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SDC Weekly 21; Dufour sell-off; The Halo Effect; "Begging the Question"
A few thoughts on the Middle East, growth of second-hand apparel, Halloween, personal aviation, thieving children, JFK on meth, and visualising Pi (π)
Hello 👋 and Happy Halloween 🎃! Welcome back to the SDC Weekly.
You’ll find the older editions of SDC Weekly here. Last week’s was particularly poignant given the ethnic cleansing unfolding in the Middle East; sadly, it only seems to be getting worse. This week, we shall bury our heads in the sand, and think happy(ish) thoughts instead.
Before we do that, I urge you to watch this 5 minute video from Sky News. This is the first time I recall seeing an objective, well-reasoned solution to achieving peace in the Middle East on mainstream media (MSM). The best part about this video, is the person being interviewed is an unapologetically Jewish IDF soldier who personally served as part of a Gaza ground incursion in 2014. So if anyone has a valid perspective, it’s him - not the psychotic hate spewing demagogues we usually see on MSM. Watch it, and let me know what you think.
In a pattern obverse to Liking/Loving Tendency, the newly arrived human is also “born to dislike and hate” as triggered by normal and abnormal triggering forces in its life...
As a result, the long history of man contains almost continuous war...
Disliking/Hating Tendency also acts as a conditioning device that makes the disliker/hater tend to (1) ignore virtues in the object of dislike, (2) dislike people, products, and actions merely associated with the object of his dislike, and (3) distort other facts to facilitate hatred.
🚮 Are Dufour’s Simplicities being dumped?
Before you get too triggered, this section exists because of a WhatsApp group conversation, and my innate desire to troll people. At any cost. So don’t take it too seriously.
Quite possibly an unpopular opinion, but I find Dufour Simplicities to be… meh. While this may be an unpopular opinion, I am definitely not the only one who thinks so - here are a couple of quotes from prominent collectors1:
“Totally subjective, of course, but I’d take a RRCC - which is still really pure and classic, but has a touch more flair IMO - all day from an aesthetic perspective.”
“The dials are super traditional. I like the flowy curves of the Simplicity movement. But the RRCC is technically better with all the interior and exterior angles. They’ve moved the game on.”
Now, very few people dare to say this publicly because the response would be an overwhelming wave of support for Dufour, quoting his long history, his traditional techniques and all the other stuff you’ve heard which make some people regard him as the greatest watchmaker alive today. Nobody would willingly subject themselves to such abuse. I wrote about this before, including a list of references to support these beliefs:
There is also a group of Simplicity owners who do not speak too honestly (at least, openly and on the record) about their opinions, because they see their Simplicity watches as investments. Why speak frankly, when doing so might cost you when the market devalues the watch? What’s funny about this, is some of these people also own a RRCC - so they need not choose, they just buy it all. Money can’t buy taste, but when you have enough money you can buy everything, and then never be called out for lacking taste because you own everything regardless. Discerning collectors know better of course.
Anyway, I didn’t bring this up so I could repeat myself. What is more interesting right now, is just how many Simplicities are suddenly up for sale. The image above links to one on auction right now at LoupeThis. Here are others:
Watchbox also has at least one Simplicity available, although with them you never can tell… they do enjoy hoarding stock and controlling market prices. However, it is the fact Watchbox is discreetly trying to offload the watch, that makes me wonder whether Simplicity watches are about to undergo a price reset. Perhaps they know something more, and given their exposure to the market at large, they may have a better understanding of consumer sentiment, and willingness to pay - which ultimately drives valuations - supply and demand is pretty basic after all.
As recently as June, we saw a record breaking Simplicity hit the market, and many of the aforementioned owner/investors should probably have cashed out… but they didn’t. Are we about to see Simplicities settle back down below the 500k mark?
Either way, it is still meh. RRCC over that watch... Every. Single. Time.
😇 The Halo Effect
In a recent post I mentioned the halo effect - a cognitive bias which refers to the tendency of people to incorrectly ‘carry over’ impressions in one area, to another area. Let’s talk about this in more detail.
The halo effect was originally identified in 1907 by the American psychologist Frederick L. Wells, but it was only officially recognised in 1920 due to empirical evidence provided by psychologist Edward Thorndike. He observed people who were seen positively in one area are assumed to have positive attributes in another uncorrelated area.
If you’re “tall dark and handsome” you are likely perceived to be smarter than average — even before you open your mouth to speak. There are over a hundred years’ worth of academic research on the subject, so don’t take my word for it2. The point is, humans are not objective, they are subjective.
What’s worth remembering, is the halo effect also works in the negative sense. If you are generally perceived in a negative light, you’re often (usually unfairly) perceived negatively in other areas too.
If you happen to be shy or introverted, many Western cultures perceived this to be less intelligent, less capable and less competent. Similarly, women or a minorities, can, in some cultures, be perceived as less intelligent or less skilled.
This isn’t a self help newsletter of course - the point is, the same halo effect applies to watch collectors too… for better or worse! A driving factor of likability is familiarity and similarity. No matter how much time we spend with fellow collectors in social settings, building up familiarity... our watch choices hold the most weight when it comes to our external image, and acceptance among different collector circles.
That is of course, until they get a chance to know you better. It’s true that the more opportunities other collectors have to experience you as a whole, multi-dimensional person, with whom they share many things in common… the more they will like you. The more they like you, the more positive the halo effect (or the more you offset a negative halo effect). This applies beyond watch collecting too, obviously.
