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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've heard tell that Lange und Sohne are going up-snobby with their higher-end (>$50,000) releases:
Time Teller on Lange

TLDR, you will need a purchase history and then have to apply to buy, say, a Datograph and be approved.

Lange operate in an atmosphere more rarefied than I'm likely ever to breathe, so no skin off my nose. But that does sound pretty obnoxious. If I went into a shop prepared to plonk £50k on the counter, I would want to be treated like I was Lord God World King, not a supplicant who should be thankful to be given the opportunity to turn vulgar money into the finest Saxonia craftsmanship.

I've not found confirmation from anywhere else, so this may be BS. However, there is an increasingly ugly trend of an unwillingness to sell to "just anyone" in every luxury segment and the watch industry is a major offender. Unlike quick-change straps, this is one recent trend that I absolutely do not want to see more of.
 

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The only snobbiness I see here is the guy who expects to be treated as Lord God World King, just because he can afford a particular watch on offer.

When there are more people who'd plonk £50k on the counter than they can make they watches, demanding to be treated like a king certainly wouldn't help their case in acquiring the watch they'd like to buy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The only snobbiness I see here is the guy who expects to be treated as Lord God World King, just because he can afford a particular watch on offer.
That's a different discussion to be had and you missed, or chose to ignore, the obvious hyperbole. The correct seller-customer relationship, surely, is that I, the seller, am grateful to you, the customer, for your business. If you didn't give me your business, I would go out of business.

A relationship where I, the customer, am expected to be grateful to you, the seller, for the opportunity is pretty messed up, surely?
 

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I've heard tell that Lange und Sohne are going up-snobby with their higher-end (>$50,000) releases:
Time Teller on Lange

TLDR, you will need a purchase history and then have to apply to buy, say, a Datograph and be approved.

Lange operate in an atmosphere more rarefied than I'm likely ever to breathe, so no skin off my nose. But that does sound pretty obnoxious. If I went into a shop prepared to plonk £50k on the counter, I would want to be treated like I was Lord God World King, not a supplicant who should be thankful to be given the opportunity to turn vulgar money into the finest Saxonia craftsmanship.

I've not found confirmation from anywhere else, so this may be BS. However, there is an increasingly ugly trend of an unwillingness to sell to "just anyone" in every luxury segment and the watch industry is a major offender. Unlike quick-change straps, this is one recent trend that I absolutely do not want to see more of.
I wonder to what degree the watch industry is sabotaging itself in the long run by acting like this. As you said, luxury buyers want the experience to be special - groveling to be deemed worth of buying a watch isnt quite the "luxury experience" and I am pretty sure it will put a lot of people off not just the brand in question but also the industry as a whole.

Lange is my favorite brand but if they start doing this, i will not buy another Lange ever - even at a lower price point.
 

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That's a different discussion to be had and you missed, or chose to ignore, the obvious hyperbole. The correct seller-customer relationship, surely, is that I, the seller, am grateful to you, the customer, for your business. If you didn't give me your business, I would go out of business.

A relationship where I, the customer, am expected to be grateful to you, the seller, for the opportunity is pretty messed up, surely?
No nothing is missed or ignored. The expectation that the seller should be grateful to everyone who walks in is not realistic, and precisely the snobbiness I am describing.

There are more people who'd like to buy their watches than they can make them. So if you have a seller with a small quantity of items to be purchased by a large quantity of potential buyer, most of the buyers would have to be turned away.

The expectation that someone deserves more respect because they have money is the part thats pretty messed up to me.
 

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That's a different discussion to be had and you missed, or chose to ignore, the obvious hyperbole. The correct seller-customer relationship, surely, is that I, the seller, am grateful to you, the customer, for your business. If you didn't give me your business, I would go out of business.

A relationship where I, the customer, am expected to be grateful to you, the seller, for the opportunity is pretty messed up, surely?
In the luxury goods industry this type of system is not at all unusual. Sellers often pick and choose who they allow to buy their product.

Patek already does something similar with their application pieces. Another example would be supercars. A lot of manufacturers choose who can buy their cars. Simply having the money is not everything at this level.
 

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No nothing is missed or ignored. The expectation that the seller should be grateful to everyone who walks in is not realistic, and precisely the snobbiness I am describing.

There are more people who'd like to buy their watches than they can make them. So if you have a seller with a small quantity of items to be purchased by a large quantity of potential buyer, most of the buyers would have to be turned away.

The expectation that someone deserves more respect because they have money is the part thats pretty messed up to me.
^^ This.

The contract between buyer and seller is a mutual one, they should both treat each other with respect. @top-quark, your impressions just show how much we are used to a consumer market where the customer is in the stronger position, but that isn't a given thing. If you ever tried to rent a flat in a major prosperous city, you'll know that buyers are not always in a position where any seller must be grateful for anyone willing to hand them the money.

So what is Lange supposed to do if the demand is higher than the volume they can produce? It's not easy to ramp up the production just like that. These watches require excellently trained watchmakers to produce, and there's no line of such people standing outside their door in Glashütte begging for a job. One thing they could do would be to increase prices drastically to limit the demand, but I have a suspicion how that would be received by the internet community..
 

