The power of the story behind the replica watch

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Why exactly do people buy luxury items like high-end mechanical wristwatches? It’s an interesting psychological question.

We don’t really need them, especially in this decade when our smart devices automatically sync the time to the web. There’s no need to wind, and no need to worry. Still, many of these replica watches fetch astronomical selling prices. What’s the secret?

Over the years watches have been my passion, and through studying them, one thing has become clear to me: Their value comes not so much from what they can do, but from how they make us feel. And furthermore, when there’s an interesting story connected to a watch, it suddenly becomes infinitely more desirable. The most irresistible timepieces are the ones that capture the imagination.

The famous Moonwatch – the Omega Replica Speedmaster did just that in 1969 when one of the greatest stories in history, the first man on the moon, became a reality. Strapped on Buzz Aldrin’s wrist with an oversize band to accommodate his space suit was an cheap Omega, and that perfect brand positioning catapulted Omega’s popularity. Almost fifty years later people are still talking about it. Because the story is so unforgettable, the replica watch is remembered too. Now I admit, it’s not a new marketing tactic.

Rolex was one of the first luxury watch brands to play the imagination card. Images of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay on the summit of Everest, Mercedes Gleitze crossing the English Channel, or a Rolex diving 10,916 meters below sea level in the Marianas trench were some of the first to catch people’s attention.

During the war years these attention-grabbing stories were regularly found in black and white advertisements splashed across newspapers. Rolex replica was daring, pushing the limits, and going further.

The “story of Rolex” is one that marketing genius, Hans Wilsdorf, took great care to write. In the popular mind a Rolex was the wristwatch of an adventurer, a conqueror, a hero.

The famous James Bond played a lead role in that same story. Bond’s creator, Ian Fleming, was a big Rolex fan too, and the dapper secret agent with his gadgets always wore the finest timepiece. Sean Connery wore a Rolex Submariner, reference 6538 on a leather strap in 1962’s Dr. No.

Magnets and a handy Buzz-saw were hidden in Bond’s Rolex 5513 Submariner in Live and Let Die. Besides saving his life, that fake watch was also showed its use by unzipping women’s dresses from a distance.

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Rolex was a regular feature in the Bond franchise, but other brands made their appearance there too, including replica Breitling, Seiko and Omega, and there’s even a Hamilton Pulsar with an LED display from 1977.

Stories have the power to influence how people feel – and that has been the secret to success for the elite names among watchmakers. They know how to utilise the power of association.

When I see an replica Omega Speedmaster, immediately I associate it with images of NASA and the conquest of space. The stories tend to stick in our memory, even if the features of the watch are forgotten.

The same psychology is at work when celebrities are seen wearing a particular watch.

When it’s Sylvester Stallone wearing a replica Panerai, we associate it with Rocky Balboa or even Rambo. When Brad Pitt is seen wearing a Patek Philippe Nautilus, or buying Angelina Jolie a Patek Philippe Minute Repeater ref. 7000 for $390, there’s a story. Perhaps it’s a romance, I’m not sure…

One of TV’s most popular dramas of recent times is Mad Men. Don Draper (played by Jon Hamm) is the main character of the show and is highly regarded for his fashion sense. The watch that seems to get the most screen time in the series is the Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso.

The stories that surround these replica watches have the power to tap into our emotions. They’re what make any good watch irresistible.

How Snoopy Ended Up on an cheap Omega Speedmaster Dial

It is no secret that besides blogging about replica watches for ukomegareplica.co.uk, I also love to collect watches — especially iconic watches like the Rolex GMT-Master, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, Rolex Datejust and, of course, the Omega Speedmaster Professional. I own several of the last model. Ever since I bought my first Speedmaster (more than 15 years ago) I have been hooked on this watch. Not only do I love the design of this chronograph (one of the most clean chronograph dials around); I also like its connection to the Apollo space program.

