This is probably going to stir a hornet's nest, but here goes...
Many manufacturers, Yamaha, Yanagisawa, Keilwerth...are putting out unlacquered versions of their top pro horns. If these major sax companies are doing this, then there must be a good reason. I have never tried an unlacquered sax myself, but I've heard from a lot of players that the absence of lacquer gives a different sound that they like better. Is that why many players of vintage VIs just let the lacquer wear off over time and never relacquer or replate? I also hear of a lot of people who would chemically strip a new horn of its lacquer.
So is the unlacquered thing just cosmetic or does it make a real difference?