I've been extremely busy working on a project the past couple of months...still not finished yet, but enough time to breath and catch up on THL. Out of the 5 areas you mentioned, I personally think 2 are more readily feasible, while the others would be more difficult from a business point of view.1. better archival documentation (I would really love this, information is power and there is so much that I'm sure would fascinate all watch fans). 2. affordable authentication process (Unless they start offering something like PP's "Extract from the Archives", I don't think this will happen)
3. reasonable service costs (as a consumer, lower is better - but I don't know how costs are calculated or how they compare with the rest of the high-end watch industry)
4. aggressive trademark action against fakes and frankens (Hopefully, this would be very helpful in weeding out the most obvious offenders, I don't know what resources are required to aggressively protect trademarks, the lawyers among us would have a much better understading. I would think this is something that VC would want to protect, as with any luxury brand - your name is all so important)
5. parts available to independent repair facilities (I don't know if this is possible for vintage pieces, say pre-1960, as I don't have any idea how large the existing stock is and how spare parts are still being produced. Also, would this provide an opportunity to create/foster some fakes and frankens? I'm sure the business issue of not wanting others to get into the business of 3rd party repair is also a consideration.)
You bring up some good questions Dean, as we know VC will not participate in the vintage/auction market. But how much are they, as a firm, willing to support vintage as a way to maintain the firm's reputation and image may not be clear...and I'm sure everybody has an opinion on it.
Best Regards, Dan