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Limited Editions

Limited edition; you will hear the phrase used a lot when you are shopping for a new watch. Indeed it seems every season a different manufacturer is producing a limited edition item for you to purchase, and on face value the words limited edition appear to describe exactly what they are; they will be produced in limited numbers and/or will not be available for a long time. However the phrase limited edition is often used by marketing experts to drive up demand for an item when they aren't in fact very hard to find. With DVD's, video games, CD's, books, it seems everything is now available in a limited edition version for extra money. It is easy to become jaded with the idea and just plump for something “standard” under the assumption that the extras provided on these editions are nothing more than a way to take more money from you. In the consumer market and high street stores this is true, but when shopping for a fine timepiece nothing could be further from the truth.

In a horological context you can be certain that if a watchmaker has decreed that a watch is limited edition then it is indeed very rare and very exclusive. Often limited edition watches require such delicate finesse to create that it simply isn't feasible to continue producing them after an initial run, in some cases (particularly anniversary or celebratory editions) the limited edition status actually means that the watch is being manufactured at a loss. Rare editions are far more common in watchmaking for more expensive of high end watches and are usually produced to mark some form of special event such as an anniversary or company event. They will often be produced in very limited runs (less than 1,000 pieces worldwide) making them genuinely limited. Very occasionally a manufacturer will produce an edition that numbers less than 250 or even 100 pieces worldwide, and on the rarest of occasions they will produce a genuine one-of-a-kind watch, one might say these are the ultimate limited edition. This kind of timepiece will only be available at auction or will be produced bespoke for a particular buyer and if it does sell will go for well over six figures every time. If you purchase a limited edition watch you can be sure that you are getting something special; a one off never to be repeated piece of horological history. These rare editions always contain a little something special, hence why grand complications and suchlike often feature limited edition lines.