December 25, 2014
by David Bredan
Consumer reviews are some of the most useful pieces of information people can rely on when considering what to buy. But not all reviews are created equally. One of the most impressively humorous things you’ll find online are comical reviews by consumers on sites like Amazon.com – the leader in offering consumer-produced product reviews to the world. So what happens when you combine wildly expensive luxury watches with the ability for everyday people to comment on and review anything that exists on the pages of the world’s largest internet commerce site? What can result is pure comedy, and we’d like to share some of it with our aBlogtoWatch readers.
True luxury products are items which mainstream consumers don’t really understand. They are so expensive, and have value propositions that defy logic for many people. This is especially true when it comes to timepieces that are priced in the five or six figure range. Most of us probably had similar feelings of horror and humor when learning for the first time that you could buy a watch at $50,000, $100,000, or $500,000 dollars. So let’s see what you get when luxury watches end up on Amazon.com and received a comical “real world perspective.” These are sobering comments for stuffy luxury retailers who think consumers should thank them for offering “treasures.”
At aBlogtoWatch we work tirelessly and with great passion on every single one of our wrist-time reviews – we take detailed images, create lengthy videos, and discuss the tiniest merits and issues of every watch that we get our hands on. As helpless fans of watchmaking, this is no burden for us – on the contrary! This is what we love to do, and have become expected to deliver. But what about that other, darker side of the internet, where thoughts are concentrated into just a few paragraphs, and where everyone and their mother can (and do!) make a witty comment? Enter the world of luxury watch reviews on Amazon.com as we put together a unique selection of some of the best, weirdest, and funniest “watch reviews” we found on Amazon.
For many, buying a luxury timepiece is a special, highly important moment that necessitates a well-thought out, educated decision. For them, it comes as natural to consult written reviews – and excluding the few respectable exceptions in print, where else would they turn if not the internet? Amazon.com visitors are entitled to post a review for any item that is offered, and this opportunity is, of course, provided in hopes that their remarks will help those pondering a purchase make an educated decision. So, without further ado, let’s see where all this goes horribly wrong – and incredibly amusing.
We begin with none other than the infamous Zenith Defy Tourbillon – a chapter in Zenith history the brand certainly wishes had never happened. Priced at 51% off (!) for $78,995 with free shipping, this turned out to be a very tempting offer for many – resulting in a whopping 561 written customer reviews. To see where some of them are coming from, let us first have a few words about the watch itself. Actually, former generation Zenith watches tend to be the “most commented on” for whatever reason.
It all happened a long time ago (early-mid 2000s), when the luxury watch industry was booming at an incredible pace, market growth expectations were through the roof, and the impossible was… possible. Forget for a second about the classically styled, both technically and aesthetically refined Zenith that you know today, and imagine a time when what you see above was the flagship model of the brand: The Zenith Defy Xtreme Tourbillon Titanium Chronograph. It is a magnificent piece of engineering: a tourbillon watch water resistant to 1,000 meters and it is said to contain a “Quality Automatic Movement, that functions without a battery!”
Needless to say, the eagle-eyed watch shoppers of Amazon.com could not disregard this remarkable offering, now at 51% off, at $71,745 and 9 cents, instead of the sticker price of $145,000. To begin with, the voted most helpful comment by a certain Zeeshan Hamid says he liked his purchase so much he even ventured to provide visitors with some sound financial advice:
“I wasn’t going to buy this watch, but then I noticed Amazon had it with $58,000 off! What a deal. With the money I saved I purchased a brand new BMW and still had money left over for a Disney vacation. How many watches save you money to buy a car and a vacation? Now whenever I see someone with money troubles I tell them to buy this watch and save $58,000. I am considering buying 10 of these watches so I can save $580,000 and buy a house on cash. Retirement saving is also no longer a concern for me, as I plan to buy one every year and live off the $58,000 I save.“
There is, of course, that usual buyer who is not happy with anything, as Bill Sheley explains:
“I bought this watch in the hopes that I would be able to keep track of time while I was scuba diving in volcanic lava. After only one 20 minute dive the watch stopped working for some reason. I sent it back to Zenith and they claimed the watch was not lava resistant past 30 feet. I was only diving in 20 feet of lava so I told the CEO to his face that he was a big fat liar. Then I drove to their manufacturing facility and broke in during the night to procure myself a new watch as they refused to replace the first ninety thousand dollar piece of crap I bought from them. Once inside Zenith’s top secret facility I confirmed what I had suspected all along. A room full of Umpa Loompa’s rebadging Casio G-Shock watches with a cheap titanium exterior and stamping $145,000 price tags on them.“
You see, it’s difficult to make everyone happy, even a 1,000 meter water resistant tourbillon watch has its limitations. We hope Bill is doing better now – and if you are reading this, Bill, let us know what watch you ended up using for your lava diving adventures!
The Montegrappa Chaos watch (hands-on here) clearly is not made for everyone. So much so, that it only received 3 reviews – about 560 less than the Zenith Defy; but don’t let that fool you, there is some sound advice to be had. It takes a special kind of person to appreciate this watch, and it happens we found one – so let us follow up with an excerpt of the Montegrappa Chaos watch review by Ted Gallion about his recent purchase of the Chaos:
“I’m a value shopper. I was looking for a watch that both looks nice and keeps time, but I was trying to stay under $100,000. I looked for weeks and was about to give up when I spotted this on Amazon! I got it for only $85,995! That left $14,005 in my budget for an extra strap and a pair of those tricky pins that hold the strap in place. Things I love about this watch:
– The look. I love a good skull. I love a nice, scaly snake. Together, on a watch, on my arm?! Yeah, baby. I had to have it.
