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SDC Weekly Network Powered Trading; Watch Ads; Ozymandias #5
Duck/Rabbit conundrum, Baby Octopi, and a Rare Handcrafts Patek!
I suppose it was inevitable; but more than a handful of readers reiterated the name change was a good idea… so although this is the fifth edition, it is actually the first edition of the ScrewDownChronicle! If you missed the previous editions, you can find them here! The useful thing about this name change, is nothing really changes at all - it’s still “SDC” - which helps with naming conventions and links. As you will no doubt be thinking, “how does this affect me?”… I will swiftly answer that: It doesn’t. Please humour me, congratulate me in the comments, and see yourself out 🤣
I am human. I love dopamine as much as the next person… and it is humbling and exciting to see all the new subscribers - another huge thank you to those who have shared/referred others… and as always, a warm welcome to the new subscribers; it is a pleasure to have you here, and I hope you enjoy it.
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Subdial watches announced their new watch trading platform, due to go live in August 2023; just a few months after launching the Bloomberg Subdial Watch Index. For between 6-12%, sellers can access their ‘platform’ which they have dubbed “Network powered Trading.”
The 'network’ concept as far as I understand, is for users to register ALL their watches on a profile, even if they are not ‘actively selling’ these watches. This is similar to the ‘My Collection’ feature on Chrono24. When someone else on the platform submits a request to buy any particular watch which someone has listed in their private profile - Subdial will alert that owner anonymously and see if they can get a deal sorted. Sounds like Tinder for watches, right?
Nifty, in theory… Except the biggest threat right now, is Chrono24 launching the same thing, with a much larger user base. Another key challenge might be getting users to register their entire private collections and include watches they do not intend to sell. I also wonder how their legal team has managed to navigate the EU/US/UK data sharing and privacy laws - heck, even Meta didn’t manage to sort that out in time to launch their new app Threads - which was basically blocked in the EU since launch day!
So, that sounds interesting… fine. That said, I still think the best model for authentic price discovery is online auctions. I think Subdial should instead COPY the Bring-a-Trailer model, take a flat listing fee, and no-responsibility for authenticity and fulfilment.
They already have the ‘Subdial Clubhouse’ in place for community verification and for establishing trust… they can charge a separate optional ‘verification fee’ to buyers who have no experience, confidence, or time to deal with vetting buyers and sellers. It seems pretty straightforward. Plus, the success of BaT proves this setup works! I even wrote about this a while ago:
Thoughts on this?
For the avoidance of doubt - I was NOT paid (nor asked) to write this section, and while I do have a handful of friends who work at Subdial (Except you, James!), I am just writing commentary on a watch related news topic as I would for any other topic I found newsworthy. Hope that clarifies any doubts or concerns - especially since we recently saw SJX Watches demonstrating the power of a huge payment from the Arnault dynasty! (PS. This is the extent of coverage I intend to give to this new LV watch - if you want to know more, head to my Instagram page and check out the highlight on my profile called “LV Watch”.)
Some Epic Watch Ads (with breakdowns)
Saw this fun thread on Twitter and decided to share with commentary:
Principle: Create an Adversary - Position the competition as The Joker or “The Matrix”. Then position your product as Batman or Neo. Once you hear about this strategy, you begin to see it everywhere!
Principle: Everything can be reframed - The billionaire, Bernie Eccleston of F1 fame, was once attacked in London for his Hublot. As much as I despise Hublot, you’ve got to admire his ingenuity… he suggested they use his mangled face in an ad campaign!
Principle: Objection Handling1 using ‘greatness’ - If it's good enough for Einstein, it's good enough for you. Can you argue with that?
Principle: Pavlovian Conditioning2 - Modern Rolex doesn’t call out features of any watch. Instead, they focus on the iconic people that wear it!
Principle: Anchoring - $235 for a watch is framed as more valuable because it's worn by an Astronaut in a $27,000 suit. Brilliant!
Principle: Make selfish purchases seem selfless - “You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation.” So really, you’re just a generous parent, not a selfish one!
Principle: Hypnotic Copy - Read the headline again. The ad implies a Rolex is more important than oxygen!
Principle: Sell the dream, then the product - Here, Rolex makes their watches feel like and aspirational product, by alluding to aspirational activities. I mean, technically this is another type of ‘association’ ad, but it is nuanced.
