On Perceived Value

I was watching this video of a man selling his vintage Omega watch on Antique Roadshow. It’s an objectively beautiful piece that was appraised at around a few thousand dollars.

But then the expert looks at the watch repair bill and points out that this watch belonged to a T.E. Shaw. He asked the man if he knows who T.E. Shaw is. The man didn’t have a clue. T.E. Shaw is Lawrence of Arabia. This was Lawrence of Arabia’s watch.

The expert then says that the value of the watch increases by around 5-10x. It’s the same watch but because of the narrative of who it belongs to, the value increases significantly.

Take any object, create a compelling narrative around it, and it becomes valuable.

Lawrence of Arabia’s watchLawrence of Arabia’s watch

January 17, 2024

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