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Royal Oak Reference 5402 Sales Numbers

One premise of economics is that human behavior often follows certain predictable paths. It isn't always the case, but it often is. For example, every semester I poll my students with a certain question and every semester the results of the poll are perfectly predictable because there are two laws in economics which almost always hold. Of course, I would be hypocritical if I didn't also follow a predictable path and I'd venture to say that I follow a law of behavior that applies to almost all empirically-oriented economists. It is this: when we see a table of data we want the spreadsheet. Yesterday, I virtually attended a talk hosted by the Horological Society of New York entitled "The Royal Oak: from Iconoclast to Icon" delivered by Audemars Piguet's Heritage and Museum Director (Sebastian Vivas). A fairly rare red-dialed Audemars Piguet Royal Oak I photographed at a Phillips Auction preview. The Royal Oak is a horologically famous watch design celeb
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Houston, We Have MoonSwatch Data

It is fair to say that Swatch's recent release of the Omega Speedmaster-inspired "MoonSwatch" is, thusfar, 2022's highwater mark for consumer interest in timepieces. A spreadsheet at ground control. When Swatch boutiques opened their stores on launch day, they were met by long lines that were reminiscent of the mobs who sought Cabbage Patch dolls during Christmas, 1983. There were even reports of scuffles. Everything sold out and we're still waiting for promised online sales to begin (if they every do). It is hard to find fault with any aspect of this particular product launch. It's said that the role of a central bank is to take away the punchbowl when the party starts to get good. So, in that great tradition, I will spend a bit of time discussing how the product release could have been better when it came to Swatch's bottom line. I really couldn't call myself a dismal scientist if I did otherwise. Swatch found itself in the enviable pos

I Dream of References

Here's how my thought process went when it came to developing this post: Thought : "Hey, how popular is the new Vacheron 222 really? Let me look at Google Trends." (Note: Google Trends is a service from the search engine that allows you to see the volume of searches for a particular term.) Result : Woah. That is a crazy hockey stick. A vintage Vacheron Constantin 222, up for auction this May in Geneva at Phillips. The first lesson we learn from the data is that Vacheron Constantin's Watches and Wonders release of the gold Historiques 222, reference 4200H/222J-B935, was an absolute monster in terms of gaining global attention. Basically, nobody was searching for this reference before the drop, and searches increased roughly 25 fold after the watch was released. You couldn't wish for more confirmation that, a) Jorg Haysek's design for this watch is beloved and timeless and b) Vacheron has much to celebrate when it comes to this release. Then

Beware Mistaken Spreadsheet Authors: the LuxeConsult / Morgan Stanley Report

In 2015, entrepeneur Elizabeth Holmes had an estimated net worth of $4.5 billion. On January 3, 2022, she was found guilty of fraud. In the interim, her net worth was reestimated as zero. One of the most important lessons from the Holmes saga is that falsified data can open the spigot to great riches. A whistleblower testified that Holmes' company manipulated data in order to pass certain tests. We can't lose track of the fact that a spreadsheet always begins empty, and the process whereby that spreadsheet is filled is just as important as the entries in the cells. This month, news broke of a LuxeConsult / Morgan Stanley (hereafter LM) report purporting to describe the state of the luxury watchmaking industry in 2021. It generated a lot of attention . I was a bit bothered by the published pie charts and tables, though. I could not find a copy of the report anywhere. Moreover, the authors assert very specific revenue figures for Rolex, whose secrecy is the stuf

Jean Clade Biver: the Van Gogh of Veritas?

I’ve sometimes wondered if my understanding regarding the watch industry would be any different if I spoke and read the “native tongue” of horology. Of course, defining that native tongue is, itself, very difficult. For me, the language that most comes to mind is French. I spent quite a few years studying Spanish and was somewhat decent at it earlier in my life, but I’m just not sure French is in the cards for me at this point, although I wish it were. A photo I took of a display at Phillips' auction house in NYC during a retrospective of M. Biver's career and collection. Fortunately, we live in an era populated by a wide array of translation tools. Periodically I use these to “peak behind the curtain” of French dialogue regarding the watch industry. In my most recent effort, I used some online services to translate a recording of an interview that Jean Claude Biver gave to a Swiss radio station. Biver doesn’t need an introduction, but I’ll just offer a few key poi

Finance Cosplay In the Secondary Watch Market

Among some participants in the secondary watch market, I've noticed an interesting trend towards using the term "trade" or "trading" to describe watch transactions. They'll say stuff like "the 5711 was trading at $110,000 last week." Top: a well known watch dealer self-styled as a trading desk. Bottom: a real trading desk. This small bit of language suggests, to me, that people are cognitively drifting towards a belief that watches are one of many assets that do actually "trade," such as stocks and bonds. I think there are a lot of problems when it comes to this trend and I'd like to highlight them here. Honestly, this "false equivalance" between watches and financial securities is so bad, it probably should just end. I'm somewhat tempted to tell buyers that if you hear a seller use the word "trade" or "trading" during your transaction, you should probably walk away. Full disclosure: I am a

Hedging with the Smartwatch Ecosystem

I've spent a few days reading Europa Star's issue 4, 2021 . Unsold watch mechanisms and a dial. A recurring theme in that issue is the rather stark decline in sales of accessibly priced Swiss watches. This is a point I've made before and also one that @velocophile compellingly made on Instagram. The whole notion of "accessible" pricing is a bit of a moving target these days, one that seems to involve more and more money over time. Nevertheless, watches priced in a window centered on $1,000 seem to sit around, unsold, in inventory for ever-lengthening spells. There are a lot of people with far more experience than me trying to figure out what to do about this. Smartwatch faces from one ecosystem. A few of those people are experimenting with an option that probably deserves wider adoption: designing and selling digital watchfaces. There is an emerging ecosystem on Apple watches and Wear OS (smart watches from Google) which allows third parties to