Incensed over the $17,000 Apple Watch Edition? You must be poor

By SteveJack

Dear Great Unwashed,

The top-of-the-line Apple Watch Edition, in gorgeous 18-karat gold, rose or yellow, that Apple’s brilliant metallurgists have developed to be up to twice as hard as standard gold, with an stunning display protected by polished sapphire crystal and your choice of Modern Buckle band in either Bright Red or Rose Gray costs $17,000.00.

There was and there continues to be much gnashing of teeth and rending of garments on the Web over that price from people who are, to be blunt, too poor to afford such an exquisite timepiece. If you’re among the whining rabble, please stop! It’s unbecoming. Aren’t you embarrassed? In place of your so-called outrage, you might as well just type, “Hey, look at me! I’m too poor to afford such a watch.” Here’s a fact: If you’re outraged, you’re not in the Apple Watch Edition’s target market. You’re not even in the target’s market’s area code. And, very, very likely, you’re a disgruntled Android settler who can now finally see the writing on the wall. You need to shut up and accept your standing among the proles while you work to get into the Apple Watch Edition target market. Either way, Apple makes Apple Watches for you, too, and they start at only $349!

The Piaget Gouverneur watch retails for $51,500. Just looking at it in person will take your breath away. I’m serious. You’ll gasp for air. The Piaget Altiplano cufflinks that nicely complement the Gouverneur cost a mere $4,400. Yes, they’re quite stunning, too. So, where are the maudlin tweets of indignance directed at Piaget for not offering the hoi polloi an aluminum option with a rubber strap for a mere $349? I searched Twitter: Not a single tweet.

Most of those who will buy Apple Watch Edition units will barely glance at the price, if they even bother. That $17,000 might as well be 17-cents to them. These are monied people and, guess what, there are many, many, many of them around the world.

Apple is brilliant. These gorgeous 18-karat gold Apple Watch Editions will begin showing up on the wrists of celebrities, famous athletes, and captains of industry very soon. And they will influence the rest of the world to lust after Apple Watch, too. And, here’s more Apple brilliance, unlike a $51,500 Piaget watch, your average Joe and Jane Riffraff will actually be able to partake in the same exact user experience with the Apple Watch and Apple Watch Sport. Okay, so you put up with the aluminum or the stainless. Is that so bad? Listen, rabble, the point is that this thing is going to catch fire!

So, cut your undignified grousing. Stop worrying about the Apple Watch Edition that you oh-so-obviously can’t afford, upgrade that fragmandroid POS to a real iPhone, and start picking out the Apple Watch that you can afford because you’re not going to want to miss this. You’re going to want to be a part of this because this is going to be big! Very, very big!


SteveJack (future Apple Watch Sport owner and damn proud of it!)

SteveJack is a long-time Macintosh user, former web designer, multimedia producer and a regular contributor to the MacDailyNews Opinion section who also basically called the iPhone over five years before Steve Jobs unveiled it.

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      1. I’m definitely “poor” in comparison to those who can pay $17,000 for the Apple Watch. I don’t mind this. The thing is, it’s not in the same class. It’s a wrist peripheral device for the iPhone, far less capable than the iPhone itself selling for almost 20 times more? Why cause you slapped a bit of gold on it? It will be just as obsolete as the $399 version in a year. Even more a year after that and so on, so measure the amount of gold and see if it’s worth $17,000 when you melt it down.

        Obviously that’s a poor person’s way of thinking, but I kinda think that rich people didn’t get rich by throwing money away.

        1. Yep, the REAL rich guy is the one who convinces you its a good idea to buy a 17k watch that will be superseded by a new version in a year. Well played, Apple.

          Looking forward to buying v2 of the sport model.

        2. Apple is missing a market.

          The price topped out at $1000 for stainless with the most pricy band, then jumped to begin at $10,000 for the gold one.

          My Cartier cost $6K. It’s nice enough for me. Apple left out the $1k-$10k market.


          1. I’m not so sure. My Raymond Weil cost $3200 but it will never be obsolete and I can hand it down. That may not be $17K but it’s not chump change. Would you really want a Cartier that stopped telling time in a few years? I think that most of those who will pick up the Edition though don’t care about such things, viewing it as a status symbol more than a piece of technology. Whereas I’d be perfectly happy with a Sport on my wrist, and a Sport V2 when it comes out.

        3. While I can see your point regarding obsolescence, I don’t think that’s how Apple is playing this out. I firmly believe that they won’t update the  Watch for a good few years, because they aren’t thinking about it like the devices they want us to upgrade every other year. Need evidence? Look at the only replaceable part — the battery. If Apple planned for us to get a new one every other year, they wouldn’t have given us a replaceable battery; all they would’ve done is sealed the thing off and let us upgrade when we needed to. Yet they let us replace the battery, knowing it would die long before we would need to replace the  Watch.

