Daily on WUS one can find members, new and long term, asking for input on which watch is "the best" for them. Also, one'll see no shortage of comments about this or that movement being "better" or "the best." Consumers have exactly the same question regarding cars, which if one visits a car forum, one'll see exactly the same sorts of questions and comments.
Now in the automobile industry, Ward's annually issues it's list of the ten best car motors (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ward%27s_10_Best_Engines). And unlike magazines like Motor Trend and Car and Driver, Ward's is an industry publication. In other words, it sees it's primary audience as car dealers and automobile makers (About Us | WardsAuto) as shown by their "About Us" statement: "No matter how your customers prefer to stay tuned into the industry, WardsAuto is the name they trust." (Of course Ward's realizes some consumers also read their publications.)
Since Ward's writes for car dealers, they aren't concerned about alienating any given manufacturer. Why would they be? Car dealership owners don't care (business wise from a brand positioning POV) what kind of new cars they sell because they make the overwhelming bulk of their money in the service department, not the new car sales department. New car dealers want to sell cars that will attract traffic and revenue to their service bays. That's why you rarely if ever see a car dealership owner who has only one store, and that store sells low volume cars.
The reason for the preceding is to say that in spite of Ward's performing a lot of work/analysis to determine what automotive engines are "the best," the top selling cars aren't, for the most part, ones having those engines. I don't know about you, but I care far more about the engine in my car being "up to snuff" than I do about the one in my watch. After all, if my watch's engine dies, it'll have no meaningful impact on my life. No so with my car's engine.
So taking the thoughts above and applying them to the watch industry and watch consumers, I see some differences, several of which it is strange to me that they exist.
- WIS seem very focused on watch engines, and yet as they almost certainly are automotive consumers who in general follow the same automotive trends as other consumers, they probably don't (collectively) buy the cars that have the best motors.
- I can't find a watch industry publication that produces a similar type of analysis re: watch movements as Ward's does for car engines.
- Consumers consider more than the motor when they buy cars, and yet the "motor" is the focus of oh, so much watch discussion. If one is to judge by the top selling cars, and Ward's ranking of engines, the motor isn't even the most important factor for car consumers.
- A failed car engine is a much bigger problem for most folks than is a dead watch movement.
- Watch folks will "stress" over a watch movement -- want something "special" -- even when they are buying modestly priced watches.
- Judging by Ward's list, one can buy a modestly priced car and get a top rated engine, but few folks ever are "snobby" (toward the car, the motor or the owner) about the fact that their neighbor who just bought a Bentley (or another very pricey car) didn't get a car having one of the best engines in it.. Judging by the track record of low priced watch movements, one can buy a modestly priced watch and get a top performing movement, yet there is no dearth derisive or dismissive thinking/commentary, some of which is personally hurtful to others, about those movements.
So why might the oddities noted above exist among watch consumers? I don't know. I know that for myself, what matters to me when I'm buying a watch varies depending on whether I'm buying a "fun" watch or a "collection" watch. When I choose a "collection" watch, though I hope the movement inside is excellent, like car shoppers re: car motors, it's not the most important factor. When I'm buying a "fun" watch, I actually care more about the motor. Not much more, but more. I don't want an inexpensive watch that can't be relied upon to keep reasonably good time and that I'll have to "muck" around with to keep it running. When I buy a JLC, say, though I wouldn't like it were the watch to "die," I'm not buying it because I think its motor is "strong," so to speak.
So what are your thoughts on why the consumer priorities are so different between watch buyers and car buyers?
All the best.
There are two kinds of light - the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures.
― James Thurber