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Discussion Starter #1
I am relatively new to collecting watches, but reading through the various news sources, I see a lot of puff pieces and press release re-prints. I suppose I was wondering if there was a more critical press available? Stuff like "Why is this movement being sold in an over-priced case for $xK?", or "the finishing is inferior to these 5 brands..." or even "hooray, X brand releases yet another color variation on the same watch and charges $2K more for it..."

Askmen's Watch Snob seems to be the only critical press out there, and, well, let's just say that the whole schtick, lack of consistency, and not very critical evaluation really isn't helpful. PuristS tend to get the depth, but of course they just review very high end stuff where it generally is just a matter of taste rather than construction quality.
 

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Good question, I'm curious about that too. Going to keep an eye on this post :)
 

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I am relatively new to collecting watches, but reading through the various news sources, I see a lot of puff pieces and press release re-prints. I suppose I was wondering if there was a more critical press available? Stuff like "Why is this movement being sold in an over-priced case for $xK?", or "the finishing is inferior to these 5 brands..." or even "hooray, X brand releases yet another color variation on the same watch and charges $2K more for it..."

Askmen's Watch Snob seems to be the only critical press out there, and, well, let's just say that the whole schtick, lack of consistency, and not very critical evaluation really isn't helpful. PuristS tend to get the depth, but of course they just review very high end stuff where it generally is just a matter of taste rather than construction quality.
Unfortunately many product review sites get free or borrowed "stuff" from the manufacturer to review. If they are too critical, this might hurt their ability to get "stuff" in the future to review. Also many of these sites thrive from advertisements from the same companies. Also, "overpriced" can be very relative/subjective in the watch industry, or with luxury goods in general. Some see no problem spending $5k for a quartz Patek Philippe for example, while others see it as ridiculous.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Unfortunately many product review sites get free or borrowed "stuff" from the manufacturer to review. If they are too critical, this might hurt their ability to get "stuff" in the future to review. Also many of these sites thrive from advertisements from the same companies. Also, "overpriced" can be very relative/subjective in the watch industry, or with luxury goods in general. Some see no problem spending $5k for a quartz Patek Philippe for example, while others see it as ridiculous.
I guess I would like a site that is willing to put a stake in the ground and say that $5K for a quartz PP is ridiculous.

Or that Omega's co-axial movement deserves a lot more press than IWC releasing yet a new color pattern on some watch.

Or yet another new watchmaker from nowhere that is stuffing ETA movements into standard cases for $3K is ridiculous. Or maybe it isn't cause they at least went to COSC standards and are doing x and y that are actually meaningful.

Or how about drawing a line in the sand that anything over $15K should use an in-house movement that is unique to the brand, and anything over, say $30K, should have a movement that is unique to the watch model?

Just to pick some arbitrary examples of where my opinion lies... I'd be okay if there were different opinions, but at least there would be some meat to the review.
 

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Sometimes it really seems hard to find critical statements in media that are dependent on acvertising money. There was a nice exception, though:

I'm subscribing to a German watch magazine called Armbanduhren. Here in Finland and also in Germany many people think that Euro as a currency has heavily increased pricesof goods and services. In the latest issue of Armbanduhren this question was raised and it seems that in ten years (the lifespan of Euro) watch prices have in many cases rocketed heavily. They had many specific examples like some Longines models with a 130% price increase. Many Rolex and Omega models have gone up wih 50 to 60 %, TAG Monaco nearly 75%.

The conclusion was that it's quite hard to blame Euro for this. For example the prices of cars and many other things have gone up very moderately or even come down. Watch manufacturers tell us that increased material costs and development are to blame. I can't really undestand that because watches are relatively small and light objects. And where are all the groundbraking innovations? Those arguments could be just as well used in those branches where no price increase is to be seen. Inflation, too, is a much used argument, but it's still quite hard to see how that would justify a 70% price increase.

I was very glad to read the artcile, it's really good that someone brings up things like this. The writer of the article was quite gentle with his arguments but he let the numbers and well-chosen examples do the talking. It is evident that watch manufacturers just want our money, more and more of it every year while the products stay more or less the same.

EDIT: I certainly don't want to steer this off topic, I just wanted to share a recent example of critical watch journalism.
 

