Now, while we must accept that rationalizing costs for luxury products is something of a fool’s errand, and that the answer in such cases to the question, “why is it so much more costly” is at least to some degree, “because people are willing to pay,” I don’t think we necessarily need to leave it at that. So, is it materials cost? This seems the least likely explanation. A quick look at prices for platinum vs. gold over the last couple of decades shows that, while the prices for both metals have skyrocketed, they are also very volatile, and today, gold trades for around double the price of platinum. The situation was almost exactly reversed in 2008 when platinum was trading for more than double the price of gold (these are spot prices; I don’t know if they are directly reflected in the costs, in any given year, of ordering actual raw stock for machining, but it seems logical that this would be the case – indeed it may be the only logical data point in this entire article). Steel trades for at least a couple of orders of magnitude less (904L seems to go for around two to ten bucks a kilo, depending on the size of your order), and we all know how expensive steel watches can get, so we can assume, I think, that when a premium is paid for platinum, materials costs are not the biggest reason why.
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