        4. Why do you think it will be obsolete in a year? Apple doesn’t think so; the base Edition warranty is two years, three with Applecare (the other watch models have two year warranties with Applecare).

          Even IF new models come out next year (and my guess is that we will see new models every two years), it doesn’t make the watch obsolete by any means. There is no reason to update the watch as fast as the phone, because it does very little compared to a phone.

      2. “Here’s a fact: If you’re outraged, you’re not in the Apple Watch Edition’s target market. You’re not even in the target market’s area code.” Actually, you probably need a passport to even get within viewing distance of the Apple Watch Edition set.

    1. “SteveJack (future Apple Watch Sport owner and damn proud of it!)”

      Hmmm, can’t afford the $10,000+ model, or is that he realizes that it’s a pretentious waste of money?

    2. I would think that your fancy watches would also be magnets for thieves. Frankly, I cannot understand why anyone would pay thousands or tens of thousands for any timepiece or gold smart watch. From my perspective, you are not all that much different from someone who buys an Apple Watch Edition.

      I do agree that SteveJack can be an insufferable elitist at times. In this case, he is positioning himself as one of the unwashed, but i still don’t appreciate the antagonistic tone of his writing.

      1. Sorry, should have qualified that by saying that I didn’t pay for my two most valuable watches. One was inherited and the other was a wedding gift from my in-laws. Neither one gets worn very often at all – probably once or twice a year at most. The fact that they are usually covered by a suit and I only look at the to see them time (and not every couple of minutes for an SMS or calendar notification) probably means that they aren’t as obvious to a thief.. but I digress.

        The most expensive watch I’ve personally purchased was more in line with the stainless steel link bracelet Apple Watch – incidentally the one that appeals to me the most, insofar as a “smartwatch” can appeal to me. I’m still not sold on the productivity/lifestyle benefits, but happy to be proven wrong.

        1. Fair enough. The tone of my response was a bit harsher than intended. I need to ease off on the snarky replies.

          I admire fancy timepieces as mechanical works of art. And I do not begrudge those who purchase them. In this particular case, they are making a donation to my AAPL, both directly (by paying a substantial sum of money for the Edition) and indirectly (by visibly incorporating the Apple Watch into the lifestyles of the rich and famous). The Apple Watch will now have the same cachet as caviar, Ferraris, and yachts.

          The key takeaway from SteveJob’s article is that the Apple Watch enables a large number of people to play in the same arena as the rich and famous. The $17,000 Apple Watch Edition will have the same display, guts, and software as the Apple Watch Sport for $349/$399 (~2.35% of cost of the Edition). Except for the case and band, it is functionally equivalent. It would be like being able to buy a Ferrari that was equivalent on a component and functional basis (but with a fiberglass shell) for less than the price of a Yugo. I like that idea.

          The stainless steel version of the Apple Watch was priced about 25% lower than many people expected. As usual, Apple priced the mid-range model perfectly relative to the low-end aluminum Sport version. The 50% price difference is small enough in absolute dollar terms that many people will opt for the SS model.

          I continue to believe that Apple will sell many millions of Apple Watches this year, and tens of millions in subsequent years. Just based on the initial functionality of Apple Watch 1.0, nothing else comes close or will come close for years. Based upon the evolution of the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, the Apple Watch will become incredibly sleek and slim by the fourth generation. Just like the iPod classic evolved into the mini and shuffle and nano and touch, I believe that Apple’s wearable product lineup will branch out from this starting point.

      2. The Apple watch is not a watch. It’s not a timepiece. With a watch it’s the love of the artistry, the meticulous engineering, the craftsmanship. The Apple Watch is just another gadget and not that overwhelmingly impressive a gadget. It’s real potential is in the health market but when you put a bit of gold on it and say it’s now worth $17,000, that’s when it becomes ridiculous. Not because people feel slighted, but because it’s just ridiculous.

        There is no way the Apple watch is worth 3 to 5 times as much as an Omega, a nice watch at the lower end of the nice watch scale.

        Apple has a right to price any product they way they see fit.

        Is that $17,000 dollar watch worth as much as say an iMac? No. Therein lies why Apple should be embarrassed at the pricing.

        1. Normally I don’t agree much with Thelonious Mac. In fact, I doubt that there’s a more dishonest, corrupt person who has ever posted at MDN. To be blunt, there are no words that can express my contempt for him. But here, today, he is spot on all the way.

