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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Interesting read authored by Nick the watchmaker:

A fool and his money are soon parted - but Who is the fool here?

It is January 21, and I already broke my New Year's resolution - I am
back to "grumpy old myself" mood.

Let's be realistic - I am a grumpy old troll.

And yes, I am totally aware that some of you are not going to like
this post. Few will unsubscribe and yes, I will get abusive replays.
But quite frankly political correctness was never on my 'to do' list,
and certainly not my New Year's resolution.

Yesterday, I was offered a nice Omega Railmaster XXL.
A lovely watch, sought after model in fantastic condition.
Except for a slightly worn leather strap.
We all know Omega straps are not relay cheap
so before I could commit on price, I sent my assistant across the road
to Omega boutique. The young assistant is new to watches so
I warned him not to be shocked if quoted in excess of $300.

Little did I know that I am the one up for the shock: the Railmaster strap was quoted $500!

Now, I know some of you out there honestly and sincerely believe that $500
for an Omega leather strap is fair and reasonable.

But not me!

A five hundred bucks is a lot of money, even for Elton John.

A cool, hard earned five hundred Aussie dollars will buy you
a brand spanking new washing machine, or two pairs of fine leather shoes,
or fancy TV. Even a holiday to one star resort in Fiji - but hey, this still counts as a holiday!

But what the hell is so special, technologically advanced or exclusive about
5 inch piece of leather to justify it's $500 price tag?
For goodness sake, a cave man invented his third leather strap
10 minutes after he hunted his first meal!

Don't get me wrong - this post is not about spitting venom on
leather goods industry - I have nothing but utmost respect for millions of poor, hard working third world workers
who make 'luxury' goods in swat shops earning $2 per day.
This post is about greedy corporations who are ripping us off
in the name of exclusivity, prestige and branding.

Well as far as I am concerned, as of today I REFUSE to pay
excessive and ridiculous amount of money for piece of leather that cost
$10 to manufacture. I am not a fool. I have had enough.

Here is my message to SWATCH Group: your strap prices are
joke, but we are not laughing. By "we" I mean hundreds of customers
I talk to and hundreds of watch collectors I see every month.
You have managed to upset your most loyal clientele.
This is no longer about spitting in face of second hand watch dealers
who support your brands with their own money - you have spat
on everyone from mums, dads, pensioners, small watch lovers, enthusiasts to
top collectors - and get this: we no longer enjoy your tyranny!

Yes, times are good and demand for mechanical watches is high.
But why are you taking us, your customers, for granted ?
The only reason your business exist is because of us.
The watch business is cyclical - over the 200 years of Swiss watch industry
very often the entire industry was shaken by advancements
in manufacturing progress, technical advancement or fashion
causing many makers to either restructure or close their doors for ever.
But next time (maybe in not so distant future?) I fear you will have no one to blame but your
arrogant greed.

My newly acquired Railmaster will be fitted with
a lovely $90 hand made, had stitched custom strap.
With my money I will support independent craftsman.
Otherwise, if I give in now, who can guarantee that next time I need
another Omega strap I won't be charged $750 or more?
Of course, Swatch people will call it fake. But only thing that is
fake is their silly smile when trying to excuse yet another price rise.

Yes, we love our watches, but no, WE ARE NO FOOLS.

Full article here on his blog:

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Every word he said is true |>
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I get customers all the time who want to order OEM straps for their watches and they are ALWAYS shocked by the prices of these straps. And I'm talking about all brands, not just Omega. Some customers decide against ordering once they hear the price, some customers go ahead with their order because they want all original parts for their watch.
However, leather is leather. There is nothing extraordinary about an OEM strap except for the brand name embossed on the underside.

"Oh no, this guy's put a $70 leather strap with an embossed crocodile pattern on his AquaTerra Co-Axial!!"

No brand has access to some kind of steroid-pumped, nuclear-powered super cow or alligator that produces an indestructable strap that will last longer than 2 or 3 years. Besides, there are many reputable companies that just produce quality watch straps that will look good on any brand of wristwatch.
"Omigosh, he's put a $15 rubber Tropic strap on his WatchCo Seamaster 300!! Is he nuts??!!"

I have often said to customers- "You can get a generic watch strap that will look virtually identical to the brand's own and it'll be our little secret, I won't tell a soul."
As much as I like the Omega straps and folding clasps, at a cost of around $700-$800, I can get a nice vintage Seamaster for that kind of money.

"Somebody stop this guy, he's desecrating a Speedy with a $50 strap!! Oh, the humanity!!!"

To each, their own.