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I wonder to what degree the watch industry is sabotaging itself in the long run by acting like this. As you said, luxury buyers want the experience to be special - groveling to be deemed worth of buying a watch isnt quite the "luxury experience" and I am pretty sure it will put a lot of people off not just the brand in question but also the industry as a whole.
Looking at all the "OMG the Rolex AD called!!" threads on this forum, I sort of get the impression that it's not hurting their sales at all.

If you look at the world of super cars, many models sell really well just because you cannot buy them just like that. If a brand name is strong enough and people know that it's hard to get one, it makes it even more special to those who can.

However, that doesn't mean I'm generally supportive of this business strategy. It really turns me off a brand when I feel they exploit their position in that way. But it's really hard to say where a company exploits it, or where it's actually a way to treat all potential customers equally and fairly, rather than not having any regulation at all, and selling the limited number of pieces to those who sneak in the thickest envelope under the counter..
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So what is Lange supposed to do if the demand is higher than the volume they can produce?
OK, here's what I would do: my CMS database would contain the names of my customers. I would offer early access to my existing customers - an invitation to the boutique in Bond St. (or wherever in your part of the world) with wine and canapés and gracious hosts. They would be able to try on the watches (mock-ups if needs be; I'm Lange und Sohne so the customer knows the real thing is going to be special) and maybe try on some past limited models. They would be given the opportunity to make a refundable deposit to secure their order. Basically, they would receive a luxury experience.

Since demand exceeds supply, if the customer changes his mind later, he gets his deposit back and the watch goes on general sale, first-come, first-served.

This way you give existing customers added value and potential customers don't have a bad impression of you.

There's just been a 40mm "no radiations" Fifty Fathoms released. I daresay that I've already missed the opportunity to buy one. I'm fine with "you snooze, you lose". If I missed out because someone didn't deem me good enough, that's a bit different.
 

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I've heard tell that Lange und Sohne are going up-snobby with their higher-end (>$50,000) releases:
Time Teller on Lange

TLDR, you will need a purchase history and then have to apply to buy, say, a Datograph and be approved.

Lange operate in an atmosphere more rarefied than I'm likely ever to breathe, so no skin off my nose. But that does sound pretty obnoxious. If I went into a shop prepared to plonk £50k on the counter, I would want to be treated like I was Lord God World King, not a supplicant who should be thankful to be given the opportunity to turn vulgar money into the finest Saxonia craftsmanship.

I've not found confirmation from anywhere else, so this may be BS. However, there is an increasingly ugly trend of an unwillingness to sell to "just anyone" in every luxury segment and the watch industry is a major offender. Unlike quick-change straps, this is one recent trend that I absolutely do not want to see more of.
Well, Rolex and Richard Mille have been expertly fueling a certain scarcity culture, deliberate shortage policies being one tool in their hands. This notoriously increases the value of their units with time, which then increases profits, which obviously is one of their goals.

Application only purchases, with clients with past history (2 purchases), is another lever to reach that, and which is common practice in luxury cars domain btw (with Ferrari for example). Lange isn't a newcomer at this game I believe, it's possible they just wanted to press the button a bit harder.

What to say ?
- Well, the future customers of such brands will have to book three watches box safes in their banks instead of just one.
- Meanwhile, regular watch addicts will wear their regular watches, bought from regular brands, in regular shops, on their simple wrists ; and actually enjoy them. Whatever rocks one's boat...
 

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It's often said that people value the things they have to fight for. Being able to just walk in and buy? Who wants that? I want to "get the call"! Combine this with the "consumption rush" and you have a winning, highly profitable business model. Influenza-addled consumers, wealthy and surrounded by product, need ever-newer things to provide a satisfying "hit", and nothing is more dopamine-friendly than the idea of a competition, a challenge, to acquiring next week's new shiny. An application, an interview? I want that product. I need that product. I feel that buzz as I fire up Zoom.

Lange will be printing money.
 

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This conversation makes me think of times past when the prettiest lass in the village would be courted by a string of suitors, some offering goats, some offering cows, some offering skills like carpentry or hunting, but in the end it was always the handsome knight on a valiant steed who won the fair lady's hand in marriage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Lange will be printing money.
Dunno. I always thought of Lange as "aristocracy of taste, democracy of access". Even at the super-high level, there is consumer choice and with the likes of Gronefeld and Akrivia, you will be on first-name terms with the guys who make your watches.

£14,000 entry fee is already exclusive. You don't have to take the word "exclusive" literally.
 

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Actually, I think they are doing the right thing. They are being transparent about it, and they are not cutting their production for the sake of scarcity. At least everyone knows the rules and plays by the same rule. Not like some brand with a crown.
 

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They're probably trying to avoid falling into the same secondary market conundrum that Rolex is dealing with. If they know who they're selling to they can prevent grey market dealers from buying their merchandise just to flip it.
I completely agree with this. I'd rather pay Lange than giving my money to some flipper. At least I know my money is helping some artists at one of the best watchmaking companies, not advancing some `business model' where one fakes scarcity...
 
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