Special and Limited Edition timepieces are among the indispensable trends of the watch industry, regardless of brand or segment. While many different names continue to produce models following this trend, watch enthusiasts also keep their interest for these models. Well, does the latest situation of this concept still follow the reasons that made it exist at the first place?
"Trend", one of the most popular words of recent years, also carries great importance for the watch industry as well. Trends, which sometimes emerge by specific needs or the continuous quest to find the best and sometimes due to completely commercial concerns, are becoming more and more effective on the market. Let’s take a look at the past years: Oversized watches..! Has this trend, which has slowly begun to move away from the market, have led to the emergence of many "nonsense big" models that most watchmakers are reluctant to confess even to themselves? Has alternative materials and/or alloys developed to keep watches against aging created a new trend? (Consider the AP RO Black Ceramic model). So what about the Re-Issue watches that reminds me of the Gremlins for their rate of proliferation..?
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Ceramic
This and many other trends continue to deeply influence the watch industry. Among those trends, the Special and Limited Edition models are the ones who attract my attention most. This hype, which we come across with a new example every day, rushes like a storm in the market. This concept, which we are familiar with their relation to celebrities or tribute to various organizations, has two different sides; 1) watch brands 2) users... Well, what do these two parties expect from the concept of special and limited editions..?
Longines Flagship Heritage by Kate Winslet
In our world, where time has changed almost everything, it is obvious that the watch hobby also changes. It is possible to say that almost every profile, from the average user to the enthusiasts who are qualified as collectors, act with different motivations compared to 20 years ago. This change has actually affected the notion of special and limited edition concepts, which are actually not quite new terminologically.
The special and limited edition timepieces have been issued a long time ago as well. Just as it was in everything that has a market, there was a demand for those watches to come out. However, this demand did not come directly from the market but on the contrary; the demand was formed in a more organic way. The motivation behind these products were sometimes a need for an astronaut or an adventurer challenging hard conditions or professional race pilot that needed an instrument to measure his performance on the track. In other words, the companies did not produce these watches in small numbers, anticipating a marketing strategy. Since the models were produced for a specific need, the numbers were already few. Samples that reach today, of course, have remained even less.
Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 PAM00719 Pole2Pole
Now the situation is very different. Market’s demand has turned this in to a trend for brands. When I mention about the special and limited edition timepieces in my articles I always give Hublot as an example as I believe it hurts the nature of this concept. I do not think I am not wrong about what I say as the brand actually have a serious number of special and limited edition timepieces in its past and current product line. Almost as many as its standard collections. Of course Hublot is not the one and only brand to be solely criticized for its actions. At the end of the day, the brand’s motto is “Art of Fusion” and it’s not that surprising to see those trying new things. However, considering its product variety and frequency of launching new special and limited models, Hublot gets the most attraction in this regard. Referring to that situation, I found those timepieces quite commercial and artificial. The models which were produced for social responsibility projects are of course exceptions, despite the fact that they are very successful advertising tools, as they do not exist for commercial purposes only.
Hublot Classic Fusion Berluti All Black
The users’ side is not that bright either. Why does a watch enthusiast go for a special or limited edition model..? Could it be an exclusive relation between the user and the watch (like a Ferrari owner buying a Hublot Ferrari model) or simply less production numbers..? I think there is a weakness in all of us about the possibility that the product we buy will appreciate in value over time. However, this is not a situation that can only be achieved if brands decide to make a small number of productions in line with their own preferences. At least not for most brands. Let’s have a look at A. Lange & Söhne 1815 “200th Anniversary F. A. Lange” Honey Gold model. All samples were sold out in a blink of an eye. Considering the brand value of ALS and its frequency for releasing a new special or limited edition model, we do not need a crystal ball to predict that the timepiece will appreciate over time. However, it is not possible to say the same thing for an Oris. Oris is not low rated brand and I do not think that a special or limited edition Oris will not be preferred either. In fact, it’s not about the watch. It is about the conditions that caused the watch to be produced. The “artificial” conditions.
Hublot Techframe Ferrari 70 Years Tourbillon Chronograph Peek Carbon
Just as it is in every kind of hobby, the world of watches is a concept that does not depend on absolute truths, and personal tastes and preferences play a big role. So what I think about the current situation of the special or limited timepieces is my personal opinion. I personally prefer timepieces like the ALS I mentioned above. I am not against of buying special or limited edition models that were produced for commercial reasons only. On the contrary - if it fits my taste - I’ll gladly get it. But the motivation which leads me to get it does not go beyond the technical and / or cosmetic features about the timepiece.