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4,268 Posts
He's absolutely right. I, too, recently picked up a used 39 mm Railmaster with a worn strap, and have been forced to get a non-OEM replacement. No way can I justify paying $395.00 for a new one, minus the deployant! That's just plain crazy!<| Even if I was willing to pay that, I can't find one! I've ordered several different alligator grain straps, in order to see which color looks best, and an 18 mm Omega tang buckle to go with them. Omega has priced themselves out of the market, as far as I'm concerned.

;-) KAT

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509 Posts

Thats why i use straps like this! Only cost me $11.20 on ebay!

Another interesting story. I called to inquire about the Breitling diver pro strap a while back. So they asked me if I wanted the deployant buckle or the normal kind. I just the price for both. The normal buckle cost me around 150 SGD. Whereas the deployant one would have cost me 600SGD! Wonder what's so expensive about just the buckle!

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14,513 Posts
Agree completely. Most I have paid for an aftermarket strap is $49 CDN. Only way I have an Omega strap is if it is on an Omega watch that I buy. They charge it because they can. There is no stopping them if people are still buying them. Capitalism run amok!:)

Kinda like the $20 canvas duffle bag by LV which costs $1600 CDN.:roll:

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420 Posts
I guess it's Omega's way of tapping into the second-hand market ; after-all, they derive very little tangible income from that, other than servicing and perhaps when it encourages brand loyalty to the extent that someone will go on to purchase a new watch from them. I agree it's unfair on the loyal customers who need to replace a bracelet/strap further down the road though :-( They could do better there, offering some kind of discount maybe on proof of original purchase :-s

I bought my black leather strap for my (used) speedy moonphase from an Omega boutique, mostly because I liked the look of the Omega deployment clasp:

But I was taken aback by the cost ( even though it is very comfortable ) so have now started looking elsewhere for cheaper alternatives, so I can keep expanding my collection and not have to skimp on maintenance.

I can also see the appeal of adding some individuality/originality to the watch you wear, by selecting from the wide range of alternative straps out there, not just the OEM ones.

Just look at some of the choices made by members here, and posted on various discussions - sometimes they make you go oooh.... ( cue JW... )

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I get Nicks emails. He is a very reputable Pre-owned seller in Australia based over in the Eastern States

Where as his prices are very high (some you can get cheaper from a US AD) he is good for those who are not WIS and want a pre-owned watch which is 100% verified.

I replied to Nicks email when I got it:
In sort I have to agree with you. The prices of Swatch accessories such as straps/bracelets is becoming excessive. I am an Omega collector and where as I respect the brand and the watch, I am feeling more and more ashamed at Omega's marketing and branching out. What once was a refined watchmaker now has added leather goods and jewellery to their 'collection'. It is unfortunately not only the watch industry heading this way. The boxing day sales prompted me to purchases some new footwear for the new year. I took a look at the usual brands, Boss, Armani, Zenga etc. To my unpleasant surprise all brands were now made in China and other low-cost-labour countries. None were made in their traditional countries such as Italy. I refused to spend $500 on a pair of shoes that I know are made with the same quality as betts and betts sells down the road.

Back to watches, I own a pre-loved DeVille Prestige. I too found the cost of an Omega strap excessive. The result was me obtaining an Omega Steele buckle and a calf skin Chroco grain strap (in fact they were a gift from a member in the watch community). The total cost would have been under $50USD for the setup. Yes I could have spent up to $100 on a premium quality hand made strap yet the De Ville is only worn a few times a year out of the entire collection. I do have a Speedmaster and the strap is OEM Omega. But I purchased it from a WIS who bought the wrong size for $100.

My final note is that prices in Australia for New and Pre-owned watches is extraordinary. My Planet Ocean 42mm retails at $5225 here in Perth, Western Australia. This watch could be picked up for close to half this price from certain Authorised Dealers in the United States. Although in Europe last year, I found prices higher then here in OZ.


I'm still looking for a pair of shoes :)

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659 Posts
Obviously these strap prices are insane and there's no way I'd ever buy one. But the watches themselves are quite reasonably priced on the whole. Milking a large profit margin on replacement straps might just be a strategy to keep the price of their watches down. In the same way that Sony subsidise a PS3 and then rake you for the games ;-)

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"But what the hell is so special, technologically advanced or exclusive about
5 inch piece of leather to justify it's $500 price tag?
For goodness sake, a cave man invented his third leather strap
10 minutes after he hunted his first meal!"

Good call Nick! No wonder I get my straps from Kenny at Freda

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11,259 Posts
I wanted to buy the Omega rubber strap for my PO.
My local AD wanted, wait for it, £160!
For a RUBBER strap, which must cost pennies to make!!:-|
I LOVE my PO, but £160 for a RUBBER strap, oh please!!!
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