Have flippers and mega marketing brands spoilt the fun for you?

In a recent post Rei stated that his passion for watches had been cooling due to " the bubble created in the recent years where you see prices blown up, too much hype surrounding certain watches/brands ("investment", etc.), too many flippers/speculators who are 90% more into making money rather than showing love for a watch...they really turn me off.
You also see many new & exisiting companies making watches "out of this world" forgetting the purpose of a watch..."


I would love to have your opinions on this.
Re: Have flippers and mega marketing brands spoilt the fun for you?
03/03/2009 - 13:20
Hi Alex, Interesting topic.  I would have to divide this into 2 parts: 1.  My passion in watches is due to they're being marvelous, miniature, mechanical, machines that are aesthetically beautiful as well when done right.  From this perspective, the bubble, hype, speculators, etc. do not really affect my passion. 2. From a collection and acquisition point of view - the points that Rei brought up definitely ring true.  I never really planned on having a large watch collection (so far it's 4 for me and 2 for my wife).  Maybe this is due to the issues that Rei brought up.  But I'm very happy with just a few pieces that mean something to me and can be used, with at most one piece that might be considered "collectable" that I woiuld keep in storage most of the time.  I also do this with a couple of other things that we collect (Jadeite and "Mi La" - a rare form of amber). BR, Dan
I'm sharing both opinions.
03/03/2009 - 14:20
I would therefore focus more particularly on marketing brands where you see too often LE watches without bringing anything more to the piece. This is spoiling the way of thinking and approaching collection. Best, Patrice
This is fate!
03/03/2009 - 14:42

I love watches (and I will love to raise my collection) but there is a huge speculation on watches… I love Bordeaux (and I will love to approach 1982, 1986, 1990 more often) and it is the same… I will love to have my own R. Combas or V. Adami, but here again… Sometimes, I recall to myself that I am not the only one on earth. V O Gilsoul (1867-1939) (it is not mine neither)

Don't get me started...
03/03/2009 - 17:45
Insofar as "flippers" are concerned, they do spoil the vintage market because they are often only trading in names and are ignorant of the pieces themselves.  The internet is populated by sellers who think their flea-market lump is worth a small fortune "as-is".  The collector OTOH sees the expense still to come for service and restoration.   When the same rough pieces sit advertised online for years, why can't the internet retailer invest in a proper restoration and have a better chance at obtaining their lofty price?  Are they still tuned to bygone days and hoping that escalating values and depreciating standards will finally meet at their price-point?  That has been the pathetic nature of watch flipping until now. It is with some relief that I'm not that concerned with contemporary watches.  Time will weed out those opportunist brands and their SE models.  Perhaps only a few models in a company's entire line will successfully transition to collector's status.
AFAIC, the "fun" is gone for a long time
03/03/2009 - 18:06

Laughable prices, boring watches, case diameter way too big, too many opportunist brands etc...... Alex, you know where the fun is for me now jérôme

