More than skin deep: the secret of luxury watch sales

Isaac Mostovicz writes that there's something beneath the surface for luxury watches...

New luxury lightweight watchAn interesting article in the New York Times looks at how the continued trend in the luxury market of quality and value as being the decisive factors are affecting the sales of luxury watches. In a previous blog of mine, I discussed how people are keener than ever to find value for their money and that Thetas, who seek comfort, belonging and affiliation are more likely to be sensitive about the value of the purchase and of overpaying than their Lambda counterparts. We can see this shift being translated in the current market of luxury watches. High-end watches with unique and intricate designs and mechanisms are selling better than the lower end, ‘fashion’ watches. According to a post in DNA, watches over $25,000 are increasing while figures dropped in those under. Catherine MacDonald-Home, editor of Luxury Briefing says ‘It has to be something that’s limited edition or of very high quality [in order to sell well].’ Rise in popularity of these more costly watches is helped along by the arrival of new revolutionary, technological advances in the art of watch-making. Editor of International Watch magazine, Michael Thompson talks about the new lightweight materials and components:

“These watches are so light and wispy that when you have them on your wrist, you forget they are there,” he said, speaking of watches from Richard Mille that are made from carbon nanofibers.

As well as being lighter and non-obtrusive, other new innovations include Patek Philippe’s silicon moving parts and Montblanc’s Metamorphosis watch of two different faces and functions.

In the general public, these watches aren’t likely to draw attention the way a jewel-encrusted timepiece might.

“If you wear a million-dollar mechanical watch, or even a $40,000 one, in the average room no one will know,” Professor Drèze said. “The watches are actually examples of inconspicuous consumption.”

These new generations of inconspicuous, luxury watches are perfect for the present money-conscious Thetas; without the compromise of quality, you get value for money but in a manner that is more subtle, more Theta-like. Lambdas are not forgotten in this revolution in luxury watches, as Audemars Piguet will release three new versions of its luxury sports watches which are also lightweight, carbon cased but feature ‘brilliant colors reminiscent of racing cars.’ An aspect that is sure to satisfy and catch the eye of any discriminating Lambda.

Christopher Hanlon says of this article...

What is a Lambda and a Theta? (sounds like an animal/bird)

Site Administrator says of this article...

Please refer to my earlier post on Theta and Lambda here to learn more:

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New highs (or lows?) for the luxury market

Isaac Mostovicz writes...


Following my post questioning whether we use luxury for the right purpose, today the Associated Press published a story about the booming luxury market and skyrocketing prices for unique luxury items.

Exclusivity is in–logos and brands are important, but not as important as the quality and uniqueness of an item. Items cited in the article include a $700,000 Montblanc pen (covered with rubies, diamonds and sapphires), a $40,000 Louis Vuitton handbag (a limited number were sold out in pre-orders) and a $10,000 Coach crocodile handbag.

Attaining the “highest” level of luxury appears to getting increasingly difficult. But should it be? It might be worthwhile for people to take a step back and remember that luxury is subjective. It doesn’t need to be a $1000 pair of shoes. And if $1000 shoes are the only or most prominent ideal of luxury, that’s “a terrible ideal for young people,” according to John Vogel, faculty director at the Allwin Initiative for Corporate Citizenship at Dartmouth.

We need luxury, but we also need to know what luxury is, for ourselves.

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