          5 star vote.

  1. Well, that about sums up my perspective on this as well. Thanks Steve for that perspective. To me, $17K is not chump change, but I could easily unload last year’s AAPL dividends and pick up the watch. I don’t plan to though, because it doesn’t fit with my lifestyle. I can see where many others might not feel as inhibited. I only wonder if one might consider it an investment. There’s talk of it being worthless next year when the updated model is released. I wonder if that’s short-sighted.

    1. I don’t see how a $17K watch would be an investment in any monetary sense. Like all computing devices it will depreciate with time, and although there will be “limited” numbers made, it won’t be as rare as the first Apple computer, or probably even the first-generation iPod, so it won’t be selling at auction in 30 years for hundreds of thousands of dollars. It *might* if it is never actually opened and used.

  2. I am incensed over the ass-hat author of this article. I never thought the Apple Edition was too costly. However I am not rich enough to spend my money on such an item. I would rather spend $30K on a decent car.

    This whole notion of too poor to mater is exactly the reason why people with this attitude, with senseless money, does not deserve it, because they haven’t the wisdom to use it properly. You don’t like the sound of wining? Then suck it up and cover your ears.

    Should people, who have the means, go out and purchase the Edition? Sure by all means, go ahead. But to insult others, with less means, in the process is poorest excuse of a civilized human being.

    Remember you still have to wake up every day and do the same laborious task of taking care of your self, and hopefully your mother.

    The Apple Watch will come to some of us, in due time, when it makes sense. Some now, some later.

    I enjoy looking at $40,000 bejeweled iPhones, and I am sure that $17,000, including it’s $7000 wrist band, of leather and gold, will also get “The Treatment” and we all can enjoy it’s beauty.

    So please go climb back into your glorious hole and revel at your possessions, because, buddy, everything we have today and tomorrow, is just temporary.

      1. It shouldn’t be about money at all. You want an Edition, then the cost of entry is $10K. Look people will be people, telling them to shut up is just rude.

        I went and looked at the Piaget Gouverneur, which he didn’t provide a decent enough link, but I wasn’t particularly inspired. I felt it was a little ho-hum for a watch. If it was offered at 51 cents, I would still pass it up. It’s just not my style. I like a little more ruggedness. Maybe I could appreciate it more if I saw how it was manufactured. As in, the journey is more important.

        Anyway, I am not here to make people angry with me. I just felt that Steve crossed the line.

    1. My friend..
      Some people have a lot of money some less and some are poor!
      The rich can afford expensive stuff the poor cant. It just a fact of life.
      Whats insulting about it?
      Why are u so upset?

      1. Because POOR is a bad choice of words. It’s divisive, and rather rich is too, in the way it’s used in the thread. We are supposed to live in a classless society, let’s keep it that way.

        It’s not about haves and have nots. I suspect someone who does not have the means will actually go out and buy an Edition, walk around with it and maybe go bankrupt in the process. Heck if people are willing to sell their organs for an iPhone, they will sacrifice their own wellbeing for an Apple Watch.

        My point. Poor is a negative term, as in “Poor choice of words” Rich is a positive term, as in “Rich chocolaty morsel” So when you talk about “PEOPLE” it comes across as being insensitive.

        Look, just today, I visited Mac Daily News, I saw a page with tones of adds, yet that’s not enough, random words started showing up as links, as Infolinks, as if we aren’t annoyed enough. This is what money mongering does. It creates a world of turning every byte into an opportunity of collecting funds, leaving a rather “poor” oops, experience. There’s that word again, and yet it’s being used to describe some really awesome people out there. Highly educated, gifted people who chose a path that, instead of exploitation, resulted in the betterment of humanity.

        Not everyone is poor, monied or not.

        1. “We are supposed to live in a classless society”

          You have GOT to be kidding us. Do you think the Koch brothers think they are of the same social class as you and me?

        2. We’re guaranteed equality under the law. That doesn’t make our society classless. I was watching a show about the engineering marvels of ancient Rome. In the course of the narrative, it was mentioned that one person in three was a slave in ancient Rome. While we have outlawed the ownership of one person by another, if you go to work at a crap job every day to make the payments on your house, car and pay off your costs for medical care can you consider yourself “free”. The operative word in the term “wage slave” is slave. That raises the prime question, would the rich be rich in any society but for the existence of slaves?

  3. In other words, Let Them Eat Cake? /s

    Apple’s competitors in wearables have to be bug-eyed and feverish at what is going on. They only dreamt of such Xanadu markets during opiate delusions, and here is Apple actively coaxing them. Market Share?—pfft. How about market Segment? You know, where the real money is?—I feel that analysts will have a rude awakening..

