In one word....GREED.
I have a Tag Heuer Formula 1 Red Bull, which is a really cool looking watch. I got it on the bracelet because I thought it would be more practical and also cheaper to buy the fabric strap as an extra later.
So I got a quote for the fabric strap....I was expecting £100ish...But no...£235. Two Hundred and Thirty-Five pounds for a few inches of fabric and a couple of bits of metal. What is the mark up on that? It can't cost Tag more than a pound or two to make.
You can buy a high quality fabric, leather or rubber strap for £30 odd pounds from Hirsch / Di Modell and others...Why do Tag (and I am sure most other similar brands) take their customers for mugs. It shows a real lack of respect and basically assumes we are stupid enough to pay anything for something simply because it's from them rather than a third party.
Watch sales are down generally and, whilst I haven't done any particular review of the reasons it wouldn't surprise me if a reason is the fact that most brands have tried to move upmarket over the last few years by increasing prices without really changing the product significantly, pricing more people out.
I didn't buy the strap so if anyone has any good suggestions for an alternative let me know!
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