Luxury watch possession and dispossession from father to son : A poisoned gift ?


  • Kessous Aurélie
  • Valette-Florence Pierre
  • de Barnier Virginie


  • Gift-giving
  • Finitude
  • Appropriation
  • Luxury brand
  • Assimilation/contrast effect
  • Generativity

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This research investigates the feelings linked to the transmission of luxury watches from father to son. Based on three studies, an iterative content analysis of individual discourses investigates the three stages of the gift-giving process (Sherry, 1983). Study 1 investigates the gestation stage through the discourse of 15 fathers who offered their luxury watch to their son. Study 2 examines the prestation stage via the “Album On Line” technique on 48 owners. Study 3 explores the reformulation stage through the discourse of 15 sons who received the luxury watch from their father. Results show that the deeper we dig into the stages, the more mixed feelings respondents feel. The first stage is characterized by positive feelings linked to freedom, accomplishment, tradition or legacy. In the second stage, negative feelings linked to family finitude, contempt or resistance, add on to positive feelings. The last stage triggers comparison logic and social pressure and leads to mixed feelings both positive and negative among the sons. Assimilation and contrast effects are identified as high stakes in the individuation-separation process. A fourth stage is suggested: the appropriation stage.

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