need your advice on limited editions and their attractivity

Dear Loungers,

A very good friend of mine is working on a thesis and needed some information directly from the consumers:

- What appeal does limited editions have on you?
- What criteria need to be filled for you to consider the watch as a true limited edition?
- What pushes you tu buy/or not buy a limited edition watch (price not being an issue)?

Thank you for allowing him to pick your brains need your advice on limited editions and their attractivity
Re: need your advice on limited editions and their attractivity
01/11/2011 - 18:21
- they attract me (but see below) - I need a new complication, layout or a case in a different metal (ie a Patrimony in steel), it shouldn't just be a different dial and made under 200 pieces - I would buy a limited edition if the premium isn't just pure marketing and if the watch looks good
Re: need your advice on limited editions and their attractivity
01/11/2011 - 22:07
Dear Alex,first of all, I buy only watches I fall in love with and I wear all of them regularly according circonstancies. My point of view about LE is: I appreciate Limited edition of 2 kinds : - true LE = exclusive creations (VC Les Masques), i.e. no derivative will be produce later on (for ex not like H....t  ) If true LE, max 100 ex IMHO - LE = limited in time, even if not numbered (VC Mercator) I think VC is a good example to follow Please to discover your thoughts too, Cheers, Liger
Re: need your advice on limited editions and their attractivity
01/11/2011 - 22:52
Limited editions have been abusively used these last years. A limited edition make sens if it is less than one hundred and for a special retailer or a boutique anniversary or a caritative. Otherwise, I do not like the idea, I much prefer a limited production through the time, it just make more sense. A "limited edition" of 5000 watch sounds for me just cheap. What would make me buy a limited edition, the watch itself :) cheers Francois
Just a question I have been waiting for...
01/12/2011 - 00:59
Limited editions is just what my VC collection is made up of... with just one exception being a Malte Tourbillon but I guess it is a rare watch itself and its production numbers are pretty low. So just to state the obvious I am a limited edition watch collector. At a point of my collecting I came to realize that limited edition pieces have a much bigger appeal to me than a regular production and got rid of all standard pieces. So LEs are a key to my collecting now. I like the idea of having a "special piece". There is a certain twist to a limited edition piece - it looks a bit differently (it being either a different metal or dial color or special features) than a normal piece as well as there is a premium to be paid. If the premium is set at a reasonable level, then it doesn't really matter and I go for it. Though I tend to look for a bargain (who doesn't, anyway?). But first a watch has to have that certain something. It all starts there. If it doesn't "speak" to me, I will not consider a purchase - neither a regular nor limited edition. If I find a piece attractive and it is made in LE version I am more likely to consider it. If it is only regular production I tend to wait and see if it's going to come out in LE.  Then the LE has to be something else too. There are many examples that just don't do it for me. But there is no worry with VC - the offering is bountiful and it grows every year so there is always something to consider. And the money is always too tight... Last but not least, I do not have a special number restricition or limit on LEs. I really love the concept of Excellence Platine in the VC offering. It has never exceeded a number of 150 pieces within one model and that I guess is just about the right figure for me. Although I like the idea of limited editions being related to certain dates or anniversaries i.e. 250th anniversary of VC and its Jubilee 1755 limited to 250 or 500 pcs depending on metal used. That number of LEs doesn't bother me the least bit but I surely do not favor limited editions counted in thousands. This is simply funny. And I have to mention this in my last paragraph. QdI along with its customization/personalization option is just a way to stand out from the crowd of regular models. It is certainly a model that is halfway between regular and LE and that in my opinion makes it so awesome.  Hope this helps.            
Re: need your advice on limited editions and their attractivity
01/12/2011 - 01:29
In short order of your questions:    1.) It's exculsivity  2.) No more than 100 total, all metals. Certainly not like our "Limited Edition" Historiques 1912 (600 ea. Rose and White Gold)  3.) Knowing that not all of us will have it on our wrists. Just my 2c's. Miki
To me, limited editions cannot be overdone.
01/12/2011 - 03:13

I can give a straight example, AP...and Hublot too (though I like Hublot a lot). It must have a limited number for a specific model, don't change the dial's color and call it another LE. Real collectors usually want something not common among majority watch buyers, they may have the money to burn so exclusivity is what they are after. A good example would be VC Patrimony boutique edition, though not a LE but it's something different and you don't get to see the same watch everywhere you go (even our beloved moderator doesn't own one    Kidding Alex. Another excellent example would be VC explorer's edition. I never get to see anyone wearing it, but look at ROO "this" LE, ROO "that" LE, ROO "the other "LE"...too many! It's like we all go to an ice cream parlor and when we get out, we all ask each other, "Which flavour did you get?"  There isn't any exclusivity. I am wearing a Hublot Big Bang King all black, a "LE" #2/500...but am I really proud wearing one? Yes, cause I like it but not because of its exclusivity. There are other same versions: BBK all black blue, all black red, all black green and who knows maybe yellow? brown? But I gotta admit, my watch looks damn cool! So, IMHO, the answer to all of your Q's is 1: exclusivity. Make sure I don't see other LE using the same 'frame'  with name being the only difference.