As you know, Omega has produced quite a few limited editions based on the original Speedmaster Professional. Some like these limited editions, others don’t. However, the fact is that some of these limited editions do appreciate in market value quite well after a few years. One of these models is the Omega Speedmaster Professional “Snoopy Award.” My professional career started around the time this model was introduced (2003), so it was only a lack of funds that prevented me from buying Speedmaster Snoopy back then. Ever since, I have longed for one, but also noticed that over the years they became increasingly difficult to find, at least for a reasonable price. Recently, I decided to go for it despite the high price (compared to that of a standard Omega Speedmaster Professional). I justified the purchase by telling myself that the longer I’d wait, the more expensive it would get, anyway, right? You can read about the efforts I made to obtain the Speedmaster Snoopy here. After showing my precious new Speedmaster Professional with a Snoopy (turned into an astronaut) to some people, a number of them asked why I wanted a cartoon character on the dial of my watch. I was already aware that many people had this perception of the Speedmaster with the Snoopy dial, also given the fact that it was initially sold to a lot of women (women seem to love Snoopy a lot).

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If you are a Speedmaster aficionado as well, and you know a thing or two about the Apollo missions, you probably are already familiar with the use of Snoopy by NASA. In 1968, NASA chose the famous beagle as an icon to act as a sort of “watchdog” over its missions. In the same year, NASA decided to use a sterling silver Snoopy pin as a sign of appreciation to NASA employees and contractors together with a commendation letter and a signed framed Snoopy certificate. Each of the sterling silver Snoopy label pins has been flown during a NASA mission. Cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, who created the “Peanuts” comic strip (featuring Snoopy and Charlie Brown) was a supporter of the NASA Apollo missions and agreed to let them use “Snoopy the astronaut” at no cost and even drew the Snoopy figure for the sterling silver label pin.

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In May 1969, the Apollo 10 mission flew to the moon to do the final checks in order for the following mission, Apollo 11, to land on the Moon. The Apollo 10 mission required the LM (lunar module) to check the moon’s surface from nearby and “snoop around” to find a landing site for Apollo 11. Because of this, the Apollo 10 crew (Gene Cernan, John Young and Thomas Stafford) named the LM “Snoopy.” The Apollo CM (command module) was nicknamed “Charlie Brown.” Fast-forward to 1970. In the interim, humans had set foot on the moon and, about one year later, the Apollo 13 mission was meant to bring another team of NASA astronauts to the Moon (Lovell, Swigert and Haise). The mission’s objective was to explorer a certain area on the moon called the Fra Mauro formation. It didn’t get that far, as there was an explosion on board the service module at approximately 200,000 miles distance from Earth.

NASA’s ground control came up with a solution in the end, which required the astronauts to get creative with some materials on board their module. After fixes were made and all systems worked (more or less) again, the crew started their journey to Earth. This is the really quick version of the story of course; the entire adventure is depicted in the 1995 movie, Apollo 13, starringTom Hanks (an avid Speedmaster wearer himself, probably becoming one after his role in this movie). Now comes the part where the Speedmaster played an important role. The Apollo 13 crew needed the replica Omega Speedmaster watch, first to time ignition of the rockets to shorten the estimated length of the return to Earth, and secondly, to time the ignition of the rockets to decrease speed and raise the flight path angle for re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. This second operation was crucial, since any mistake in the timing could have led to an incorrect entry angle and, as a result, potential disaster for the crew. As explained before, NASA used the Snoopy award for special contributions and outstanding efforts from both NASA personnel and contractors. On October 5th, 1970, NASA gave the Omega Speedmaster a Snoopy award to acknowledge the crucial role the watch played during the Apollo 13 mission.

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In 2003, Omega introduced the Speedmaster Professional “Snoopy Award” to commemorate this 1970 milestone. Although the watch was a limited (and numbered) edition, Omega produced a whopping 5,441 pieces of the Speedmaster Snoopy. The number has to do with the 142 hours, 54 minutes and 41 seconds that the mission lasted. A bit of a stretch, in my opinion, but a nice idea. Omega’s reason for introducing this fake watch 33 years after the Apollo 13 mission, and being awarded with the Snoopy, is unknown to me. Based on the brand’s other limited editions, I would have expected such a release on a 30th or perhaps 35th anniversary rather than a 33rd. Despite the relative high number of Snoopy Speedmasters out there, you’ll have to search to find one at a decent price. Also, beware of Snoopy Speedmasters that had the dial and caseback fitted later on (Omega delivered them to service centers as spare parts). Always make sure you buy a Speedmaster Snoopy with the original anthracite (Snoopy) box, certificate of authenticity (with matching number on the caseback). There should also be a copy of the original Snoopy appreciation certificate with the watch.