Absolute gone !
03/04/2009 - 00:20
Now I only have a faint reminiscence of once being a true WIS. As I, Doc,  see the discussions on the differnt forums, they only are about the coming and sometimes the just released models. Prices are ridiculous and the knowledge are steadily going down. History is forgotten, if more than one or two years. Vintage seems as forgotten, were we nearly all started. Who goes to a car dealer and buy a Bentley Continental GT as their first car? I'm convinced that a majority of 'luxury' mechanical, not least tourbillion watch byers, haven't the slightest idea of how the movement is built and why. I, Doc, also feel that the tecnichal discussions nearly has disappeared, which is not so strange since you only buy new watches with guarantee, and get bored after a short time and change it for another. I, personally believe that one of the main reasons for this degeneration, is the stupid manufacture contra ébauche, which was created outside the manufacturers. "Watchjournalists" and pundits forced the watchmakers to break with a tradition, that had been working for hundreds of years. I miss the time when we discussed about what ébauche that was the start of a certain movement, in what other watch it could be found, how other had influenced each other,  when PP, VC and AP used the same movements. I will never visit SIHH again, as I never visits boat messes any longer. A quite good parallel, boats that were big 20 years ago, are nothing today. The costs has raised even there to astronomical sums, and the time people use them, are only a fraction of that 30 years ago. Sorry, but I can't see any upside and I sometimes long for the time when I had only two watches. This as I used everyday, for nearly 20 years. I also had an 14K plain Omega without date, when I 'dressed up'. Both has my son now. He has no interest in watches Yes, I know we are many who have a negative feeling now, only to wish for the 'in' people, that they sell off quick, and let us make a comeback. Carpe Diem Doc
I would say that price levels in general have reduced the pleasure.
03/04/2009 - 06:37
I discovered that if a restaurant is sufficiently expensive it is difficult for me to enjoy eating there. As far as I can tall, there are two reasons for this phenomenon: first, as the price rises so do my expectations, which means that it is difficult for a very expensive restaurant to meet my expectations. Second, as the price rises I start to feel that the restaurant is more about money than food. I am having an analogous problem with watches. First, at the prices they are asking I expect genuinely fabulous watches, and there just aren't many around. I'm not talking about aesthetics, which is a matter of taste; I'm more concerned about reliability and accuracy. Why can't a modern watch stand up to the normal rigors of modern life such as being near a computer speaker without getting magnetized? Why don't the companies just make watches that can meet C.O.S.C. specifications instead of just asserting that their testing is more rigorous (even though their watches would not satisfy the C.O.S.C.)? Given the obvious superiority of Breguet balance springs, why is the much-derided Rolex the only company that actually bothers to use them in any significant number of its watches? If case sizes are going to be huge, why don't the watch companies take advantage of the extra space to make bigger movements that would very probably perform better? Why can't I swim in a watch that is supposedly tested for 30-meter water pressure, and why can't watches be relied on to remain water-resistant for more than a year without a checkup? Why does my watchmaker tell me that pre-quartz watches will be around long after modern ones have worn out because the metal of the modern movements is not as well hardened? I have no problem with the use of ebauches, but why aren't the top brands at least buying up-to-date ebauches? Don't get me wrong; I am quite tolerant of these minor inconveniences in lower-end watches. However, when a watch company wants to charge as much for its simple watches as other companies get for whole cars, I expect better. On the "it's all about the money" point, the watch companies are giving me more to complain about that the most overpriced restaurant. I am bombarded with marketing hype; appalled by the way companies have decided that they can charge gold-watch prices for exotic but inexpensive materials; and further appalled that they have then decided they can charge a multiple of that price when they actually make a case of a precious metal. I shy away from manufactured exclusiveness, contrived rarity, and unnecessary gimmicks, bells and whistles being used as pretexts to extract money from the hapless consumer. Most of the gravest offenses are committed by "upstart" watch companies, but the established companes are taking the conduct of the upstarts as license to commit offenses of their own. The bottom line for me is that the modern watch market is of little or no interest. I have started a program of disposing of many or most of my modern watches. I simply find vintage watches more rewarding. They are almost uniformly gimmick-free, and despite the best efforts of the auction houses, their prices are still generally set by supply and demand rather than someone's marketing department. When I strap on a modern watch, I can still feel that it is a timepiece first and a marketing device second.
good that the bubble is burst. bad that the fallacy of wearing a watch
03/04/2009 - 07:24

for free is over and my indiscrimate buying has to stopped.  guess the poking fun at certain pieces' prices shooting up  the roof among wis is over too. the flippers never got in our way of enjoying our passion , and it won't spoil the fun when they are not around too. whether to speculate or flip is a personal choice, and i only hope people are wise enough not to get themselves burnt in the process.  however, because of this activities, we do see a lot more products, whether menaingful or not, are interesting to look at and discuss/criticise among wis friends. this i miss.  in conclusion, we have a choice whether to participate in any activity. disregard the noises in one's passionate pursuits as the fad/speculation will subside when demand weans. this is why i am still in this forum with all other enthusiasts.

