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View Full Version : Why do pace clocks cost so much?



hofffam
June 17th, 2006, 10:57 AM
We use a 15 inch Kiefer clock during our practices. It stalls during warm weather. I know we can buy a replacement motor for $30.

But it astounds me these clocks cost $140 new. They have a clock motor that is really worth no more than $10 and have a molded plastic case. The 31 inch clock is $250.

The replacement parts are outrageous. The clear plastic lens for the 31 inch is $60!

Is this just an example of a "specialist" item and they get swim clubs to pay the money?

Michael Heather
June 17th, 2006, 01:27 PM
Have you ever seen one of these clocks get thrown away? Once they are bought, they stay in service for many years, and the only part that cannot be replaced is the housing (Competitor will not sell them to you).

Sure, most of the parts are off the shelf cheapo, but who wants to run down all the parts and make a special water and weatherproof housing that can be seen across a pool? It is worth the expense unless you have nothing else to do with your time.

No, I am not a pace clock salesman.

I did, however, buy a 30" pace clock from a junk dealer for $15 in 1995. It needed a lens, hand, and numbers. The city of Long Beach, CA is still using it to my knowledge.

craiglll@yahoo.com
June 19th, 2006, 09:01 AM
Originally posted by Michael Heather
Have you ever seen one of these clocks get thrown away? Once they are bought, they stay in service for many years, and the only part that cannot be replaced is the housing (Competitor will not sell them to you).

Sure, most of the parts are off the shelf cheapo, but who wants to run down all the parts and make a special water and weatherproof housing that can be seen across a pool? It is worth the expense unless you have nothing else to do with your time.

No, I am not a pace clock salesman.

I did, however, buy a 30" pace clock from a junk dealer for $15 in 1995. It needed a lens, hand, and numbers. The city of Long Beach, CA is still using it to my knowledge.

I have rarely seen a pace clock that is accurate.

hofffam
June 19th, 2006, 09:41 AM
A standard clock motor like the ones in Kiefer clocks cost about $3 from any number of places. High torque clock motors cost about $5. I can't believe the case costs more than a few dollars to make. Etc....

Just because they last 15 years doesn't mean they are worth $200.

Sabretooth Tiger
June 19th, 2006, 12:54 PM
They are "worth" whatever people/teams are willing to pay for them.

hofffam
June 19th, 2006, 02:06 PM
sabretooth - you are of course correct.

Frank Thompson
June 20th, 2006, 12:10 PM
Hofffam:

I have to agree with Michael on his assessment of pace clocks. Back in 1987 I was searching to buy a 15 " pace clock and was in a swim shop and noticed that a 31" pace clock was on sale for 25% off. I had to spend a little more money that I originally planned but it was worth it. I think I spent $180 on a Competitor pace clock and that included the roll-a-way stand. I still have the clock now and it works real well. I had to change the sweep minute hand that was originally alloy and got a plastic hand in its place. The clock still has the Seoul 1988 Olympic logo symbol on the front of the clock. I know competitor used to sell clocks with the Olympic logos. Most of the time if they are taken care of they can last a long time. I have not had a motor problems and may be lucky with that.

I remember shoping for clocks and noticed they were all in the same price range from all of the dealers and there was no significant drop in price in the late 1980's when teams started to puchase digital electronic clocks which are real nice but very expensive. Perhaps not many teams are buying those because of this. You are right Hofffam about how the manufacturers view this as a special item and charge a price accordingly because they know there are not competitors out there who will undercut them and swim teams will pay to get the clocks.

This brings up another discussion on a similar point that I had with another swimmer the other day. He was saying all these Fastskins were a rip off and that there is no way that it cost that much to manufacturer and the swimmers around the world are getting ripped off buying them from whomever. I told him that they have been very sucessfull and as long as the market keeps buying them they will stay in business with the price structure they have unless someone comes in a under cuts them which is highly unlikey. Plus you have to understand that you are helping pay for Amanda to look good in those photo shots that Speedo puts in the back of our World entry booklet and elsewhere and we has purchasers of that suite are paying for that.

hofffam
June 20th, 2006, 01:54 PM
I agree the marketplace ultimately will choose the price. What surprises me is that no one else has entered the market with a less expensive product. There is no intellectual property with them, and the barrier to entry, especially with the Internet, is very low. I assume no patents on these!

I can only guess right now the market is not big enough to make it worthwhile. Maybe only a few hundred sold in a year?

Jeff Commings
June 20th, 2006, 02:27 PM
Originally posted by craiglll@yahoo.com
I have rarely seen a pace clock that is accurate.

Go digital.