In watches, where does ‘luxury’ begin?

Is ‘luxury‘ determined by price point? Is it relative? Does it mean the same to two different people from different parts of the world?

Is it exclusivity?

Some have referred to Omega/Rolex as entry level luxury, I’m not sure I agree, but wanted to see where everyone thought the line began.

JLC?

Hamilton?

Tissot?

Microbrands?

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Anything under $999 is low quality crap for poor lazy idiots. 

Anything over $1000 is pretentious overpriced crap for the 1% scum. 

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Much discussed topic here and Adrian Barker did a nice video on it too. Technically one could claim all watches are a luxury, but in terms of luxury goods? At the cross section of exclusivity, quality, and cost.  Most Omegas are premium products, but since literally anyone with a credit card can buy one there is almost zero exclusivity. Those with the means want a level of exclusivity. Someone once said this about Coach; “I don’t want to show up to the office in the same bag my secretary has.” It’s crass, rude, and Coach is a perfectly fine product, but that is the reality when drawing the line for many.

I’d argue Rolex is more exclusive and harder to obtain that say most of the VC catalog despite costing less, but they are no VC. They never intended on being a luxury product, but It turned into the luxury brand of Luxury brands. Ferrari, Harry Winston, Hermes, Koenigsegg, etc. all have similar traits.

Does that take away from other premium brands? Absolutely not. Many widely available brands could be argued better in many ways, but if you ask the wealthiest what defines luxury; good or bad, exclusivity is a leading factor. 

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I think Adrian Barker mis-represented “difficult to obtain” in his video. I think Rolex is exclusive right now, but thats not the same. It is reserved for a certain clientele. Difficult to obtain luxuries would be things which require distant travel or importation. There are resources dedicated to procuring it. 
 

All that to say that any three-hander north of a few thousand is a luxury. It is unnecessary adornment beyond the expense required to perform any tool function. 

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I think you’ll define what luxury is to you along the way. It is subjective and dependent on and individuals perspective and experience. 
 

To me it’s a watch that you aspire to own or did so before purchasing it. Something that makes you feel a bit special when you wear it. 

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Just outside your reach. There it begins, until infinity.

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It’s all relative. I posted my SMPc in a raw denim subreddit and was chastised by one user over my “display of ostentatious wealth”. 

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cornfedksboy

I think Adrian Barker mis-represented “difficult to obtain” in his video. I think Rolex is exclusive right now, but thats not the same. It is reserved for a certain clientele. Difficult to obtain luxuries would be things which require distant travel or importation. There are resources dedicated to procuring it. 
 

All that to say that any three-hander north of a few thousand is a luxury. It is unnecessary adornment beyond the expense required to perform any tool function. 

I agree, Rolex is hard to get right now not because Rolex is exclusive, it's hard to get because it's not exclusive enough. With cheap interest anyone could walk into an AD put their name on a list, then buy the watch on a line of credit when it arrived. 

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When it hurts and you have to really think about spending that much on a watch, it’s a luxury.

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jorgen83

It’s all relative. I posted my SMPc in a raw denim subreddit and was chastised by one user over my “display of ostentatious wealth”. 

Well, I think we can all agree that you’re clearly the worst... but I’d say that was harsh!

And, SMP? Nice :)

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Grunka_Lunka

Well, I think we can all agree that you’re clearly the worst... but I’d say that was harsh!

And, SMP? Nice :)

Honestly a good reality check.

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Luxury is in the eyes of the beholder. 

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Things other can have but you can't. Or, things that you can have but others can't.

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So Luxury is that thing you can never (or stretch to) attain?

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Once you start moving past 300-500 quid to be honest — even at that point, it’s in the same price area as most basic entry level jewellery that serves a purpose (wedding rings etc) or video game consoles and entry level television sets of a standard sort of size.

 No one would argue that a video game console isn‘t a luxury, because unless you review games for a living, it isn’t a necessity. It contains an element of keeping up with a peer group for sure, for taking part in a certain subculture… all exactly like watches in higher price brackets. 
 

There are basic watches that do all you could require in the 5-70 quid range, everything after that is usually a purely aesthetic matter. Expensive watches for a certain look, or because they are automatic/mechanical (and since the advent of quartz those are absolutely about an aesthetic or artisanal choice and no longer about function) and again about an element of fashion or subculture. 
 

Once you start leaving the confines of the Argos catalogue, once you start entering into the world of going to speciality stores, then you are in luxury territory. Omega is just as luxury to the vast majority of people as AP, or Cartier, etc etc. The difference between a watch costing three thousand and one costing three million does not really make much odds in those regards.

Even an Apple Watch, as ubiquitous as they may now same, is basically a luxury consumer electronics product — albeit one a bit easier to get, because people will get it on credit with their phone (smartphones by this point in the developed world being a necessity, albeit an expensive one) and there are significantly cheaper smartwatches available. (I got my first Fitbit cut-price in Sainsbury’s.)

The idea posited that all watches are luxury products because people will usually use their phones radically overestimates how far phones actually have penetrated our lives. There are plenty of times and places where that isn’t an option, and watches are still peoples de facto time-telling tool. I think it’s something Adrian talked about in his video, which was still a commentary that — definitely for want of a better description, and with no insult intended — came from a place of privilege in many ways. 
 

Ironically, it’s something I think TGV has a better handle on in his videos in some ways.

So yeah, once you get into triple figures, it’s already becoming a bit of a luxury, and by the time it’s at four figures, it definitely is.

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I think that it is more a temporary situation in both ways. For you to get that thing could take forever, unfortunately, but things change quite often. When you get that thing, it will still be luxury as long as it is something you can have, but others can't. Ah, probably for that guy, who had what you couldn't, that item may not be luxury anymore. And so forth...

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Whatever costs as much as a new microbrand to repair.