Do you really think you can evaluate the cost of manufacturing the mount without actually having seen it? Seen the fit, the feel?
Yes, up to a point. I won't bore you as to why, but it's not hard if you've had a similar experience in manufacturing as I've had. There are only a few ways to make such an item. Cast or injection mold it, or machine it from billet. I know enough about both methods to make a judgement. I could go on about this, but you'll fall asleep. Bottom line is, send the item to Vietnam or China instead of making it in Japan and you can cut the cost to a very large degree and still have the same fit and feel. But then, oh my, it's not made in Japan anymore! It used to be we thought of Japanese-made products as junk. Now we think it's something special if it's made in Japan. Why is that? Is it because we know the cost to make anything in Japan is huge? (which it is - their demographics are a nightmare.) More costly than Germany in some cases? More costly than the US for sure! Or is there some other intangible at work here?
Have you discussed with Takahashi owners why they chose a Takahashi. Do you have an idea why someone would choose an 106 FSQ over an NP-101? There are good reasons.
I'm sure there are good reasons. We're talking about that one alt/az mount, not those two telescopes. If you think the vast majority of Takahashi buyers are immune or unaware of this status energy, you're sorely mistaken. Of course they know. If they tell you otherwise, they're lying.
I am sure there are people that buy telescopes on the basis of status. But that is neither here nor there, people buy cars, bicycles, boats because of status. But that does not make the car, bicycle, boat or whatever any less of a tool...
Do you buy things because of status?
No, I don't. Most of us have out-grown that impulse. But I am aware of the perception. Even if the buyer doesn't highly weigh status, others do. And if the buyer is not aware of how others perceive his status based on what he owns/buys, he's brain dead.
Again, this is not a right or wrong thing. It's just human nature. It's OK! If you're going to enter the game at this level, be prepared to pay the piper.