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I recently bought this wristwatch from a major online store, which was advertised with the following image:

watch

One of the reasons I picked it is were the black pointers and markers.

The watch I actually received looks just like the one on the photo, with one important difference: the pointers and hour markers are not black, as on the photo, but "chromed" or "silver". This was a massive disappointment to me.

Here is a photo I just took of it: photo

The minute markers are actually black on my watch, but not the hour markers or the pointers.

One thought did cross my mind: maybe it's difficult to photograph a watch which is chromed, like it's difficult to capture what gold looks like on a photo. So maybe they put some kind of black cloth over the camera which is reflected when the photo was taken, making the markers and pointers look like they are black when they are in fact chrome/silver?

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    While I appreciate that what's happened to you is very frustrating, would it be possible for you to try and cut this question down to just the photographic context? Thanks!
    – Philip Kendall
    Jul 30 '21 at 10:01
  • @PhilipKendall Well, I tried to give just enough context... :/
    – E S
    Jul 30 '21 at 10:09
  • Very broadly, I'd say the first half of your question is relevant as it give context; everything from "But then I also recalled" starts going into speculation and non-photographic questions - what the company has done with their prices and their lack of responses to you isn't a photographic question (or anything anyone outside the company can tell you).
    – Philip Kendall
    Jul 30 '21 at 10:18
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    @ES It will be much easier to answer your question, if you posted a photo of the actual product you received as well. Then we can compare it with the image from the online store. You can also download the image from the online store and insert it in your question rather than giving the link of the website. The link can become dead in the future Jul 30 '21 at 10:19
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    it's an online sale. can't you just return it if you don't like it?
    – ths
    Jul 30 '21 at 11:24
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Black is a color. "Chrome" is not a color, it is a property of the material that reflects the light of the surrounding area, in a way that produces an image of it. It is basically a mirror.

So yes, the photographer probably did, either put a black object behind the camera or simply had the lights of the room turned off.

In your own photo, some markers look black, but you realize that they are chromed when they start to reflect different things; A white ceiling? The curtains of the room?


Orthographic images are a requirement for a lot of online stores. They try to have a more "impartial" set of images.

Some other stores have a wider range of photos taken, to see the details. It is a subjetive thing.

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Polished metal produces little or no specular reflection. If the light source is not positioned to create direct reflection into the camera lens, polished metal will appear dark.

This makes lighting polished metal for photographs tricky. The difference between the images shows it. The image that correctly communicates the materiality uses a more sophisticated lighting setup that the average online seller would struggle to replicate.

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  • Sure, but how likely is it that the seller took their own photos? Would they not get professionally, perfect shots from the actual brand?
    – E S
    Jul 30 '21 at 13:20
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    @PhilipKendall The image in diffuse light appears to have pointy hands to me when I zoom in on the end away from the center. YMMV. Jul 30 '21 at 13:38
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    The hour hand looks somewhat pointed or rounded to me in the seller's image. But regardless, there was 100% retouching of the photo IMO: unless the watch is broken, analog watches can't point exactly to 10 and 2 (i.e., 10:10 time). If it's 10:10, the hour hand is 1/6th of the distance toward 11 (that is, almost pointing to the first 12-minute pip after 10).
    – scottbb
    Jul 30 '21 at 20:58
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    @scottbb The uniform white background indicates retouching. Nevertheless, I didn't say anything about the image being unretouched. Don't know where you got the idea that there was an argument with me there...have a good idea why though. Jul 30 '21 at 21:50
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    @BobMacaroniMcStevens easy, whoa, slow down there. I wasn't arguing with you at all. If anything, I was disagreeing with Philip. I agree the white face was retouched like you say. Just adding to the thought that the seller wasn't explicitly lying, because of lighting & lack of specular reflection on silver metal. Normal retouching from product photography is to be expected, and my point was that accidentally putting the hands in slightly the wrong place is evidence of retouching.
    – scottbb
    Jul 30 '21 at 22:46

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