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saltedplug

Preferred Member
Aug 20, 2013
2,954
7
Is there any justification for the high price of Dunhills. I love the classical shapes, and if I want a better made English pipe, I shop Ashton and Ferndown. Of course I am no stranger to Dunhill aquisivity, but it would seem that being 70%? machine made, how can they rival 100% handmade artisans?
I know how to evaluate all that is important about a pipe, and I know a lot more than when I started. But I'm guessing that beyond checking the draw and mortise/tenon junction, etc., there are probably many other things that someone with more experience than I would assess. What are these things, the little things. For instance when I bought my Askwith morta, I was assured by the vendor that many of these little things were present in an Askwith pipe than would be present in a Former.
Getting back to Dunhill how can machine manufacture do as good a job as an artisan could do?
You see, I'm shooting in the dark, asking questions whose answers can only be answered with experience I don't have. Your patience, please, and then give me your knowledge.

 

pruss

Preferred Member
Feb 6, 2013
3,452
39
Mytown
Is there any justification for the high price of Dunhills.
Simply... Folks will pay the price.
This is really and truly about branding, market presence, brand loyalty and perceived value. Now let's not kid ourselves, all of those elements are based on the reputation that Dunhill has built over 100+ years of manufacturing excellent pipes. Whether they are spinning off a machine, or being hand made through each stage of the build and finishing, Dunhill has earned their reputation for excellence.
Some folks are just more comfortable buying a well made widget, from a company they trust, right off the shelf and are happy paying a premium for the knowledge that it will be a damn good widget. That's what's happening here.
If people stopped paying Dunhill's premium, their prices would come down.
$0.05 in the bucket.
-- Pat

 

wyfbane

Preferred Member
Apr 26, 2013
4,028
0
Novice's reply: They probably cannot justify.
I would argue that most people cannot tell the difference in smoking quality and that most buy the name. You can spend $50 on a keychain at Tiffany, because it's TIFFANY.
That and I am sure that if the QC people are doing their job a machine made pipe will smoke fabulously for almost everyone but the purest connoisseur.

 

daveinlax

Preferred Member
May 5, 2009
1,093
58
WISCONSIN
Getting back to Dunhill how can machine manufacture do as good a job as an artisan could do?
I have a lot of experience with both Dunhill and artisan pipes. The basic shape of most Dunhill pipes are done by a machine and out of the hundreds of bowls the few clean bowls go to London to be finished by hand by an person not a machine. The stems, sanding and finish are done by hand. I've just had way better luck with Dunhill than I've had with artisan pipes but I'm not pay retail even for the new pipes I've bought. 8O

 

warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
7,591
503
Economics 101, supply and demand. Dunhill is a prized marque for many collectors and pipe smokers. They will pay for what they want. Very simple really. As for better or worse construction, that's all in the eye of the beholder. Your criteria for a good pipe differs from others the same as mine does. You accept your criteria as the correct one and therefore are bewildered that others do not see the situation the same as you do. Obviously, many people see value where you do not.
If only one pipe maker made an acceptable pipe, there would only be one pipe maker.

 

tobyducote

Preferred Member
Jun 10, 2012
1,200
1
I have 6 Dunhills...all estates...and most in pretty rough condition when I acquired them..a few I've restored myself but most were done professionally...all date back to pre 1960...these are really nice smokers...there is just something comfortable about them...kind if like an old leather shoe that fits just perfectly around your foot...or an old baseball glove that you've had all your life. I have pipes that have and do smoke better, but I always know what to expect from my Dunnies...and sometimes you just want that familiar comfort. I would never pay retail for a new Dunhill, unless I won the lottery, but I do enjoy searching for the Estates...the only 2 Dunhills that I really disliked were more recent..one from late 1970's and one from early 1980's...and those two went to ebay very quickly.

 

iamn8

Preferred Member
Sep 8, 2014
4,253
1
Moody, AL
I'm always mystified when these talks come up when we try to find a practical reason for the Dunhill pricing... Seeking justification in their design. It's not the pipe but the story behind the brand. Take a dozen identical paintings all depicting the exact same scene, but painted by different artists. Would you rather own the one by Van Gogh or the ones by lesser artists? People appreciate history behind a product. Like it or not it's how the world works. Some will love them for it while others will hate them for it.

