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Editor’s note: Recently I spoke to a former salesman at a high-end Australian watch retailer. He told me that his store didn’t have a “passive waiting list” where you’re rewarded for patiently queuing up. In fact, to disoblige customers of that notion, the shop preferred a more pointedly ambiguous term: “the expression of interest list”. Walk into the store with the hope of buying, say, a new Daytona, and you’d obviously have zero luck. After rolling their eyes at your naivety, the sales person would explain the beserk popularity of that model and put you on their expression of interest list. But it’s here that things started to get murky.
Behind the scenes, this retailer’s tacit protocol was only to sell that watch to customers who spent $100,000 on Rolex’s non-Professional range in a 12-month period. (The Professional range, of course, includes many of the brand’s most sought-after models – the Daytona, Submariner, GMT, Yacht-Master, Explorer, Milgauss and Air-King.) Suffice to say, this would prove an impossible barrier to all but the most wealthy.
It must be stressed that this was not Rolex’s policy and just how this specific retailer behaved. And perhaps you can’t blame the shop for trying to maximise their returns when attempting to manage limited supply of a wildly coveted product. Business is business, after all. Still, hearing that tale reminded me of this story by Sandra Lane that she wrote almost two years ago. Reading it back, it feels grimly prescient of the shape of things to come.
I no longer have any desire to own or wear a Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711. Not because I like the watch any less than I ever did (it’s a great design, produced by one of the best makers in the business) but because I don’t want to be associated with what it has come to represent.
Not “represent” in the sense of its significance (along that of Royal Oak) in the history of modern watchmaking but because it’s the apotheosis of the money-chasing mania (and its flip-side, the status-symbol-chasing mania) that has gripped certain parts of the watch world in the past couple of years. A mania that is ruining things for genuine watch enthusiasts and collectors.
I’m talking here about current catalogue models – coming to the secondary market brand new or “very recently” pre-owned, aka flipped. (The vintage market has its own, different story of price/value escalation).
https://timeandtidewatches.com/hype-and ... ollectors/
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