This is nothing more than a silly mental exercise, but on a long drive the other day my mind turned to watches (as it sometimes does), and I got to wondering about how much value I personally place on brand/prestige as a factor when deciding whether I believe a watch is worth its asking price. Only thinking about pricier luxury watches here (not Casios), and not necessarily about watches I’d actually want or be able to buy. I’m wondering what other people think, too. I know this is a waste of time and brain-cells. But this is a watch forum, so… The basic premise is that, say, a stainless steel Seamaster diver that costs $5,900 USD retail is---in terms of material and labor costs---probably “worth” a few hundred bucks. You can object and say we need to consider research, design & development, and marketing costs, etc, but even so, when you’re producing at the scale Omega/SWATCH is, I can’t imagine those costs amount to much for any individual item. And yet I’d argue that the 300M diver is a reasonable value when you consider various other factors, and that’s the part that got me into the rabbit-hole. A thing is “worth” only what people are willing to pay for it, and I’d have no problem justifying $5,900 for that watch. Because… -An in-house movement that has a long and storied evolutionary history. Co-axial escapement would be a part of this. -A cultural history (for the watch itself), including connections to events and fictional characters. -Its status relative to its Rolex counterpart, in that it’s less hyped but no less robust or attractive---obviously this is highly subjective---and it doesn’t generate the kind of judgment or resentment the other does. -The allure of the Omega brand itself: this is the reputation/prestige bit. If I’m being honest with myself, then, I’d probably value the-thing-in-itself at about $500. Which means the rather silly/emotional things I just enumerated make up more than 90% of its value to me. Why would I possibly care so much about an in-house movement?: to my non-technical mind, a modified ETA would be just as beautiful and mystifying. And all the other stuff is based in marketing and social reasoning rather than anything inherent. I guess some would call this a definition of “luxury.” But what it got me wondering is: what luxury watch brand do you think sets retail prices that are fairly close (or at least closer than Omega’s) to actual intrinsic value? I’m guessing the answers may be watches at the extremes: more entry-level stainless watches (from, say, Tag?) or complicated precious metal watches that are slow sellers and can sometimes be obtained at less than retail price. ...Or are these just the ravings of a lunatic mind?