This thread takes a lot of twists in turns from a veritable case study in logical fallacies to self realization in real-time to legalese. none of that is a bad thing, in my opinion, on a forum. It’s definitely given me a little perspective in weighing my own opinion on the matter.
I’ve certainly bought Homages. My first three adult watches of any significance we’re homages whether I was aware or not. The first watch I ever bought with my own money was a fake PP on Canal st when I was 12, completely unaware of the existence of Patek Philippe. I own two homages now, although they aren’t 1:1 they’re clearly inspired by. And I’ve developed, in my acquiring more watches, away from homages fairly quickly. Mostly because my ideal of amassing a hoard of watches has segued into something else. But, I appreciate where buying “affordable alternatives,” as I view them in my particular use, took me and I don’t regret them.
So my opinion, which you have no reason to care about, has been greatly influenced by this thread and I attribute it to how I relate to another aspect of my personal experience with being a guitar builder who was involved forums heavily:
The great debates of guitar builder forums as well as guitar players forums was the term “hand made,” and what that constituted. There were builders who purchased bodies and necks from distributors that were pre-painted and assembled in house, builders who designed guitars and had the parts built and assembled outsourced, guys that used CNC machines, guys that only used hand tools, guys that made original models, models inspired by vintage models and everything you can imagine. All hanging the Hand Made shingle on their shop.
My opinion on this: Every guitar builder ends at the same point, a guitar. There are some builders who literally start from felling a tree, seasoning the lumber and hand planing the billets. I’ve done it, mostly as a personal exercise. So if you imagine a time-line of a guitar from the moment the builder starts building it to the moment it’s strung up, every guitar from the Chinese Fender factory to the guy boiling linseed over candles to make lacquer started with Forestry and ended with assembly. Where the final assembler starts on that time line varies from builder to builder and a lot of cases guitar to guitar. He may use hand tools originally and CNC later as production, time, space or finance allows or demands.
So what and who does this matter to?
If the time-line of Forestry to Assembly was a line left to right and each builder begins building somewhere along that line I found that most builders agreed that just about everyone to the right of them on that imaginary line we’re assemblers and they and everyone to the left were builders of hand made instruments. And they could rationalize that how it needed to be rationalized, “I use CNC because the demand is too high, but there is no skill in operating a band saw anyway, so I’m just saving time.”
And who am I to argue with them?
So who does this matter to?
It didn’t really matter to me. I made 15-20 guitars a year. The only thing I cared about was selling what I made. Which made me think about who it mattered to. Builders were largely interested in how they were perceived and how it effected market equity compared to their competition. Which made me realize, there is no competition. Me and the 1000 other builders were targeting a fraction of a percent of guitar buyers. If there were 1000 people in the world who would buy my guitar on a Tuesday and they found something else first that 1/1000 of a potential sale lost effected me in no perceivable way.
So the only person that really cared or matter was the end user. And that’s if they even cared if it was hand made at all. Which they probably didn’t.
It occurred to me that the entire reason their was a guitar builders forum was because nobody cared about guitar builders building guitars and all us builders wanted to do was tell people about how we spent huge amounts of our time. Which reminds me a lot of this debate. The problem people have with homages, maybe, is that nobody asks them what kind of watch they have. So what watch they have is a matter other peoples perception. If you’re wearing a Nautilus on the corner of 5th and Main I don’t really care if it’s a AP or from A&P. But it matters to the person who bought it. It places them on an imaginary line where there are folks to the left and folks to the right and the correct view is from where they’re standing. And there’s nothing wrong or weird about that. The end user made that choice for a personal reason.
Set aside, fraud and legal standing and deception, marketing, research, manufacturing and status and assume the person legally obtained what they think they obtained, the end user is the only thing that matters. Patents expire, designers move, laws change. It becomes pointless to debate the finer of point of whether a pad printing or applied markers make a watch a homage or a iteration to everyone except the person wearing, whose personal idea of that may change.
So remember to ask strangers what watch they’re wearing.
If you’ve read this far I made up all of this and don’t believe a word of it.