...[W]hat will a man naturally come to like and love, apart from his parent, spouse and child? Well, he will like and love being liked and loved... [M]an will generally strive, lifelong, for the affection and approval of many people not related to him.
One very practical consequence of Liking/Loving Tendency is that it acts as a conditioning device that makes the liker or lover tend (1) to ignore faults of, and comply with wishes of, the object of his affection, (2) to favor people, products, and actions merely associated with the object of his affection (as we shall see when we get to “Influence-from-Mere-Association Tendency”), and (3) to distort other facts to facilitate love.
The point I want to leave you with, is to get out more, and to let more people in to your own circles. Group think is a terrible disease, and I observe more and more people succumbing to it in the watch world. Meet new people, even if you hate their collection. Get to know them, and learn from them. Most importantly: Keep an open mind.
🤔 Does it actually “beg the question”?recently reiterated how annoying it is when people say something “begs the question” while they actually mean, “raises the question.” This seemed like a nice bit of random trivia to explore further.
Begging the question (Latin: petītiō principiī) is a fallacy which occurs when the premise of an argument assumes a conclusion is true. Etymologists and language authorities like Merriam-Webster trace the history of “begs the question” back to Aristotle. As part of his examination of circular reasoning and logical fallacies, Aristotle contemplated the notion of an argument that begins by assuming the idea it's trying to prove:
Begging or assuming the point at issue consists (to take the expression in its widest sense) [in] failing to demonstrate the required proposition. But there are several other ways in which this may happen; for example, if the argument has not taken syllogistic form at all, he may argue from premises which are less known or equally unknown, or he may establish the antecedent utilizing its consequents; for demonstration proceeds from what is more certain and is prior. Now begging the question is none of these. [...] If, however, the relation of B to C is such that they are identical, or that they are clearly convertible, or that one applies to the other, then he is begging the point at issue. ... [B]egging the question is proving what is not self-evidently employing itself ... either because identical predicates belong to the same subject, or because the same predicate belongs to identical subjects.
— Aristotle, Hugh Tredennick (trans.) Prior Analytics
Basically, when Aristotle’s logic was originally defined, they called it “petitio principii,” which means “assuming the initial point.” Fast forward to when European scholars proposed a questionable translation of the Latin phrase... They translated it as “begging the question,” and that term has lived on, leaving many who misunderstand it.
So how should we use “begs the question” correctly?
Well, it should be used in relation to statements which imply faulty premises or logical fallacies. Imagine someone says:
“Burgers are the best food in the world”
This statement raises questions about how this opinion was formed… is this based on taste? Ease of preparation? Smell? Nutrition? Who knows!
Now imagine someone says:
“Burgers are the best food in the world because they are created using chicken”
This clearly begs the question: Why chicken?! I have had ostrich burgers, beef burgers, and even bean burgers.
Couple of examples which beg the question:
The collector’s theory that wearing a Greubel Forsey garnered more attention because he likes attention begs the question: What does liking attention really have to do with getting it?
The office policy mandates that all staff must wear white shirts to prevent distractions begs the question: What makes white shirts less distracting than other items or colours of clothing?
Finally… Here is a journal article on the subject if you feel like delving even deeper into the topic.
📌 Links of interest
Americans bought about 1.4B pieces of secondhand apparel in 2022, marking a 40% increase over 2021. By 2030, the secondhand fashion industry will be nearly twice the size of the fast fashion industry, and resale is the fastest-growing category of apparel, as shown above. This report found 78% of retail executives say their customers are already participating in resale, up 16% from 2020. Granted, this is apparel, not luxury watches, but trends already indicate the roaring success of online watch resale platforms - so the question is, when will the watch industry grasp this is a growing source of revenue, as younger people start to earn more? Someone should definitely tell that joker from Lange. Useless fellow.
🤩 The 200 Best Inventions of 2023
🔍 Businesses pick names to outsmart Google Search. Does it actually work?
🔞 What is the most popular age to be?
✈️ Personal aviation is about to get interesting.
🎃 Why has Halloween become so popular among adults?
🧒 Anonymous children in groups, are thieves… according to this study!
🗞️ Did you know: President John F. Kennedy was routinely injected with 15 mg of methamphetamine!
💀 Why Is It So Difficult to Do... Nothing at All?
π Finally, check out this epic animation - it could run indefinitely without ever touching its initial starting point. This occurs as the number pi is irrational, has an infinite number of digits that never repeat, and it cannot be expressed as the quotient of two integers.
If you haven’t already seen it, I shared a new post over the weekend:
Here’s the gist of it: The book gets you to consider how your mind habitually contradicts itself, distorts data and misleads you.
It’s paywalled, but will be sent to free subscribers via email - so if you haven’t done so already, go ahead and subscribe now :)
Until next time!
Bonus link: In Movement
Europastar’s latest issue contains “probably one of the most comprehensive dossiers on watch movements that you’re likely to find in a publication of this size” (their words, not mine!).
Starting on page 29 of the issue, this deep-dive presents a snapshot of the current state of watch movements, with a particular focus on the more industrial calibres which equip the vast majority of timepieces. They delve into Sellita, Soprod, Kenissi, La Joux-Perret, Dubois Depraz, Miyota, LTM, Chronode, Schwarz Etienne, Agenhor and a few others… I just listed a bunch to emphasise how broad this piece really is.
Very interesting reading indeed, I’d highly recommend you see for yourself (No, I was not paid to promote them, in case you are wondering!).
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RRCC = Rexhep Rexhepi Chronomètre Contemporain