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
14,647
2,912
Monterey Peninsula
I have one Dunhill, and I paid more for it than anything else to date. It's a standard billiard, ca. 1968. I justified it as it is a replacement for a similar pipe given me by a dear long departed cousin, and which I lost in my youth. Now my dreams are to find a couple dozen oldies in a yard sale for $10.00.

 

chasingembers

Preferred Member
Nov 12, 2014
17,211
3,233
Had a Ruby Bark billiard whose draft hole was slightly askew. Traded it for three tins of Mephisto. I wouldn't take ten Dunhill's for one of my Weavers.

 

ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
14,398
521
Maryland
postimg.cc
On another thread, we just watched a DR pipe, in mediocre condition bring $2,222. It's all about the mystique and prestige of the brand. MLC posted this on that thread, nuff said
'm reminded of Milne's old essay from the 20's...
(excerpt)
However, it is the pipe rather than the tobacco which marks him as belonging to this particular school. He pins his faith, not so much to its labour-saving devices as to the white spot outside, the white spot of an otherwise aimless life. This tells the world that it is one of THE pipes. Never was an announcement more superfluous. From the moment, shortly after breakfast, when he strikes his first match to the moment, just before bed-time, when he strikes his hundredth, it is obviously THE pipe which he is smoking.
For whereas men of an older school, like myself, smoke for the pleasure of smoking, men of this school smoke for the pleasure of pipe-owning—of selecting which of their many white-spotted pipes they will fill with their specially-blended tobacco, of filling the one so chosen, of lighting it, of taking it from the mouth to gaze lovingly at the white spot and thus letting it go out, of lighting it again and letting it go out again, of polishing it up with their own special polisher and putting it to bed, and then the pleasure of beginning all over again with another white- spotted one. They are not so much pipe-smokers as pipe-keepers; and to have spoken as I did just now of their owning pipes was wrong, for it is they who are in bondage to the white spot. This school is founded firmly on four years of war. When at the age of eighteen you are suddenly given a cheque-book and called “Sir,” you must do something by way of acknowledgment. A pipe in the mouth makes it clear that there has been no mistake—you are undoubtedly a man. But you may be excused for feeling after the first pipe that the joys of smoking have been rated too high, and for trying to extract your pleasure from the polish on the pipe’s surface, the pride of possessing a special mixture of your own, and such-like matters, rather than from the actual inspiration and expiration of smoke. In the same way a man not fond of reading may find delight in a library of well-bound books. They are pleasant to handle, pleasant to talk about, pleasant to show to friends. But it is the man without the library of well-bound books who generally does most of the reading...
...For my young friends are always trying to persuade me to join their school, to become one of the white-spotted ones. I have no desire to be of their company, but I am prepared to make a suggestion to the founder of the school. It is that he should invent a pipe, white spot and all, which smokes itself. His pupils could hang it in the mouth as picturesquely as before, but the incidental bother of keeping it alight would no longer trouble them.
 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,965
1,643
It's a relatively old brand, not as old as some of the French marques, but well established in history. They have an established set of traditional shapes that they adhere to over time. They stamp the pipes so it is possible to determine the years they were made, and why doesn't every pipe maker do this? Most but not all of their pipes are carefully manufactured with mostly higher grade briar, and their quality control is good to excellent. Somewhere between the time they were selling their pipes for somewhat less than U.S.-made Kaywoodies, and today when Kaywoodie is trying to fight its way back into mid-price pipe-making, the Dunhill established its magic so they sell for two or three or more times the prices of similar if not altogether comparable factory made pipes, and Dunhills took off with pipe smokers who wanted a really good pipe and a really strong statement that they could afford something in the luxury category. Some of our seasoned pipe smokers on Forums are devoted to their Dunhills, bought new or as estate pipes, and at least one member owns more than a hundred and purchased a set of six (was it) all in a group, to have some smaller pipes for shorter smokes. I don't have a Dunhill, and I don't plan to buy one unless I happen on a flea market or antique store windfall, but I do not dismiss them as merchandising illusions. They're classy pipes and good smokers, and I work awfully hard to find pipes at more affordable prices that smoke real well, if not just like a Dunhill, though some of mine may -- my Ser Jacopo bought with a windfall publication check, and my Ferdown given to me by an extremely generous Forums member. Dunhill, if you got 'em, smoke 'em.

