it cost under 750.

jonnybardo

Angelo, luxury prices aren't only about image. A lot of it is, but a lot of it is also craftsmanship, quality of movement, etc.

Even on a smaller scale, in terms of price difference, I've briefly owned the Seiko SKA371 above (~$200) and still own the Seiko Sumo (~$500) and the fit and finish on the Sumo is in an entirely different category. The SKA371 is nice, but the Sumo is perhaps the least expensive "low-end luxury watch" that you can buy. I might not have noticed the difference between the two a couple years ago, but now it is more striking.

Jeff, I think the $500-1000 range watches offer plenty of style, craftsmanship and quality to last a lifetime.

jonnybardo

Angelo, luxury prices aren't only about image. A lot of it is, but a lot of it is also craftsmanship, quality of movement, etc.

Even on a smaller scale, in terms of price difference, I've briefly owned the Seiko SKA371 above (~$200) and still own the Seiko Sumo (~$500) and the fit and finish on the Sumo is in an entirely different category. The SKA371 is nice, but the Sumo is perhaps the least expensive "low-end luxury watch" that you can buy. I might not have noticed the difference between the two a couple years ago, but now it is more striking.

Jeff, I think the $500-1000 range watches offer plenty of style, craftsmanship and quality to last a lifetime.

Angelo

I agree with both of you-----I haven't seen a Citizen GT in person, but in the photos, it looks like a superbly crafted watch. Jonny----I agree with you too, RE luxury watches are more than just image. But you yourself have said it----once a certain price point is reached, it's hard to rationalize that there are tangible differences as you continue to "go higher." I don't remember your numbers (You posted this months ago) but it was something to the affect of once you're at a certain number, you have the best of everything----and any number above that???? What are you really getting for your money other than image?

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