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It's perplex and complex.
Heads-up, this is going to be a short but sweet rant. For the sake of transparency I’m letting you know I took off all my jewelry to draft this. My diamonds made it complicated to type. Also, gold doesn’t go well with negativity I feel. So I’ll draft this in sweatpants to be as neutral as possible.

Came a time when luxury was for the few and brands understood that. Luxury was a statement and more so, a state of mind only some could afford to have. Whether it was fashion brands, automotive or design and travel, luxury was the realm of some and the dream of everyone else.

One would yearn to own a watch that screamed “I made it”, drive a car that said something when you parked it, and live in a place with a view nobody could lock or block. People worked for it. They wanted it. And they had to earn it.

In a gist, luxury was a thing. A thing I love. A thing I lost. And I’m not gonna lie, I ain’t ecstatic about it.

Lately things changed. And just like with the chicken and the egg, I wouldn’t know what triggered the change: was it luxury brands that wanted a larger audience or an audience that stopped willing to splurge on such items?

The end result was the same, luxury brands went mainstream.

I softly gagged writing this.

Biggest case in point (and to be fair, the most successful one to date too) is the Omega and Swatch collaboration. The moonwatch case was (and will remain) an emblematic timepiece. You’d inherit it, get on a waitlist for it, or save many months to afford it.

It said something, besides time of course.

Enter the moonswatch. A replica of the original model, with cheaper materials basically. More colors too. Snoopy even managed to make an appearance on one of those.

The emblem for the layman.

What was sold as affordable luxury makes one question luxury itself.

Is luxury about the name of the brand you’re wearing or the luxurious material you’re wearing?

Is ceramic as good as steel if you slap a big name on it?

And if Omega wants to be on every wrist now, is Omega maintaining its status?

One would argue that what makes a brand isn’t who can afford it and I could agree. But if everyone can afford something doesn’t it lose some appeal? Or at least the appeal of owning what only a few can?

Now granted, other brands have done it before. Sports car brands have sold less powerful models with less premium features to an audience with a smaller purchasing power (I’ll never forget the “Porsche of the poor”). Fashion brands have created sub-brands to cater to more fans. But this always came with a twist. It felt different, performed differently, and more importantly looked different.

To the naked eye, and from a short distance, the moonwatch and moonswatch were made to look as closely identical as possible. And maybe here lies the problem. In the little effort made to create distance between luxury and affordable. Because let’s never forget, a brand is only luxurious as long as people will accept it for being that, Lose your audience and you lose your brand.

You’ve probably read all that on your smartphone. That tells time too. And the thought of people choosing practicality over style killed me a bit inside.

I’m now done. And going to wear my nice things again. Which yes, do include a watch. And it’s not plastic or ceramic.

I work A LOT* to wear nice things.

I deserve them.