A friend of mine is vaguely interested in watches and is contemplating buying a nice piece for himself. He's looking at a Tag Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 but asked me whenther I could think of any similar looking alternatives. I mulled it over last night and, being a bit of a fanboy for German watches, thought of the Muhle Glashutte 29er. They both lie somewhere in between a sport watch and a dress watch.
The Muhle has a Sellita SW200 movement, modified to meet the 'Glashutte rules'. There is a good thread in the German watches forum from someone who visited the Muhle factory, explaining the amount of work that Muhle puts into the movement. I'm no expert but it seemed like they did a pretty thorough job of stripping it down and putting their own stamp on the movement.
Apparently the Calibre 5 is based on an ETA 2824 movement. I imagine Tag also do their own enhancements like Muhle.
But here's the rub. I then looked at the retail prices for both, expecting them to be pretty similar. But no, the Muhle retails for around £900 ($1,450) on a bracelet while the Tag is £1,875 ($3,000). Do Tag do lots of work to their movement that Muhle don't? I would have thought that Tag could achieve far greater economies of scale than Muhle so even if they were reinventing the ETA movement, the price differential should be minimal. Like I said, I'm no expert on movements and maybe someone can enlighten me as to why the Tag costs twice the price of the Muhle, but at the moment I can't quite get my head around that difference. Is this simply a case of people having to pay extra for the recognisable brand on their wrist?
P.S. I'm not being anti-Tag in anyway (I quite like a lot of their watches) and hopefully this won't open a can of worms.