Principle: Blue Ocean Strategy3 - You can't compete with Patek or Rolex on status, legacy or anything else for that matter. So they just create a whole new category. Do you care about your health?
Principle: Association - This isn’t really a clever or novel ad, but I wanted to include the GOAT - I mean, if you’re going to get a celebrity to endorse your product, you can hardly do much better! This is what we’re so used to seeing as consumers, and yes, it kinda works - but I think these are the ‘least’ valuable sort of ads, and in some cases work against the celebrity instead of being in support of the brand!4
The end :)
Links of interest
🦆 The duck/rabbit image is one of the most famous in philosophy, and it highlights a curious phenomenon called “aspect perception”5. This concept comes up quite often for watch collectors, and they don’t even know it!was a fascinating read, wherein he crowns Duolingo “the king of TikTok”!
🧠 Here’s a strong case against ‘brainstorming’ as a concept - think in terms of psychological safety instead!
💀 No doubt many of you have heard of Stratechery - a fun chat on my Instagram DMs brought up this fun read: an interview with Marc Andreessen about AI and other related topics. While we’re on the subject of AI, here’s Trevor Noah on the Possible podcast - I always love his takes.
🐙 Watch this … Baby Octopuses Hatch from a Surprising Deep-Sea Nursery - fascinating!
If you haven’t already seen it, I shared another old post yesterday:
Reader ‘EG’ highlights his favourite quote from that post: “When you are traveling on a road, there must be an end; but when astray, your wanderings are limitless.” The irony of this, is of course those are not my words - so his favourite takeaway had nothing to do with me at all. Made me chuckle, thanks, E.
Speaking of readers and friends, I caught up with @running_sands the other day (his Rare Handcrafts Patek, pictured above) - reminded me, yet again, how awesome this hobby is. He’s an extremely thoughtful collector, and if you’re ever in need of high quality ‘watch collector chat’ you would be hard pressed to find better candidates. Hit him up!
Finally… on subscribing to this blog; I know this is becoming a weekly nag, so bear with me 😂 one last time. I keep asking folks to actually sign up as subscribers, and many do - but there’s a crazy mismatch between the number of readers and the number of subscribers. So as explained in this update, I came up with a plan to coax the lazy folks who don’t sign up! I reiterate the promise I made in the update: If you want to read a paywalled post but can’t afford to (or simply don’t want to) pay for it, feel free to email me or send a DM on Instagram, and I will happily give you free access to the post. No questions asked. Promise :)
And if you think this approach is misguided, please say so in the comments.
Until next time!
Bonus link: AI, Ozymandias
The penultimate paragraph byhere in his post on AI, I thought was rather epic:
I am telling you: you will always live in a world where disappointment and boredom are the default state of adult life. I am telling you: you will fear death until it inevitably comes for you. I am telling you: you will have to take out the trash yourself tomorrow and next week and next month and next year, and if after that some type of trash removal robot becomes ubiquitous in American homes, then the time it saves you will in turn be applied to some other kind of quotidian task you hate. Yes, science and technology move busily along. Life gets better. Technology advances. Things change. But we live in a perpetual now, and there is no rescue from our pleasant but enervating lives, and no one is coming to save you, organic or silicon.
A sales objection is any concern a prospect raises in reference to a barrier obstructing their ability to buy from you – an explicit indication that you have to address more aspects of the buying process than you initially anticipated.
Pavlovian conditioning, also called Classical Conditioning, a type of conditioned learning which occurs because of the subject’s instinctive responses, as opposed to operant conditioning, which is contingent on the willful actions of the subject. It was developed by the Russian physiologist Ivan Petrovich Pavlov.
BLUE OCEAN STRATEGY is the simultaneous pursuit of differentiation and low cost to open up a new market space and create new demand. It is about creating and capturing uncontested market space, thereby making the competition irrelevant. It is based on the view that market boundaries and industry structure are not a given and can be reconstructed by the actions and beliefs of industry players.
e.g. Before Uniqlo, Novak Djokovic used Sergio Tacchini - who the f*ck ever bought that brand because of Djok? Granted, here I am … talking about the brand because of Djok, but I am not sure that was worth what they paid!