Sorry if I talk too much Alex

For me, there are four requirements:
01/12/2011 - 11:06
1. There must be a compelling reason for the edition; that it, it has to mean something other than just being "limited." 2. The watch must be produced in small enough numbers that the limitation actually means something. 3. The watch must be meaningfully different from similar non-limited models. 4. The watch must not represent an excessive price-gouge.
Doc's criteria to be called limited, as expressed before.
01/12/2011 - 15:58
1. Of course it's the ultimate appeal, if you are searching for a keeper for life. 2. There must be a clear volume, never changed. No factory replicas. If you see this as an art, as we do,     we got to follow art criterium for what's a limited printing of lithofgraphies, that's 100. I think it's a good norm. 3. What I written above, a keeper for life, to be inherited. Also that not to many other guys walks around with it. I have this Longines in 18K YG, 1 of 100. Also this Girard-Perregaux 375 mm in 18K WG, 1 of 125 Once I had, a really limited Vacheron&Constantin. It was made in only one piece. Now at the Vacheron Constantin Museum. Then you can roughly say that before 1950 and during the first years in the 50s, all models were limited. It's well shown in this letter to the AD's ! It clearly states that they only make 24 of each model,  but I don't have the knowledge to know it that meas per year or in total. Alex, could you be nice and you check that? Cheers Doc
I'm with you Doc
01/12/2011 - 17:40
One can look at the marketplace from the other end of the timeline and discover what elements went together to create an exclusive and appealing watch over the passage of decades.  Witness how many manufacturer-defined LE's now trade at much less than retail or have become routine and uninteresting...this manipulation is what I wish to avoid as a collector.   OTOH, we all know what vintage models are considered by consumers as worthy of collecting.  They have become de facto limited editions because they have survived, and those in near to perfect condition are truly limited! Modern LE's that have a raison d'être based on horological and artistic merit rather than marketing gimmickry are exciting and test one's instincts as to whether they will maintain their value 50 years from now.  Some are obvious like Radek's tourbillon and the Metiers d'Art collection, while others are more subtle and require the judgement of time to confirm their worth, like the Quai de I'ile.
Re: need your advice on limited editions and their attractivity
01/13/2011 - 00:55
  1. Limited edition has appeal to me in terms of rarity, just like VC in the past never made more than 24 pieces with exactly the same dials, cases, hands and movements (even within the same ref. #)
  2. Less than 100 pieces, preferably less than 50 - but it doesn't need to say "Limited Edition".  I prefer it not to say Limited Edition
  3. Nothing pushes me, I have to love the watch to begin with - if it is truly a LE, all the better. 

BR, Dan

I am with Dan on this one, so just put me in on a +1 to Dan's
01/13/2011 - 01:25
answers. And thank you Dan for having the same thoughts on the other side of the Pacific.  Honestly, my head is still spinning from the World Time video!! ;0) Best, Tim
I think it depends...
01/13/2011 - 18:36
It depends on how may limited editions a manufacturer makes of a particular model. AP continually pops out LE Offshores which have lost some of their appeal to me because there are so many. If a limited edition is in fact very limited and rare (such as Doc's beautiful GP 375MM) then I think they hold some appeal and potential value especially as time goes on and the piece becomes older. However, as an example, Doc's 375MM is fantastic primarily because of it's beautiful design eliments, great craftsmanship, history, etc. The fact that it is an LE is just icing on the cake for me. But, if it were not an LE, I would like it just as much. I do not buy LE's just because they are LE's. I buy watches because I really like the piece a lot and want to keep it basically forever. If it happens to be an LE then great, but that is not my driving force to buy the piece. I do not collect watches as investments, I collect them because I have a passion for them.  In conclusion, the allure of LE's is not very strong for me. For others it may be much stronger. I think it is a matter of personal opinion which can vary from collector to collector.  Best, Mike
Re: I think it depends...
01/14/2011 - 22:08
I'm agree with dan as well. If I really like it, LE is totally immaterial. The LE status is a bonus. But its nice to have an unique piece (Cab. Atelier), because you actually had a role in the design. JB
thank you all for thr very to the point comments:-)
01/16/2011 - 14:14