What Makes Watches Expensive? The 5 Dimensions of a Luxury Watch
When buying a luxury timepiece, you should expect a price range that’s not in the affordable limit for most people. But what makes watches so expensive? Are there tangible advantages that differentiate between a run-of-the-mill watch and a luxurious one? This article aims to analyze the array of factors that contribute to raising the value of a more expensive timepiece, which doesn’t only serve to show the time but to act as a jewelry as well.
The first thing you think of when talking about any sort of high-end product is whether you’re getting your money’s worth. That brings the discussion in the field of quality, which in turn can only be obtained from top notch materials.
As such, cheap materials like plastic will render a very inexpensive albeit functional watch, while stainless steel and precious metals that cost more will up the price of a luxury timepiece.
These materials will make your watch look good, but also be more durable. For instance, some Rolexes are so good, you can dive at great depths without damaging them since they can face a tremendous amount of pressure.
But apart from the actual cost of the materials used, quality stems from the machinery used to process those materials. Needless to say that in order to add finesse and intricacy to the design, companies need to invest in cutting-edge, up to date machinery.
That’s what makes a watch have an exquisite design and turns it into a work of art. In fact, some watches require a lot of handmade effort and skill to add incrusted precious stones.
When it comes to investing in the technology, the first thing that comes to mind is the movement. That’s because:
- It requires years to perfect.
- Many brands want to have copyright over a signature movement, which demands a lot of research.
- The engineers hired to develop new patterns of movement are experts in their field, therefore they need to be paid accordingly.
- Testing the movement is a particularly painstaking and expensive process.
That being said, not only the big brands are involved in developing signature movements for their watches, but a lot of other more common brands as well. So even if you’re buying a quartz watch, it can still be more expensive if it has a unique movement.
When you start thinking about how complicated it is to create and perfect a mechanical movement, you begin to understand why these watches can get so expensive. Even the most basic type of mechanical movement, with a bought technology can still up the price of your timepiece to a few hundred dollars.
That brings the point to another thing: some companies purchase their movements, but that’s not cheap either. Depending on the company they choose to buy from, they still have to pass a lengthy approval process and pay a high price.
Take BNB Concept, which was one of the most renowned companies in the business of producing movements. They had huge prices which shows that watch manufacturers are willing to pay a lot to buy movements.
We already talked about how expensive decorating watches by hand is. That’s because it requires:
- Attention to details.
Plus, there are a lot more people involved in this process, including artists and jewellers. And companies can’t afford to hire just anyone, but they have to get experts who really know what they’re doing.
All these artists are paid quite handsomely for their efforts not only because of the skill involved, but because there aren’t a lot of specialists in this field of work.
When you buy a luxury watch you expect to get something that is one of a kind. That’s because you want to:
- Make sure you get added value in time.
- Stand out of a crowd when you’re wearing your brand new Rolex.
And you can’t enjoy any of these advantages if you’re buying a watch that was produced in a bulk. Twill lead to a higher cost of development, since:
- It costs more to set up the machines that will produce only a limited amount of watches, because the brand will invest again in tooling with the next edition.
- It’s more expensive to get the copyright, the movements or the parts for a smaller number of watches, as the company will have to pay for these again when creating a new model.
- The design costs increase if the company is changing it frequently along with each new model produced.
- Custom watches are in a higher price range, since they also involve a lot of effort in their making and handmade decorations.
Apart from all these objective reasons, you’re not buying only a tangible product but a well-known name.
So you’re investing in:
- Social recognition.
- Defining your lifestyle.
- Making part of an elite.
Building an image for yourself means taking perceived quality into account along with the objective quality of a certain item. That will help define your personality and lifestyle, making you part of a group of peers you want to identify yourself with.
While you want to show your interest in having luxurious tastes that render you an elite individual, this image is built at the confluence of grade A features and intelligent marketing.
The reasons for that is objects don’t have an intrinsic luxury. Conversely we attribute that feature to them according to certain social norms and customs. That’s what happened with gold, black pearls and money, and it’s what happens with watches too.
The higher the perceived value of a certain watch, the more it costs. Nonetheless, that’s a long term investment you might be keen on making.
As a conclusion, there is no simple answer to what makes watches expensive since there’s a mix of factors that come into play and the rules of the market are ever-changing.
But if we were to try a one-word answer, that would be “us”. What’s your take on this matter? Let us know in the comment section below.