Carl S. Cunanan
Cars and Calibres

I had a harassing lunch yesterday. I sat at my computer; actually I sat at my desk with a computer, an iPad, and a phone all running and ready. I was waiting for … a drop.

A drop nowadays means when someone selling something online releases the signup list. In today’s world this is increasingly common. I was waiting in particular for a small run watch drop. In reality I had been trying to communicate with the watchmaker for quite a while, but had so far gotten no responses. I figured if I bought one of their watches then they had to communicate with me. Please note, these weren’t particularly expensive watches, but they seemed to me to be works of passion. Plus they support a charity. If you’re familiar with our Bronze Turtle modification project, those are around the prices. I think.

Anyway, I got wrapped up in the process, it’s kind of like an auction only you’re aiming at speed. The bell dropped, and suddenly the purchase site was live. There were two variants, fifty pieces each. I was refreshing my page (pages, remember I had three screens running) a minute before noon and when things refreshed to the purchase page there were only 49 pieces left. As is often the case, there are delays in inputting your addresses and such, and there was hanging because of volume. The end result was that when I finally got to the correct “choose your shipping address” page one variant was completely out. This took six minutes. The other variant was out in maybe ten more.

This whole process gets you excited, and it becomes something you need to accomplish out of competition. Kind of like auctions. So if you are going to do this you need to set your boundaries. But you also need to be flexible, because your top choices may not be available by the time you get there.

It’s a different experience, buying things (or trying to buy them) this way. There’s a lot of camaraderie, even online with enthusiasts from around the globe. There’s also a lot of frustration, and from a brand point of view that may not always be good for you. Also in this market unfortunately enthusiasts are often pushed out for people with no real love for the pieces on offer but more for the money to be made with a rare item. The watchmaker in this case actually posted screenshots of some of their watches on offer on eBay and asked people not to do that, but rather let real enthusiasts have their best shot.

An easy shot to take here would be at brands that are experiencing extremely high demand lately, but that wouldn’t be fair. You can’t always respond to sudden demand spikes, nor would you want to necessarily. A collaboration we are working on now has one supplier that is happier with the smallest run possible, because he does everything himself. Same with another supplier for the same project. Actually, same with us. The fact that people aren’t always obsessed with maximizing volume is a good thing. It’s just that many aren’t used to it. Or to waiting.