Why can’t you perfectly counterfeit a watch? The value of watches mostly comes from rarity and not resources.


Why can’t you perfectly counterfeit a watch? The value of watches mostly comes from rarity and not resources.

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As you say, the rarity makes them valuable,

Each watch is usually assigned a serial number marking its authenticity. Meaning only one person can have any one of these watches, and a quick check by a valuer will be able to affirm this easily.

I’m not sure what your second sentence has to do with your first.

You can’t perfectly counterfeit a watch because you don’t have access to the exact same procedures and factories and whatnot that the original manufacturer has.

It takes a lot of precision machinery and skill to build a high-quality watch. If you’ve invested in the equipment and skilled labour to make an equivalent to a Tissot, it would be more profitable and safer for you to just make your own designs.
Luxury watches have huge margins, but the people who buy them would only purchase from a licensed dealer with verifiable paperwork, so you’d be selling to people who somehow wanted a Tissot knock-off of equivalent quality, but didn’t care that it’s a fake as long as it’s cheap, and those people don’t really exist. Most fakes are sold to people who really don’t care at all and just want a shiny watch, and you don’t need the high-grade equipment and expensive artisans to meet their demands.

I’m a watch guy. And yes, you can absolutely make a perfect replica of high end luxury watches that will fool a casual observer. But why stop there? It’s a lot simpler to make a perfect replica of a purse and with luxury purses not even the manufacturer could tell the difference if your replica is good enough as the materials and construction are pretty simple (compared to a watch anyways). For paintings there are high quality scanning and printing techniques (even down to capturing texturing and 3d brush strokes) that can reproduce paintings indistinguishable to the human eye to the original. You’d have to break out magnification and chemical analysis equipment.

So why would someone pay 10K for something that costs 500 bucks to make and for whic there are EXCELLENT knock offs available for 1k? You could very easily imagine aliens coming to earth and being completely baffled at that question. But there’s something about the human spirit that cares about the history of a physical object. It is an irrational thing, but it is undeniable. It is better to have king arthur’s real sword excaliber than it would be to have a perfect replica. Its better to have Winston Churchill’s half finished box of cigars than a random box of the same brand and vintage. Its better to have Neil Armstrong’s omega speedmaster professional than it is to have some random speedmaster, and in turn better to have one of those than a knock off.