2007.06.06 Just a snooty watch away from the good life

Written by David Green.


I’ve mentioned before my bad habit of accepting free magazine subscriptions, many of which end up being of no interest to me whatsoever. The Star continues to call me, wanting me to resubscribe (not even if they paid me), and I happily counted down the weeks until the New York Observer expired, only to have them extend my subscription four weeks so I could “renew without missing an issue”.

I had already promised my friendly local postmaster the weird, peach colored paper from New York would stop soon, then here comes four more of them to fill my P.O. box. At least they seem to have finally gotten the message. I can only hope that will be the case with The Robb Report.

The first issue of the self-proclaimed “Luxury Lifestyle” publication arrived last week and it was too big to even fit in my post office box. I retrieved the package (including bonus magazine and welcome letter) from the still-friendly postmaster and have now managed to plow my way through it.

I’m showing my age here, I guess, but I hate magazines that have dozens of pages of advertising before you even get to the table of contents. That’s the case here. The table of contents starts on page 55, the list of contributors on 64, the editor’s note on 72, and on page 89, the first article finally begins.

Since the Robb Report (and just who is “Robb,” anyway?) is courting the luxury market, items us normal slobs might buy are nowhere to be found. No ads for, say, Coke or Pepsi, McDonald’s, Tide or Target. There are quite a few ads for cigars, which are still acceptable in Rich People World, it seems. Other than that, page after page of ads for upscale stuff like...Hertz Rentals?

Actually, the ad is for the Hertz “Prestige Collection,” which features the Audi Q7 and other cars you and I will never touch. In fact, Cadillac is the lowliest auto manufacturer to advertise in the magazine. Then the ads jump to Jaguar, Aston-Martin and far pricier transportation.

But a realization came to me while studying the publication: If I really want to fit in as one of the successful people the magazine is targeting, I need a watch with an unpronounceable name that costs more than a nice house.

Think I’m kidding? The magazine’s choice as best watch is the Audemars Piguet Millenary MC12 at only $236,200. The magazine calls it “a more fitting companion piece to its namesake Maserati sports car than any other auto-themed watch.”

Forty or so pages later I’m stunned to see an ad for the Maserati auto itself, “priced from $110,600.”  For the cost of the Maserati watch, I could buy two Maserati cars, a nice Seiko, and still have enough left over to buy gas for a quick trip to, Alvordton, maybe?

And that’s not even the most expensive watch. The Audemars Piguet company also manufactures the Tradition of Excellence Cabinet No. 5, weighing in at a whopping $320,300. The sales tax alone on this could buy you a decent used Maserati.

But why so much for a watch? Isn’t it obvious? “With its visible movement composed of clean rounded shapes and brushed metal surfaces, the piece also pays homage to mid-20th-century industrial designer Raymond Loewy, who conceived the streamlined S1 locomotive and the modern Coca-Cola bottle.” They left out the part about Loewy also designing Studebakers in the early 1950s. I guess that little fact might not impress anyone rich enough to be considering the watch.

But watches really seem to be one of the “must-have” items if you’re going to run with the rich crowd. There are ads in the magazine for over 30 watch brands, almost all of which I’ve never heard of before. I kept looking for a Rolex ad, but no, not a one in sight. Not expensive enough, maybe.

Instead there are names like Bvlgari (yes, that’s spelled correctly, and no, I can’t pronounce it, either). I can tell you it’s only available in select cities like Aspen, Bar Harbour, Beverly Hills, Chevy Chase and Palm Beach.

Most of the watch ads have a similar short list of exclusive sites they’re available at, as if short supply somehow means quality. But with over 30 brands advertised, over 15 of them have to rank in the bottom half, quality wise. A few have to be the Yugo or Daewoo of watches, no matter what the cost.

My advice? Skip the snooty watch and go with a Timex, available exclusively at every drug and discount store that will have them.

    – June 6, 2007 
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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