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So now you know. When there is a Snoopy on an cheap Omega Speedmaster dial, it actually means something. In the end, of course, one need not be versed in all this history to purchase and appreciate this replica watch; one may just be a fan of Snoopy. A review of the Omega Speedmaster Professional ‘Snoopy Award’ can be found here. More information about Omega Speedmasters in general can be found on the Speedy Tuesday page on Replica Watches.

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Dangers ratchet up for Swiss replica watches industry

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Swatch’s empire includes the luxury watches brand Omega

These are worrying times for Switzerland’s watchmakers. The industry is in deep recession. Hit by China’s crackdown on corruption, terrorism in Europe, and the rise of the smartwatch, exports in the first seven months of 2016 were 11 per cent lower than a year earlier, the Swiss replica watch federation reported last week.

In the towns and valleys of west Switzerland, where production is concentrated, memories remain fresh of the 1970s, when the sector was almost destroyed by rival Japanese quartz timepieces.

The recovery in the 1980s is attributed to the late Nicolas Hayek — a Swiss forerunner to Apple’s Steve Jobs — who took over the company that became Swatch Group and made the iconic plastic Swatch watch synonymous with Swiss survival instincts and ingenuity.

This time it is Hayek’s son Nick, the current chief executive of Swatch, on whom the industry’s future largely rests.

Swatch is a sprawling conglomerate of which its eponymous mass-market watch is only part. The empire also includes luxury brands replica Omega and Rolex, mid-range products such as Tissot, and extensive component-making operations. As such, Swatch is for the Swiss what Volkswagen is for Germans — an industrial icon controlled largely by a powerful clan (At VW, it is the Porsche and Piëch families .)

Presenting weak half-year results last month, Mr Hayek dismissed the industry’s woes as transitory — the result of economic conditions, shifting tourist flows and the strong franc. He predicted a recovery in the second half of the year. But can Swatch — whose shares have fallen 30 per cent over the past year — really lead another turnround?

A new book is causing a stir in Switzerland this summer by attempting to rewrite the Swatch story. When corporatism leads to corporate governance failure: the case of the Swiss replica watches industry is not the snappiest title. But the authors from Zürich’s Center for Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability reach an explosive conclusion: rather than being the industry’s potential saviour, Swatch has become emblematic of “Swiss corporatism” that has stifled competition and the creation of new markets.

Authors Isabelle Schluep Campo and Philipp Aerni argue the 1983 merger that created Swatch was largely about financial engineering and protecting Swiss banks’ interests. They say steps essential to the turnround had been taken before the senior Mr Hayek took control.

The book argues that, like Volkswagen, Swatch — whose board chairman is the chief executive’s sister, Nayla — takes pride in contravening norms; but its past success and strong local reputation risk distracting from possible dangers ahead. Most pertinently, the group has failed to develop breakthrough products comparable with the Swatch watch in the 1980s, despite dabbling in new battery and car technologies as well as traditional replica watch making.

Nevertheless, they argue, Swatch will be protected by tougher “Swiss-ness” laws which from next year will increase the share of local production required for a “Swiss made” stamp — at the expense of rivals seeking efficiencies through global production chains. “The Swiss replica watch industry of today is much less prepared to face the challenges related to disruptive technologies than was the case in the 1980s,” the book argues.

Unsurprisingly, Swatch rejects such accusations. “This so-called study is full of false information, allegations and wrong assumptions,” it told the Financial Times. “The track record of the last 40 years of successful entrepreneurship … speaks for itself.” In its defence, Swatch has innovated, launched replica watches uk with “smart” functions and takes pride in its record of watchmaking technology patents.

But maybe that is not the point. Swiss watch industry leaders believe luxury mechanical watches are about timeless qualities, not functionality; they are jewellery for the wrist. Indeed, smartwatches could encourage a new generation to wear devices in the same place. Continental Europe’s family-run industries would no doubt be weaker if they always heeded the advice of governance experts.

Then again, the Swiss industry cannot afford to ignore the threat to its cheaper products posed by smart watches. This time last year, VW was closing in on becoming the world’s biggest carmaker before an emissions scandal linked to its culture tarnished its image. Could Swatch be riding for a similar fall?