Luxury Showrooms: Will An Ultra-Expensive Watch Get You In?

Dec 07, 2016 06:29 AM EST | Matthew Cruz

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Ever wonder what it would be like to test out the supercars in luxurious London showrooms? For Top Gear, not only did they want a taste of these exclusive luxury showrooms: they surmised that wearing an ultra-expensive watch would do just the trick. What started out as a joke eventually tumbled into an informal tour of London's luxury showrooms, and an exploration of just how much expensive wrist-wear would help out. 

According to Top Gear, writer Chris Mooney immersed himself in life on the fast lane for a day, after what started out as reporter Ken Kessler's memory of an acquaintance who had a habit for testing out cars from luxury showrooms in 1970s Boston. The acquaintance, who would flaunt a luxury watch as his gate pass, eventually amassed a long list of supercars he'd had the privilege of taking for a weekend drive: a Lamborghini Espada and Porsche 911 among them. 

So Mooney popped on a 1970 Breitling Naivitimer, which costs approximately $5,000, a Ferragamo shirt and brogues, hoping to see if it would be all he needed to borrow a supercar from a luxury showroom. A 1952 gem, it was once the official watch of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association: in fact, one variant has previously been worn in space. 

At each showroom Mooney hit, which included Bob Fortner's dealership at Park Lane and a luxury Porsche showroom, he was brought into the back quarters once his obvious knowledge about cars, and presumably his demeanor, made it clear he was interested in buying (or so it would look to the dealers). There, he was given free food, coffee and the option to schedule test drives. 

The verdict was that the watch played a big role, but Mooney's knowledge of cars, an even bigger one. The dealers in the luxury showrooms immediately recognized the timepiece, however, showing how knowledge in the luxury world, whether supercars or watches, intersects. 

According to Telegraph, businessmen Alex Proud sees the merit in expensive cars, where you get what you pay for, as opposed to expensive watches. He said you are typically only buying the brand, and that outrageously expensive watches are what is known as a "Veblen good," a product people buy simply because it's expensive. Perhaps Mooney was wise, then, to stick to the Breitling.

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