6 Reasons Why Are Watches So Expensive

  • by 6 ICE
  • 5 min read

It’s not much of a secret that jewelry can be pretty expensive. But it’s hard to put a price tag on your own self-confidence and worth, which is exactly what jewelry has the power to do.

With that said, there is one specific type of piece that always seems to have a shocking amount of digits attached — watches. What exactly makes watches so expensive?

Here are some of the main reasons why:

Complexity

Watches might be small little machines that you wear around your wrist, but they’re a lot more complex than bracelets. This complexity begins from development all the way to the end of production.

Luxury brands have their own development teams that do hard research to figure out the best materials to match with new models, the best inner mechanisms to last the longest, and more. Particularly developing a new watch movement can be especially challenging.

Movements, also known as the calibre, are the engine of the watch that actually make it function properly. Movements are so tiny, and in many cases, it can take years to develop new ones. While many watch companies do not necessarily need to create new movements if they already have one, many luxury brands are always looking to innovate.

This equates to millions of dollars worth of time and research to figure out exactly how to make a watch function. And that’s not even counting the time and labor it takes to put the watch together. A simple mechanical watch contains around 130 components, with complex watches containing much more.

6 Reasons Why Are Watches So Expensive

Brand

When you think of a luxury watch brand, names like Rolex and Patek probably spring to mind. These brands already have a reputation as being on the higher end of the price spectrum, so consumers are expecting to pay more for their pieces just to get a little bit of extra clout. This is another reason why many luxury watches are so high in price.

Many people will only buy watches from a brand because they associate it with a certain prestige or essence. It means that you can gain respect from peers and friends who might be a bit jealous of your apparent wealth.

But don’t let these luxury brands fool you. Just because a watch is coming from a luxury brand doesn’t mean it’s any higher quality than another.

Rolex never used to be a luxury brand. In fact, they were marketed to general consumers. But thanks to clever marketing in recent years, they’ve shifted the perspective and are now one of the most sought-after watch brands in the world.

Cost of Labor

We talked a bit about how there are plenty of moving parts involved in creating just a single watch. These are so intricate that machines are usually not able to create them. This means that almost every single mechanical watch you’ve ever seen was made by hand from start to finish.

When it comes to extremely complicated watches, there are only a select few people in the entire world with the skill needed to make these movements. This naturally means that the production cost is super high compared to many other commercial jewelry products.

Watchmakers tend to make a good wage, so the cost of labor is high. Additionally, the more experienced or skilled a watchmaker might be, the more the watch itself might cost.

Materials Used

There is a major difference between battery-operated movements and mechanical movements. Battery-operated movements use a small battery and electrical current to keep accurate time. They are much more affordable and easier to produce compared to mechanical movements.

Mechanical watches are powered by a mainspring. In older watches, you’d need to wind this mainspring yourself every two to three days. But newer advancements have allowed the movement of your arm to power the mainspring so that you don’t need to take this next step.

Mechanical watches require significantly more pieces, and many luxury brands make their movements in-house because it adds yet another layer of appeal. While this is appreciated by watch enthusiasts, it is naturally more expensive than outsourcing materials from elsewhere. This means the cost of producing these movements can be super high.

But outside of the movements themselves, the watch face might also be made with high-quality materials that equate to a higher price tag. Many high-end watches incorporate gold or diamonds around the watch's face to enhance their physical appearance. Naturally, this makes them a bit pricier.

Take our White Gold Rocketeer Watch, for instance. The inside is made with a signature sweeping quartz movement — but what you see matters even more. With handset CZ diamonds and 14k white gold plating on all sides of the watch face, you’ll stare at your piece so much that you’ll never be late again.

6 Reasons Why Are Watches So Expensive

Limited Production

Considering the fact that creating those tiny, complex movements is a time-consuming, challenging process: It means that watch companies won’t create many watches at a time. In fact, luxury brands might only release around 500-1,000 pieces of a given model at a time.

This makes them a hot commodity, and their rarity makes them even more sought after by jewelry aficionados. The low supply paired with the high demand makes it easy for brands to hike up the prices almost as high as they want.

Not to mention, there is something to be said about the eagerness to acquire something which you cannot have. Many people will pay a premium when they believe that they are acquiring something rare and unlike anything else. This means that many people will be willing to pay higher prices simply because a watch is considered rare.

Markups

While a lot of money needs to be spent on the cost of labor, materials, and production, a watch brand also needs to make some profit in order to be reinvested into the business. This money can be used to develop new watches as well as innovate and revolutionize existing pieces.

But companies need to markup their prices in order to actually see some of this money, so the price will inevitably be increased. These markups are typically more extensive depending on how expensive the base watch itself costs to make.

In Conclusion

Watches are one of the best ways to amplify your style in a profoundly mature way. But they’re not cheap, and there are plenty of reasons why.

Some of the main reasons include the fact that they are super complex, and the cost of labor to produce them is often insanely high because there are so few watchmakers able to make them in the first place. But on top of that, luxury brands are able to pay a premium price simply because of the name of the brand.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself every now and then, and 6 Ice can make you feel like royalty. Our collection of watches will make you feel like a true hip hop icon, and since they’re all backed by our lifetime guarantee, you can feel confident in your purchase. 

Check out our watch collection here and choose one (or two) that match your style.

 

Sources:

Are Luxury Brand Labels and “Green” Labels Costly Signals of Social Status? An Extended Replication | PLOS ONE

The parts of a watch | Discover Switzerland

Classical Mechanical Clocks | University of Alaska Fairbanks

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