not the fun but I have definately turned away from many brands which..
03/04/2009 - 11:22
seem to be the making supposedly really hard to get pieces where you need to be on a 3 year waiting list for a watch but can also find the same watch offered by many grey dealers at astronomical prices. The mega marketing brands..I don't even look at. I'm turned off them but they don't turn me off horology. That's one reason I'm so much into VC (no aggressive marketing and no ridiculous waiting periods) and the independents (Voutilainen, Urwerk, MB&F...).
Re: Have flippers and mega marketing brands spoilt the fun for you?
03/04/2009 - 16:17
Nope! I just stay away from the gougers. There's nothing I want that much that I will pay inflated prices for. Those people can eat their watches for lunch. Some people out there, including ebay,asking insane prices, have their heads so far up their asses that don't even know times are tough, let alone what time it is! Joseph
You know how I feel, Alex.
03/05/2009 - 09:28
My apology if the others feel otherwise. I have seen many "expert WIS" who know nothing more other than LE ROOs, latest Patek (5712/5980/5070/etc) or Richard Milles just because they are THE ones to have. Many buy for others to admire, not for themselves to admire. And heck, why not make some money out of them? Buy them, wear them for a while and flip them as NOS for 5% on top of the buying price. Have seen many examples of this practice  Lucky, VC is not part of the menu...so far. However, there ARE collectors who, despite having all the latest pieces, are passionate and wouldn't think about money making opportunity. I think we have some here in the Lounge   My respect to you all!
a slightly different perspective...
03/05/2009 - 17:31
I see the flippers as part of the fun... and kind of coercion. I understand this is part of the horology market nowadays. Watches have been getting more and more attention as a whole (myself being the best example) and a natural course of things is there appears a certain number of 'gamblers' trying to make a profit off of the demand. We just have to take it as a constraint and disadvantage that needs to be dealt with while searching for certain "investment" brands or pieces. Just as Rei said, thank God, this has not concerned VC by now and yes Rei, there are some of us owning only modern pieces who are not in haute horologerie for a quick buck and are extremely passionate about VC  My personal experience with watch flipping has been quite positive but the ones I dealt with were rather grey market/second-hand dealers who basically do not charge you retail+... So I guess, at the end of the day they were not real flippers.
Yes Sir, you're one of the passionate ones! :-)
03/06/2009 - 04:08
It shows! My respect to you...
The funniest part is how everyone is a "watch dealer"...
03/05/2009 - 20:48
The kid next door you never knew, is a watch dealer.....These young guys, who usually stem from either a Tech background, or something of the such, all of a sudden are high end watch dealers.  One issue, as Rei said, is they only know whats hot now, it seems like.  Furthermore alot of these "dealers" have bought up so much inventory, all of their "assets" just sit on the books in reality.  Ends up they are in the business to lose money, kinda like GM and Ford.
There are two sides to consider
03/08/2009 - 03:38
Let's not forget that for every flipper / grey market dealer, there has to be someone willing to buy the watch at those inflated prices.  Whether it's because they have money to burn, no patience, or speculating themselves that they can, in turn, flip it to someone else, there has to be a buyer to support the inflated prices. For me, they're part of the horological ecosystem.  You can't regulate or control it; no matter how hard a brand tries, it simply can't monitor every single point of sale and vet prospective buyers to ensure that they're the end customers. Currency fluctuations and world wide pricing policies also have an impact.  The fact is that the grey market can reach much faster to market conditions (currency fluctuations, pricing differences) and distributions policies than a brand can. So to come back to your question, neither has really spoiled the fun for me.  I used to get frustrated when a piece I've been looking for shows up at a huge premium on the grey market, but it's only taught me to divert my focus and either look for a different piece, or to try harder to get it through "regular" channels.  And I have to say, the satisfaction I get if I'm able to eventually find the watch is that much greater.  This is part of the fun, not just the joy of owning the watch! Just don't feed the flippers!