 

seacaptain

Preferred Member
Apr 24, 2015
1,831
2
I have 2 Dunhills and a Savinelli GDO, and I'm new, so I don't really have much wisdom to offer, but I will say that the Dunhill's have much better stem/tenon/mortise fitting than the Savinelli. They "feel" like higher quality in your hand. I'm not knocking the Savinelli though, which I love, I'm just making an observation about quality, perceived or real.
I will say this, I think Dunhill has done for the pipe world what Cook did for the chess world (Staunton).

 

georged

Preferred Member
Mar 7, 2013
2,610
42
Half a MILLION hits and counting: :lol:
https://www.google.com/search?num=100&q=dunhill+pipes+worth+the+price&spell=1&sa=X&ei=JHxvVeG2AczNsAWm44GQBQ&ved=0CBsQBSgA&biw=1858&bih=963

 

jimbo44

Junior Member
Aug 2, 2010
62
0
Back in the days of English pipemakers, Dunhill was only one of many excellent brands (Charatan, Loewe, Barling, Comoy etc.) but by good marketing and a policy of acquisition, became the most famous.
Coupled with the fact that they can be accurately dated, they have achieved cult status and most collectors of them seek good nomenclature (as opposed to Charatan collectors seeking shape, grade and grain).
Sure they smoke well to excellently and I've got quite a few of the older pieces but I doubt that I'd buy a new one today.
Ashton was the successor to Dunhill, as was Upshall to Charatan, once big business took over and I believe they more equate with the original brands.

 

bigpond

Preferred Member
Oct 14, 2014
2,023
4
Ashton was the successor to Dunhill, as was Upshall to Charatan, once big business took over and I believe they more equate with the original brands.
In the golden age Pipes were big business. It's a modern phenomenon to attach shoddy workmanship to factories and revere cottage craftsman. Barling, Dunhill, GBD, Comoy's...these weren't guys in their garages, these were enormous factories employing ground breaking technology to make the pipes to a very high standard. Made for smokers that smoked...a lot...
People buy Dunhills now, I think, because they like the look, they can reasonably certain of a certain level of quality, and they're collectible. How much that is worth is for the buyer to decide.
The bugaboo with buying pipes is that the most important aspect, how well they smoke, is something that is unique to each pipe. This is why every pipe shop needs professional pipe smokers to grade stock prior to sale. Everything else is just for show.

 

jimbo44

Junior Member
Aug 2, 2010
62
0
"In the golden age Pipes were big business. It's a modern phenomenon to attach shoddy workmanship to factories and revere cottage craftsman. Barling, Dunhill, GBD, Comoy's...these weren't guys in their garages, these were enormous factories employing ground breaking technology to make the pipes to a very high standard. Made for smokers that smoked...a lot..."
Can't argue with that; what perhaps I should have said is when the business became more about accountancy than standards.
"The bugaboo with buying pipes is that the most important aspect, how well they smoke, is something that is unique to each pipe. This is why every pipe shop needs professional pipe smokers to grade stock prior to sale. Everything else is just for show."
Again, no argument; I'm firmly with Fred Hanna in believing that it's the pipe rather than the brand - and the main bit of that is the briar.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,965
1,643
newbroom, sure I have an itch. I wouldn't be a (hopeless) enthusiast if I didn't. I also have an itch for an original Sixten Iversson, but I think I'll make do with the Stanwell shape 86 (pot) he designed for Stanwell, sold by P&C in the brushed brown series for $49.99, which incidentally Sixten would find a quite satisfactory (or better) smoker.

 
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