Once we were done at Westime (for now), we made our way to the section of Rodeo Drive, affectionately known as Richemont Row: IWC, Panerai, Hublot, Cartier, JLC, Vacheron Constantin and Piaget are all within a block of each other. Incredibly, none were that busy that Saturday, and so we had the whole place to ourselves. The real amazing part of this trip is not when you get to try on a rare IWC Ingenieur or Panerai Luminor. It's when Ariel gives the nod, and they bring out the 'safe' watches: the ones not on display. I wish I could show you pictures of some of the rare & boutique only watches we got to see, but sadly, no pictures were allowed (I really tried!).
High-end French wines also belonged to a category that encountered a drop in exports depending very much on the Chinese market, too, whereas leather goods are reported to have gained, especially due to stronger demands in the US and Japan.
For a while now, Zenith has been a sponsor of the Spindrift Racing team - a group involved in catamaran sailboat racing. Here is one of their latest El Primero watches to celebrate that partnership, and it is actually pretty cool. Boat racing is a popular activity that luxury watch brands like to attach themselves to because a disproportionately large number of wealthy people follow the sport. That is probably because people follow sports they can relate to, and mostly those people who own or sail boats are going to be interested in sailboat racing. As such, I've tried to understand where Spindrift Racing competes and in what types of events... and I am pretty lost, given my unfamiliarity with what seems like obscure European port cities. At least I know something about watches.
So yes, watch lovers and "the general public" have different watch tastes. That is something I've known for a long time, and perhaps something that I will explore more in the future. Having said that, brands like Rolex, Omega, and TAG Heuer - that do not strictly survive on sales from watch lovers - nevertheless continue to offer a large assortment of watches that greatly appeal to us. And if there is one watch that I can think of that equally appeals to the watch lover and the general public, it is the famous Rolex Submariner.
The 38mm Tangente 38 Datum on my seven inch wrist.
One of the reasons I really enjoy Ball watches so much is the incredibly prolific nature of their watch department. It isn't just the amount of new watches Ball releases each year, but also the sheer variety that interests me. That, and the fact that despite all the visual novelty, most Ball watches are good at retaining that sense of core brand DNA which makes their products distinct and noticeable. Another new 2014 model is this Ball Engineer Master II Pilot GMT timepiece.