You're definitely right on the consumer side, and better education (I don't consider the brands marketing as education) would put the power where it belongs, with the customer. Unfortunately, beside the WIS population, the rest of the world is ignorant in what goes into a watch and the history. Which is why we see people behaving irrational when it comes to certain brands and models, effectively giving away their power to the brands.
Regarding our OP, we may have scared him away :) (joking of course). But since he is in marketing, it would be really nice if he could comment.