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ablogtoread.com isnt too bad, I love the detailed reviews, but I wish he would be a bit more critical with some of them. But very nice pics and videos on lots of high end and mid range watches, definitely worth checking out if you havent already
 

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That's what these forums are for. Real people with real reviews, critiques, criticisms, etc.

I only go to watch blogs and news related outlets when I need that little positive boost to help justify my current purchase.

There are some good youtube channels with pretty unbiased reviews including Dougfnj (I believe he is a member here), Dukedevil something or another, and Breitling Source.
 

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Plenty of criticism already occurs on the various forums.

I suspect the post above regarding freebies is true.
 

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ablogtoread.com isnt too bad, I love the detailed reviews, but I wish he would be a bit more critical with some of them. But very nice pics and videos on lots of high end and mid range watches, definitely worth checking out if you havent already
His HourTime Podcast parter, John Biggs, is much more critical of a lot of the insanity of the watch industry. The podcast is pretty entertaining and sometimes informative.
 

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akatsuki said:
I guess I would like a site that is willing to put a stake in the ground and say that $5K for a quartz PP is ridiculous.

Or that Omega's co-axial movement deserves a lot more press than IWC releasing yet a new color pattern on some watch.

Or yet another new watchmaker from nowhere that is stuffing ETA movements into standard cases for $3K is ridiculous. Or maybe it isn't cause they at least went to COSC standards and are doing x and y that are actually meaningful.

Or how about drawing a line in the sand that anything over $15K should use an in-house movement that is unique to the brand, and anything over, say $30K, should have a movement that is unique to the watch model?

Just to pick some arbitrary examples of where my opinion lies... I'd be okay if there were different opinions, but at least there would be some meat to the review.
Imagine the cost of your $30k watch if brands were required to create a new caliber for every line within this price range......then imagine what the $15k watches would the cost to cover the development costs.
Were these the rules of the game, then this is a game I cannot afford to play. It confounds me why people would wish to increase the cost of this hobby?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Imagine the cost of your $30k watch if brands were required to create a new caliber for every line within this price range......then imagine what the $15k watches would the cost to cover the development costs.
Were these the rules of the game, then this is a game I cannot afford to play. It confounds me why people would wish to increase the cost of this hobby?
I picked those numbers arbitrarily. At the same time, I have to feel that there is a point where you should be getting that level of craftsmanship. Rolex manages to do their own movements for under 10k. A boutique brand won't have the economy of scale of Rolex (or Seiko), but there is a point where paying for a nice case to house an off the shelf movement is ridiculous.

The forums are nice, but, of course, most people who are reviewing a watch bought it, and therefore have a vested interest in promoting the watch. I'd like someone with deep knowledge to review the watch and say - hey, for $35k, you could buy a Lange 1 which is finished to this degree and not this other piece of overpriced crap which has a slightly modified Valjoux and doesn't have the same level of quality and show pics to back it up.
 

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His HourTime Podcast parter, John Biggs, is much more critical of a lot of the insanity of the watch industry. The podcast is pretty entertaining and sometimes informative.
... and John is a hoot!
 

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Rolex manages to do their own movements for under 10k. A boutique brand won't have the economy of scale of Rolex (or Seiko), but there is a point where paying for a nice case to house an off the shelf movement is ridiculous.
but on the other hand, Rolex is charging $10k and turning out how many thousands of them? If you just looked at the volume, by pieces, sold, you would assume they are a commodity item. The pricing really does not connect to the economy of scale, the best example out there that in luxury goods, price is rarely linked to cost.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
but on the other hand, Rolex is charging $10k and turning out how many thousands of them? If you just looked at the volume, by pieces, sold, you would assume they are a commodity item. The pricing really does not connect to the economy of scale, the best example out there that in luxury goods, price is rarely linked to cost.
Agreed, it doesn't scale. But that is besides the point. The real issue is what does a consumer expect at different price points? At what point should I expect an in-house movement from a small manufacturer (i.e. at what point is that small manufacturer just charging too much for a case)? At what point should a watch have its own movement (e.g. most tourbillons are specific to the watch model, so maybe that price is $100k). Of course it is a trade off between volume and price there, but a critical reviewer would take that into account.
 

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akatsuki said:
I picked those numbers arbitrarily. At the same time, I have to feel that there is a point where you should be getting that level of craftsmanship. Rolex manages to do their own movements for under 10k. A boutique brand won't have the economy of scale of Rolex (or Seiko), but there is a point where paying for a nice case to house an off the shelf movement is ridiculous.

