Sunday, June 02, 2013

Watch Value

Some narrow minded professor made a comment about automatic watches. I love how Watch Snob's response to his article (although I admit the name does not reflect a good impression *cough*).

But lets take another look from a different point of view. The average monthly wage in Switzerland after tax was 4948 CHF (2011). With gross salary about 6000 Swiss francs and a low end automatic watch costing 2000 francs. I would estimate an average employee need to produce 7 to 8 piece per month for the maker to break even and make small profit, if you account for the overhead like factory building, machines, etc. Now.. depending on the automation level of the production process, some watchmaker like Rolex can produce up to 30 watches per month per employee, so if you buy a Rolex, yeah.. you are conned. But for other watches which requires high level of finish and polishing for the dial, its less. Some boutique manufacturer also build their own movement, which can take even longer (and more expensive) to finish a watch.

In contrast, a quartz watch production can probably utilize full automation. Plus circuit boards and battery  produce hazardous chemicals as by product. I think all the important points has been mentioned by Snob. But for me its down to whether you want to pay for machines (and its owners) which churns out cheap, ugly watches. Or pay real artisans for their skill.