There is another thread here where the OP is debating buying a Chris King headset vs a lower cost one and the concept of "bling" and having others notice and admire your bike has been raised. So, do other riders notice and comment on the high-zoot items on your bike? I'm not questioning the durability, reliability or functioning of top tier components, just are they noticed by others.
I have a '06 Litespeed Tuscanny with all Campy Chorus components and a CK headset. This bike is almost 6 years and 20,000 miles old and has been on numerous club and organized mass rides so lots of other riders have seen it. There have been a few who commented on it being a Litespeed (mostly other Litespeed owners) but absolutely no one has mentioned the Campy group and the headset is also completely ignored despite having "KING" in bold letters around both cups and the top cap.
So, my question is are we kidding ourselves that having boutique components impresses other riders or are we just paying a lot for no recognition.