The forums are nice, but, of course, most people who are reviewing a watch bought it, and therefore have a vested interest in promoting the watch. I'd like someone with deep knowledge to review the watch and say - hey, for $35k, you could buy a Lange 1 which is finished to this degree and not this other piece of overpriced crap which has a slightly modified Valjoux and doesn't have the same level of quality and show pics to back it up.
The price point is irrelevant, with the terms you have laid out everything costs much, much more. Obvisusly your pockets are deep enough to absorb those costs.....I'll happily stick to my easily serviced eta movements(oh yes, even the most well conceived in-house movements require servicing at some point in the most optimistic scenario)
Cheers!
 

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It's a good question. I find that industry-related media are often very poor and lack any criticism. I stopped reading car magazines for that reason, although I recently discovered "The Truth About Cars" (New Car Reviews, Ratings & Pricing, Auto News for New Models) which is both well informed and highly critical. I can recall canceling my subscription years ago to Mac World after I concluded that the entire thing was written by Apple PR people.

I enjoy reading the Watch Snob for its entertainment value, although I often wish the guy was serious.

A Blog to Read (Watch Review Blog) is at least very informative, as Adam is enthusiastic and cares enough to take the time to go out and meet with people, take pictures, etc. I enjoy reading him as a way of learning about different brands and the manufacturing process. Still, Adam's more of a cheerleader for the watch industry than a journalist, which is too bad, given his access. He also needs to be better about copy editing. Adam, if you read this, send me some of your stuff for editing before you publish!


M
 

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It's a good question. I find that industry-related media are often very poor and lack any criticism. I stopped reading car magazines for that reason, although I recently discovered "The Truth About Cars" (New Car Reviews, Ratings & Pricing, Auto News for New Models) which is both well informed and highly critical. I can recall canceling my subscription years ago to Mac World after I concluded that the entire thing was written by Apple PR people.

I enjoy reading the Watch Snob for its entertainment value, although I often wish the guy was serious.

A Blog to Read (Watch Review Blog) is at least very informative, as Adam is enthusiastic and cares enough to take the time to go out and meet with people, take pictures, etc. I enjoy reading him as a way of learning about different brands and the manufacturing process. Still, Adam's more of a cheerleader for the watch industry than a journalist, which is too bad, given his access. He also needs to be better about copy editing. Adam, if you read this, send me some of your stuff for editing before you publish!


M

His name is not Adam, ablogtoread.com is managed by one Ariel Adams and has a handful of writers producing content.
 

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Check out the many brand vs brand thread in WUS (especially Rolex vs Omega) where watch fans are doing their best to dig up as much dirt as possible to bury their rivals brand, you can't get anything more critical than that!
 

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I read a lot of watch magazines, but I find the only major publication that publishes even remotely critical reviews is WatchTime. For me it is by far the best of the lot. But even then, you have to read the reviews very carefully. They typically give number grades (it's a scale of 1-100) and no watch ever gets below a B- or B. (an 80-85). The ones they like best get in the mid-high 90s. But if you actually read the text of the review, they actually present some pretty damning information about those "B-" watches, like the watch gains 45 seconds a day on average or the dial is unreadable or something. WatchTime still does a lot of puff, and the reviews that get "failing" grades get "B-" but at least some critical stuff is there.
 

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The forums are nice, but, of course, most people who are reviewing a watch bought it, and therefore have a vested interest in promoting the watch. I'd like someone with deep knowledge to review the watch and say - hey, for $35k, you could buy a Lange 1 which is finished to this degree and not this other piece of overpriced crap which has a slightly modified Valjoux and doesn't have the same level of quality and show pics to back it up.
In regards to the first part of this quote, you'd be surprised at some of the more critical reviews here,especially in the X vs X reviews. I also find discussions of specific models here to be highly informative as opposed to the actual reviews. Do some poking around and you'll find plenty of great discussions here that point out both the good and the bad.

This is also where you'll find answers to the second part of your statement. I've seen many threads about why an X brand costs so much when Y brand brings the same specs at half the price. Great points made from both sides usually in these threads and in the end it comes down to the purchaser on whether it's worth dropping the cash or not.

The people here give a more down to earth view so to speak of watches but you won't find too many reviews or personal pictures of say the Patek Sky Moon Tourbillion.
 
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