I spent some time yesterday looking at the Oris Carl Brashear limited edition and just for a moment thought that the asking price of £3,600 was reasonable.
It was one of those moments when reason had left the building, when the adult in me regressed to childhood and when nothing made sense. Feelings that are no doubt familiar to those of you who own more than two watches. If you own three or more you are a watch collector and you are lost.
Initially I had been looking at the green and bronze Oris Pointer Date (36mm) as a potential anniversary present for my wife, but when I showed her it she declared that she would kill me if I spent £1,400 on it. She absolutely loved the watch in every possible way, but felt that it was far too expensive and that we had better things to spend money on. She is the same one who wears a Fitbit on her left wrist and who has no desire for luxury in its place.
As it happened I was checking out both watches during a special Oris event at a Goldsmiths jewellers. The Oris rep was very polite, knowledgable and had just the right balance to make a potential buyer warm to the idea of such a purchase. And then it all went wrong.
When you are bombarded by phrases like “It’s only £90 per month plus a £450 deposit to buy both” and “You can never have too many Oris watches” I personally start to step back and question the motives at play here. It was not persuasive in any way, but rather was desperate sounding and unnecessary. £5,000 on two watches that you would need to support by finance over four years is crazy and would be a foolish thing to undertake. They did not care though because it was all about the sale(s).
About the sale to the point that one of the Goldsmiths reps told me that there were only eight of the watches left in the country. This then became fifteen two minutes later when the Oris rep tried the same tactic. Also, I was advised that it was an investment as they would both go up in value. Nonsense, I love Oris watches, but they do not increase in value as a general rule, and some depreciate very quickly indeed.
My wife then exclaimed that I could buy a Tudor Black Bay for £1,000 less than the Oris which really did make me think. No matter how much I appreciate Oris, few are worth £1,000 more than the Black Bay, in my humble opinion.
All of this made me reconsider how I feel about watches and the industry in general, and I didn’t like my new found pessimism. We all know that if you walk into a jewellers a large part of the stock on offer is made up of branding, nice boxes and fashion in terms of the pricing. We all know that this is an industry built on intangibles that you cannot see or feel, and that this is why the likes of Rolex, Omega and TAG do well. For me, Oris is slightly outside of those three and really does offer good value in the wider watch market for products that could potentially work on your wrist for decades without issue. However, after spending close to 30 minutes talking to the Oris rep at the event yesterday and witnessing the hard sale that followed I felt differently.
The intangibles are what keep the watch market ticking, but they need to stay in the background for it to work as it should. When pushed the natural reaction is to push back and I didn’t spend a penny.