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I have read this article a few times and kind of read it a little differently. His particular purpose is to shake things up and that's fine. I kind of think his plan is a bit misplaced because it basically falls under the category of micro-brand or basically, any Asian made timepiece. I.e., would you buy a $700 watch that was really nice but made in various locations in Asian instead of being stamped Swiss Made? Of course - just about everyone does or would at some point.

What I find more interesting is the idea that a Swiss brand may openly admit that a particular model was designed by them, but sourced throughout Asian and Europe to obtain quality parts and assembly but won't be stamped "Swiss Made". I don't know if that is his goal in anyway, but that is what I got to thinking about.

For the musicians in the group - I am thinking of things like a Fender Strat or Tele - you can buy the California made in the USA stamped headstock for ( I guess close to $2000 now) or you can get, very close to that model as far as playability and sound but it was painted and assembled in Mexico or Korea, has a lower grade set of electronics and doesn't come with a high-end hard shell case. But, you can get one new with a Fender Warranty for $300-$500. Is it exactly the same? No, but you can swap pickups and pops and wiring and get close enough that you cannot tell the difference when playing or listening to it.

Kind of a strange example, but think about it this way, I doubt Rolex would do this because they rely heavily on brand heritage and history, but let's say they have their designers and engineers create a 2017 sub and it comes at two price points - $8000 for the Swiss Made sub - which includes the full Rolex treatment and $1500 which follows the exact specs of the Swiss sub, but it is 100% made in Japan. Either with an out of the box movement or maybe Rolex owns an Asian movement maker - but labor, parts, assembly, etc. are all less expensive. Again, Rolex is a bad example because you can see how this may hurt the brand - and it is more likely that Rolex would buy an Asian watch company if it wanted to sell in that price range. But you can see my point. There is a huge market that won't reach the $8000 point but would still enjoy the Rolex experience.

I don't know. It may be totally different but it has worked well for instruments, cars, clothes, etc. Maybe it would work for watches. I think the big difference for something like luxury watches vs. a guitar is a luxury watch has so little to do with function that it may not work. I.e., I am a guitarist but don't have $2000 to drop on a strat but need/want that sound and for $300 I can get it and who cares where it was assembled? A luxury watch isn't about needing to tell the time - it is almost 100% about the brand, history, bragging rights, a goal we set for ourselves and hope to reach some day...

So maybe my point is way off, but that is what I took away from the article.
 

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I totally understand the Fender example and do agree about luxury watches on many of your points. I always say that a good watch can be had for two to three hundred dollars if telling time is the main function.

I.m.o. Rolex has no reason what so ever to change things from what they are now, they sell pretty much every watch of their popular models and waiting lists have been there a couple of times. They even can afford increasing their prices on an almost annual basis without taking a sales hit. They have Tudor for catering to a slightly different market and there very, very little chance of them diluting their carefully cultivated air of prestige and success by offering a 'poor man's Rolex'.
 
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I think you are right Frans - I think what it really comes down to is the things that hurt the Swiss luxury market are the global economy and brand perception. There are certainly a few dozen swiss brands that won't make it another 10 years - those bubble brands that don't have much of a history and don't really have an identity and I think buyers of swiss watches in the $300-$800 range could easily buy a watch that doesn't say swiss.

Rolex, Omega, PP, AP, etc - those won't be hurt by smart watches and cheaper models that are "as good as" - because the thing that is really good about those is the name and history. That's not to say the high end brands don't make a better watch - but the price is not proportionate to the increase in quality. The price is related to the desirability of the brand. Which, again, is hurt by the economy more than a cheaper option.
 

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JeffChang - I keep thinking prices have to be topping out. Everything has gone so up market lately.

Bell and Ross is a great example - cool brand, I obviously really like them, but basel this year was all about super high priced oddities - not solid core models. It is like they are trying to get to that next level but aren't really adding anything under the hood.

It doesn't make sense - and I think that bubble is going to burst.
 
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