– Design. I’ve not seen a combination of colors and design work like this since the great Elvis on Black Velvet painting era of the 1970s. You simply can’t find art work like this anywhere, unless you are willing to dig to the very bottom of the dentist office goody box.
– Celebrity endorsement. When I saw this on 67 year old Sylvester Stallone, his hair freshly darkened and makeup perfect, I thought – “That’s me.
“- Origin. Made in Italy. Italy is a leader in manufacturing and technology – I buy all my computers, phones, etc from Italy.
– Automatic. That means it will save you money in the long run. I was paying $15 every two years replacing the battery on my old watch, that’s $150 every twenty years, or $15,000 every 200 years. Over time, this watch will pay for itself!
– The ladies. Several have told me how “interesting” the watch is. One says it says a lot about me. Yesterday, one said, “You know, “classy” would be just “cly” without people like you!” Isn’t that nice?!
Things I don’t like:
– I get confused about what time it is mid-afternoon, unless it’s the third of the month.
– No light. At first I was bummed, but as I’ve been sleeping with the light on so I can gaze at the watch during the night, it’s not been a problem.
– Occasionally, I’ve raked the skin off my forehead wiping my brow with my wrist (not good for the gym!)“
The Chinese watchmaking industry has been consistently improving both in terms of quantity and quality – we have reported about their progress in our reports from the Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair. They even ventured into the luxury watch market, and what we have here is one of the more outlandish trials: the Beijing Watch Factory’s Skeletonized Double Tourbillon. Priced at $102,000 and styled to, well, honor, the design of Roger Dubuis, it was surely going to raise some comments. Here’s our favorite from Hyperion:
“This watch had all the three desired qualities I wanted in a watch: 1) It comes from a highly acclaimed watch company, which lets those Swiss watch wearing pansies know who’s boss. Audemars Piguet, Breguet and Patek Phillipe owners, I will use your sweet tears of envy to clean my watch. 2) The extremely reasonable price. At 102k this watch is a steal, I would have been prepared to pay 7 or 8 figures for it. I like it when such nice products are priced for the masses. 3) The design is superb. All those Saudi oil princes, Russian oligarchs and dot-com billionaires, with their discreet and subtle watches, will kneel whenever I pass (hopefully not often, I don’t like to mingle with commoners), in a feeble attempt to bask in its glory and hope that somehow they can gleam some insight into how to really succeed in life by catching a whiff of pure power. You know, before my bodyguards mace them for the audacity to come near me. I was all set to purchase it when something deep inside me, a rich person sixth sense if you will, let me know something was wrong. That’s when it hit me like a freight train full of supermodels…the 4.49 shipping fee! I will not under any circumstances pay for shipping, which will be touched by common people hands!“
The concept of “sporty” luxury watches actually kind of started with the original Royal Oak in 1972. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Survivor takes that approach to another level, as the totally-legit reviewer Maserati Matt tells us:
“I bought this watch for one reason, to survive offshore. It’s obvious.
When my 120,500 foot yacht sank after hitting an endangered reef outside of Fiji, I knew I was in a bad situation. I could have saved my 40,000 man crew, but I had a Phil Collins moment and didn’t, they all drowned.
Ironically I met up with a bunch of plane crash survivors, turned out to be the characters from the show lost. So as they’re sitting there improvising survival plans, I just laugh.
With this Audemars watch, I simply hit the survival function, and I spawned my own Zodiac boat and putted away, leaving them to die alone and saddened.
The only problem was I contracted scurvy and had to give myself constant saltwater enemas, which sucked. They forgot the nutritional function in this survival watch…. so I then was forced to kill a whole gang of baby seals for food and used their tears for hydration.
Long story short, if you’re an extreme survivalist, you will need this watch. I’ve climbed everest naked, dived in volcanic eruptions, scuba dived the marinas trench, and base jumped from the moon, all unscathed. It’s that good.“
More restrained, and yet technically very impressive watches, are of course also available on Amazon – watches like this IWC Portuguese Minute Repeater. Those less into watches may be surprised to learn what a minute repeater does – and the amazing ways it may affect your life – as Bob Jenkins experienced:
“Before I bought this watch my life was horrible. I was constantly stubbing my toe, or knocking my elbow into the fridge door in my cramped 179 square foot apartment. I was so clumsy, always dropping my 1992 Honda Civic keys while on the way to my job, where I work at the sanitation department.
Luckily last month I bought this Portuguese Minute Repeater Gold Watch. Now whenever I fall down or do something terribly clumsy I just push the button on this watch and go back in time one minute. The Minute Repeater is an excellent feature for those who are endlessly clumsy like me. The only reason I did not give it 5 stars is because at times, appearingly random, the Portuguese Minute Repeater Watch will not send you back one minute in time but rather to Portugal. I tried looking in the manual and it says it will do this from time to time so the watch can be serviced by the makers, who dwell in a castle on the highest peak in Portugal. Unfortunately this feature of the Minute Repeater CANNOT be disabled. So before you use this watch make sure you have all the climbing equipment necessary to make the 39,034 foot descent from Mount Olympugal on your person at all times, as well as a valid passport in order to leave Portugal.“
Have you see other funny watch reviews on Amazon or elsewhere? Share them or link to them in the comments below, and enjoy the lighter, more comical side of being a watch lover.