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Has Swatch Encountered Diminishing Returns?

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but I'm not sure it is worth a thousand points of data. My Mission to Mars MoonSwatch and Fifty Fathoms homage by Steeldive. The pictures from the last 10 days or so suggest that Swatch has delivered another blockbuster by way of their most recent "collaboration" with Blancpain, this one officially known as the Bioceramic Scuba Fifty Fathoms (SFF). Social media served up numerous photos of queues outside of Swatch stores ahead of the SFF launch on September 9. Plenty of aspiring owners waited long hours for their chance to buy the newest accessible riff on a design that typically commands a price in the five digit range. I'll admit that the photos convinced me that Swatch has a replicable formula for developing watches that are so in demand they can be flipped for a sizable premium. As I've done before, though, I prefer to ask the data what, exactly, is going on with the release of this timepiece. And the data
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In Brief: Wherefore Art Thou Timex?

Last week, news broke in a local newspaper that Timex Group USA conditionally sold their headquarters in Middlebury, Connecticut for $7.5 million. An older Timex that belonged to a family member. The buyer plans to build a "food distribution center" on the property, but the sale will only go through if certain wetlands permits are approved. Moreover, "On May 10, the Middlebury Conservation Commission approved the permit for a food distribution center consisting of a 540,000-square-foot building and a smaller 180,000-square-foot building on a 111-acre site consisting of the 93-acre campus of the Timex property and a neighboring 18-acre property on Southford Road belonging to another Drubner family partnership." Further complicating the matter is the fact that a politician elected to state government managed to slip a clause into a two year budget bill making it even harder for the potential buyer to build the food distribution center. Said politician lives acros

Rolex + Bucherer: Context and Consequences

A Rolex-Bucherer spoon, these were given out to accompany Rolex watch purchases. Rolex announced its planned acquisition of retailer Bucherer last week. In this post, I'd like to offer some analysis, contextualization and possible consequences of the development. In hindsight, the acquisition makes perfect sense and I'd like to explain why that is the case. To begin, let's remember how the modern Rolex brand was established. A schematic illustrating the earliest era of Rolex's business organization. Rolex co-founder Hans Wilsdorf passed away in 1960 without any direct heirs. Rather than sell his company, he left it to a charitable foundation in Switzerland. Rolex is a non-profit. In their press release announcing the acquisition of Bucherer, Rolex specifically mentioned that the retailer's current owner, Jörg Bucherer, does not have any direct descendants. This was not some toss-away line. The brand is pointing us to the fact that, from this perspective, Bu

By Grace of the Crown

Photo of a Rolex Deep Sea which I took at the Beyer museum in Zurich. If I told you there is a switch that Rolex could flip and immediately hamstring the American secondary watch market would you believe me? Frankly, I wouldn't have believed this myself until I stumbled upon a disclaimer in a Sotheby's catalogue from 2008. It read: "Important Notice regarding Importation into the United States of Corum, Rolex, Piaget or Franck Muller Watches. Sotheby's cannot arrange for the delivery of Corum, Rolex, Piaget or Franck Muller watches to the United States because U.S. laws restricts the import of Corum, Rolex, Piaget or Franck Muller watches. The curiousity-inducing text from a vintage Sotheby's catalogue. The buyer or a designated agent may collect the property in the country of sale." I thought this was an extremely odd restriction which, frankly, I had never heard of before. Restrictions on international flows of goods are not, themselves, rare. Quot

Mission to Moonshine Gold: Swatch Does It Because It Works

I listen to a good number of podcasts regarding the watch industry, one of which is A Blog to Watch Weekly . Mission to Mars: One of two MoonSwatches in my collection. In a recent episode, when host Rick introduced the topic of the most recent Swatch X Omega Mission to Moonshine Gold MoonSwatch, co-host Ariel Adams audibly sighed in apparent exasperation. I was simultaneously amused by and sympathetic with Adams' frustration at the 30-ish day cycle of new releases when it comes to the Moonshine MoonSwatches. Just to be clear: I have nothing against the MoonSwatch. I own two: Mission to the Sun and Mission to Mars. They are comfortable and fun to wear. However, the "Mission to MoonShine Gold" (M2MG hereafter) product series is a bit of a stretch when it comes to the MoonSwatch. The underlying exercise takes place during each full moon, which is when Swatch releases a store-only special edition of the Mission to the Moon MoonSwatch with one small change: the chronogra

Is Antiquorum Sufficiently Anticrime?

One of the more interesting people to arrive on YouTube in the past three years is Larry Lawton . After six years in the Coast Guard, Lawton drifted into the world of organized crime but law enforcement eventually caught up to him. Lawton spent many years behind bars and, now that he's been released, he genuinely seems interested in telling his story so that others won't make the same mistakes he did. His videos appear quite unfiltered when it comes to his crimes and his punishment. Lawton ended up specializing in jewelry store theft. In some of his videos, he details how particular "jobs" went down. Lawton's videos focus on his crimes in Florida and the general region near Florida. His heists frequently involved leaving a store, getting on the highway, and driving long distances for the next phase of his operation: selling stolen items. This process involved getting on interstate 95, which is a highway that runs the length of the east coast of the United States

Striking the Right Note: the AP Royal Oak Offshore Music Edition

This week's release of the Royal Oak Offshore Self-Winding Music Edition. The newest reference of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Music Edition in 37 mm (ref 77600CE.OO.A002CA.01) is not an opening act. It was in 2022 that we first saw the Royal Oak's famed tapisserie dial morph into stacked rectangular rainbow bars evoking musical spectrum analyzers (or perhaps EQ's on old school stereos). The most recent release is a first for me, though. I went hands-on with the ROO Music Edition a few weeks ago so I thought I would share some of my firsthand impressions. This rendition of the ROO Music Edition is in black ceramic, a material in harmony with the musical motifs found throughout the design. Crown and case detail from the Royal Oak Offshore Self-Winding Music Edition. For example, many stereo systems sport a brushed black face. The titanium crown guards evoke the sliders on a sound mixing board while the case engraving immediately adjacen