Before we start, let’s first get one thing straight: Obviously we are big fans of the watch industry and all its participants. It is the people we get to work with on an everyday basis that share our horological passion and make working in this industry such a bliss. However, this does not mean that we automatically approve of everything that goes on there. Over the years, a number of common practices and habits have emerged that regularly leave us with a bit of a bitter aftertaste.
Without further ado and mentioning names, which is not necessary in many cases anyway, let’s get right into it. Here are five things that annoy us about the watch industry:
Some watch brands are known to launch several limited editions per year. In doing so, they attempt to create a sense of exclusivity that is in fact nonexistent. In our article A rarity, an investment, and where is the style? – Watches as limited editions we take a closer look at this phenomenon.
“We are revolutionizing the watch industry by bypassing the middleman and selling the watch directly to you for a fraction of the price of comparable watches”, that is claim everyone has surely read before at one point in time.
Does this mean that we are not fans of Kickstarter microbrands? Absolutely not, the opposite is true. What is tiring in the long run, however, are the constantly reappearing formulations as to why one’s own watch manages to be so affordable at the quality offered (while simultaneously turning an entire centuries-old tradition upside down).
The expression “in-house caliber” is extremely vague, because no one knows exactly how many components of the watch must actually come from in-house production. Since the term is not officially defined – unlike Swiss Made, for example – watch brands often interpret it according to their own criteria and in their favor. Instead of calling a spade a spade, a fancy new caliber name tries to evoke the impression that a high-quality, self-developed movement is in place. It only requires a bit of digging (or a good eye) to find out, however, that most of the time only a slightly modified standard caliber (such as ETA 2824, Sellita SW200, Miyota 9015 etc.) is being used. A blued screw here and a custom-made rotor there et voilà, ready is the in-house caliber.
Why an in-house caliber is infeasible for most watch brands is nicely demonstrated by NOMOS Glashütte. The development of the “NOMOS swing system” alone, i.e. the brand’s proprietary escapement, took seven years of R&D and required help of the Technical University of Dresden. Taking the extra mile did not come cheap for NOMOS either, as it set the company back approximately 15 million euros. An additional expenditure that only the fewest watch brands with alleged in-house calibers can (or want) to afford.
On land, water and through the air – and for each terrain a separate collection. Even though this division admittedly makes perfect sense, the leitmotifs are always the same, which in turn results in countless almost similar-sounding collections. Just take the respective element in combination with an adventurous word and you have your new collection name. How about Sea Quest, Mountain Conqueror or Aero Flash?
316L surgical grade, anti-corrosive stainless steel in combination with a sapphire crystal whose hardness can only be surpassed by diamonds. In addition, a reliable Swiss “workhorse” caliber and a high-quality tanned bracelet with unparalleled wearing comfort. Who said manufacturing a luxury watch would be difficult?
If only it were that simple. While watch brands often run out of ideas when it comes to collections, they become all the more creative when it comes to describing the most trivial components. In flowery language, watch components are advertised that cost only a few pennies to purchase and can already be found it mechanical watches in the middle, double-digit price segment from the Far East.
Can you also think of examples in the watch industry that make you cringe? Let us know in the comment section.