    1. Real men don’t “Bend over and take it” as you so eloquently state it. But apparently there are males such as yourself who do so willingly and enjoy it. There is a name for them.

  4. I’m not in the “target market,” but here’s the amazing thing… I can sell about 80 shares of AAPL and buy a gold Edition Apple Watch with CASH. I guess that puts me in the “area code.” And THAT is also thanks to Apple.

    (But if I actually did it, I’d be too chicken to wear it outside my home.) 🙂

  5. There is a segment of the population that simply will not wear anything BUT an expensive watch. Apple had a choice to make. They could have just as easily decided not to make an Edition Watch, but then why deny those with a lot of money to spend, the pleasure of wearing an Apple Watch and enjoying all of it’s inherent functionality. Apple made the right decision, there’s no need to be offended.

    1. If you think about it, this may be Apple’s way of hedging some of the costs for the possibility of a lower cost version not selling as well as expected.. How many lower cost version margin equivalents would a single $17k sale make up for? 😛

    2. Right thinking. Apple Watch price can be separated into two parts, functionality and style. The cost for functionality tops out at $599 (42mm Watch with plastic band), assuming there is functional value in stainless steel and sapphire over aluminum and ion glass. Everything over that is style and fashion.

      I don’t dislike rich people, some of my best friends are rich(ish), but I’m glad Apple decided to keep them separated from the rest of us. They need to be among their own kind and those who know how to handle them.

  6. I want to se ShamScam’s version of a $17,000 watch. I wonder how many they’d sell? Apple will probably sell more of the ‘Edition’ watch by year’s end, than the total of Android smart watches sold. 😀

  7. I am fortunate enough to live in a $450K+ a year household. Not the richest guy on the block but not the poorest either. I have Apple products from Macs, iPads, iPods and several iPhones. $17K for a watch you can’t even swim with, that will be obsolete in less than 2 years and whose cheaper siblings can do all this one can and will be produced en masse diluting the uniqueness that a Piaget (a 140+ year artisan watchmaker no less) on the other hand does offer… I’d say… yeah… it’s a ridiculous price. No need to call people rabble, riffraff and every other derogatory term (irony or not) you can think of while trying to make your point. Apple can make its dime a dozen superfluous gizmos (my iPhone already does 90%+ of what the Apple Watch does and better) so authentic timepieces made by real jewelers can valued and passed on thru generations with even greater relish.

    1. Sorry you don’t see the value, but many others will. I guess the Sport version or the stainless steel watch is the one for you then.

      But to complain publicly about the price of a luxury item? Really?!? Most of the “price is too high posts” I’ve been reading for the last several hours sounds like a hoochie mama that just lost her sugar daddy’s money and can’t afford this month’s rent. Or it’s like complaining that the price of a 911 is 2-3 times as expensive as a Corvette = low class.

    2. The Piaget may be expensive and obviously shouts from the rooftops that it was expensive, but I don’t think it’s tasteful and it doesn’t remotely fit with the design concepts of Apple. There’s no way that Jony Ive would design a watch that looked like that. He would always opt for sophisticated, understated elegance, rather than adding diamonds and engraving to embellish a design.

      When I looked at the link offered in the article, it didn’t so much take my breath away as make me spurt my coffee out because the author felt that this was a high point of watch design. I have no doubt that many people do covet the Piaget, and the craftsmanship is undeniably exquisite, but if you want something which looks like that, it would have to be designed by somebody other than Jony Ive.

      There have been times when Marc Newson has produced over-complicated watch designs that I think Jony Ive might not have approved of ( some variants of Ikepod Megapode Chronometer for instance ), but most of his creations fit very comfortably with Ive’s design aesthetics.

      1. I don’t think the post was talking about Jony Ive’s design capabilities or Piaget’s for that matter. The post called out MDN’s tasteless tactics to make their point that a $17K watch is not for everybody… And that in 2050 (if the battery is still alive and software is still compatible with anything) giving your grandson an Apple Watch will look like giving a Casio Calculator Watch to your grandson today… unless he’s another hapless hipster it will just be ridiculous.

    3. You are right to be modest. You are only richer than 98% of the population. Good luck finding someone poor than you.

      OBTW, a dozen $17,000 gizmos works out to $221,000. Even $349 gizmos cost $4,188. I’ll bet you hire an accountant to do math for you.

        1. I owe you an apology. I was on a real toot yesterday. Sorry for that. Rereading my snark, I see it didn’t even make sense. So much for scathing social commentary and pithy wit. May be about half right on that last item.

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