Demand for Apple Watch could use up a third of the world’s annual gold production

“The Apple Watch Edition might be Apple’s most unusual product in years. Questions abound about the 18-karat gold smartwatch,” Josh Centers reports for TidBITS. “How much will it cost? Will Apple offer an upgrade path for it?”

“But I have a broader question: how will it affect the world’s gold supply?” Centers reports. “The Wall Street Journal has reported that Apple plans to ramp up production of the Apple Watch Edition to over 1 million units per month in its second quarter of production. That’s an unbelievable number of gold watches, especially considering that they could cost as much as $10,000 each. But I’ll never underestimate Apple’s ability to sell lots of an expensive product.”

“For the sake of argument, let’s assume that each Apple Watch Edition contains 2 troy ounces of gold (Apple Spotlight estimates 50–75 grams in the Apple Watch Edition; 2 troy ounces equals 62.2 grams). Now, 18-karat gold is only 75 percent pure, because pure gold is too soft for everyday use, but for easier math, let’s also assume that 75 percent still uses 2 troy ounces of gold. (Even if Apple uses only 1 troy ounce, halving all the numbers below, they’re still huge),” Centers reports. “If Apple makes 1 million Apple Watch Edition units every month, that equals 24 million troy ounces of gold used per year, or roughly 746 metric tons. That’s enough gold to make even a Bond villain blush, but just how much is it? About 2,500 metric tons of gold are mined per year. If Apple uses 746 metric tons every year, we’re talking about 30 percent of the world’s annual gold production.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: That right there is music to Jack and Todd Hoffman’s ears. No guts, no glory!

[Attribution: Cult of Mac. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]


  1. 1 to 2 troy oz of gold?!?!? Are you FRIGGIN’ nuts!?!? This guy is a complete idiot! There will be no SOLID gold iWatch! That would be like the “solid” chocolate bunny you get for Easter….. it’s HOLLOW! They will be electroplated with gold and I doubt even a 1/4 GRAM of gold will be used per watch…… 10 microns of plating. Sheesh!

    1. While it won’t be a solid ingot of gold, it won’t be electroplated. That would make it “cheap” in the eyes of the high end consumers.

      More likely, it is like Gruber and Centers are thinking: the WSJ “sources” are way off in their estimates, by at least an order of magnitude.

    2. The watch is definitely NOT gold plated. People who were at the unveiling asked this question and were told it is solid 18K gold, not gold plated. Apple’s own site says:
      “Each has a watch case crafted from 18-karat gold that our metallurgists have developed to be up to twice as hard as standard gold.”

      So, not only is the casing made out of 18K gold, but it is a new gold alloy which is harder than normal.

      If you read the original article, he’s not really saying the Apple Watch will use 1/3 of the world’s gold supply. He’s making fun of the NYT’s sources who said they will make millions of these gold watches every month.

  2. Geez, enough already with the speculations.. Apple watch being tied to a variable as big as gold. Good luck with that Apple.

    Seriously I will be looking at it after 5 years, just like I did with the iPhone.

  3. As for using up the worlds supply of gold?

    It’s about time someone starting using gold for something useful.
    Let’s see. Using gold in space ships to go to the moon, using gold in Apple watches. Hmmm, can’t think of anything else.
    Jewelry doesn’t count, that’s not useful.

  4. I’m not even convinced that the Apple Watch is going to be the major success that everyone believes that it’s going to be. Sur, it will sell, but I honestly and truthfully have yet to find a single person excited by this product. A few “I might look at in a few months time” or longer-type people.

    This has all the makings of another “Apple TV” success story in my humble opinion.

  5. As a technology guy, specifically information technology, who’s been a champion of the Mac operating system ever since the Mac Plus, I’m starting to feel estranged from Apple, a bit. I think I need to sit down and try to write apps for the watch. That will adjust my thinking accordingly.

  6. Apple’s production of a gold watch and matching gold car (it’s coming) will simply not affect the world’s gold supply. ‘Project Midas’ has achieved a remarkable breakthrough in high-volume alchemy, which Apple plans to exploit fully. Consequently, metals markets should be far more concerned about the world’s supply of lead.

  7. Whatever the content, someone is bound to make an App that tells you how much the weight of gold it contains is worth.

    If the weight of gold is significant Apple might have to make an App that tells the customer how much its going to cost on an almost daily basis !

  8. Look at Apples web page.

    •There are no Editions with metal bands
    •The stem on the Edition is color matched to the band
    •All models will function identically. That implies the internal electronics is identical. This implies that the case dimensions will be identical for all models. Since Apple makes the iPod nano with roughly twice the screen area as the Watch will have that weighs 30g, it’s unlikely that the Watch will weigh as much as an iPhone (115g). I doubt it will break 60g all up, including the band. Since any gold content is limited to the case, crown and stem, that’s not much gold.

    Apple won’t make boat anchors for the arm. It is a health and fitness device that will be light, beautiful and functional in ways we don’t yet realize.

    Wait and see.

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