Why is Apple making a gold Watch?

“As expected, the gold version of Apple’s watch is very expensive by consumer technology standards – $10,000 and up, depending on the band you take,” Benedict Evans writes for Seeking Alpha. “And, also as expected, this made a lot of people’s heads explode.”

“There are really two different conversations here: will people buy a $10,000 Apple watch, and why did Apple make one?” Evans writes. “To the first question… One could argue that it’s a vanity project, or that Apple’s doing this just because it can, or that a few hundred million dollars still matters at Apple (as indeed it does). But I think it’s more interesting to compare it with Apple retail. Despite its prominence, this is only about 10% of Apple’s revenue. It’s much more important as marketing. And it’s great marketing… Apple might only sell a few tens of thousands, but what impression does it create around the $1,000 watch, or the $350 watch?”

MacDailyNews Take: We already answered that one:

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… will actually be able to partake in the same exact user experience with the Apple Watch and Apple Watch Sport.SteveJack, MacDailyNews, March 9, 2015

“Finally, whatever your opinion of all this, it doesn’t really matter,” Evans writes. “Apple’s watch is, after all, coming to market at a lower entry price than any previous new category from Apple.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: All of these articles about how poor you are for being incensed over Apple Watch Edition’s price or how big of a douchebag you have to be to buy one are doing Apple Watch’s marketing, product positioning, and market segmentation for Apple gratis.

You’re welcome, Apple.

Related articles:
Kevin Rose: Apple Watch Edition is perfect for douchebags – March 12, 2015
SteveJack: Incensed over the $17,000 Apple Watch Edition? You must be poor – March 9, 2015


    1. Don’t believe they’ll make 1 mil or anywhere close to that of the $10k version in the first few batches.. Might end up being a special order product at that price..

      1. I don’t know. One “source” was talking in terms of 1 million AWEs per week. which I definitely doubt. But the margins on the Edition watches will be huge.

        1. Yeah, the margins will definitely be huge.. 🙂 More so than you would think if their patent for using a ceramic-gold 18k compound is used in making the AWE.. Less gold per volume than any other 18k jewelry out there..

    2. At just 2% of total Apple Watches sold, the Apple Watch Edition will contribute more to Net Income than the Sport and Stainless models combined. That’s why Apple is offering the Edition. That is why Apple hired Angela Ahrendts from Burberry, Paul Deneve from Yves St Laurent and Patrick Pruniaux from Tag Heuer. Expect Apple Watch Edition sales to exceed 2% of total Apple Watch sales during first year of availability, and grow from there.

      1. Right. It will definitely take talent to convince people to buy a $17,000 disposable watch, given there are alternatives that are functionally identical for $350. If they sell a million, they will have absolutely earned their paychecks.

        All that chicken counting done, selling golden baubles is not Apples place in the universe. Apple is about changing the world. You can’t do that pandering to the egos of the few, or worse, the wannabe few, at least not in a good way. I’m hoping this isn’t Apples first step down a bad path.

      1. From 1953 through 2013, Chevrolet made 1.5M Corvettes. Depending on the year, they made anywhere from 48 (none sold, the C4 was so late getting worked up to shipping condition that GM skipped that year) to 40K. Sales fell after 2008, but are recovering. 13,746 Corvettes were sold in 2011.

        World wide sales for Chevrolet in 2011 was 4.76M vehicles

        1. That’s cool.. I guess the demand was higher than supply.. Good move for car companies to keep just under demand to completely sell out of their product due to the high level of depreciation involved in cars.. So in terms of total car sales for Chevrolet in 2011 it was about 0.3%.

          1. You miss the point. The Corvette has always been an aspirational product. It really didn’t matter how many they sold. It made every high school kid dream about owning a CHEVROLET Corvette. Most grew up to buy Chevies of one sort or another. If you can’t afford a Corvette, or your married lifestyle won’t support one, then you can own a Camaro. The Corvette sold millions of Camaros and other models for Chevrolet. Chevrolet would not be the company that it is without the Corvette.

  1. None of Apple’s competitors has an equivalent of the Edition. I doubt that any of Apple’s competition will be able to match the Sport edition. How can any of them compete against the Edition? 😀

    1. that ‘computer’ (PC, phone, pad) you are typing on can feed lots of hungry children. Average income of many countries is less than $1 a day. It only costs a few cents to save a child from certain diseases in the third world…


      me I’m typing this on a wooden pad with a pencil and sending it to MDN via wishful thinking…

      seriously, a person buying a 17,000 watch might have donated 50,000 to charity, a person with a $10 watch might have donated nothing. Who are we to judge?

    2. Trolldude, your father and I have been teaching you that if you can’t say anything nice then don’t say anything at all. Please get back under your bridge and try to learn that lesson. You could grow up to be a nice person someday!

  2. I don’t think you have to be a douchebag to buy an Apple Watch Edition. You just have to have $10–17K burning a hole in your pocket. People think that it’s wasteful to spend wealth on something showy like this instead of giving it to the poor or investing in something meaningful, but from a high-level point of view, it doesn’t matter. It’s just moving money from one rich person into Apple’s coffers, which in turn is owned by Apple shareholders. It’s a net-zero douche-to-douche wealth transfer. How does this possibly hurt you? (The rhetorical you.)

    And to the extent that it makes Apple more likely to acquire my company or the one down the street, I’m grateful.

  3. I suspect that you will not see a $10,000 Apple Watch in the Apple stores. The people that are in the market for the Apple Watch Edition, do love Apple products… but when they are buying something as personal as an Apple Watch Edition, they want the personalized, exclusive experience that is only available in the high-end jewelry stores.

    1. Wrong. The Edition will not be avai;able in all Apple Stores. In the Stores where it will be avai;able Apple is redesigning them to appeal to the luxury buyer.

  4. If you pay $17,000 for a Swiss watch you would expect it to have a precision mechanical movement and not one the same as a Timex.
    Apple are going to sell you the same innards in the top and bottom of the range. This has got to be applauded because you get the same experience pretty much regardless of your wealth. However, those with deep pockets have the opportunity to buy something which ‘must’ be worth owning just because its expensive. If it was only $300 they would need to get someone to add the bling ( and of course there are some who want even more expense/bling added to convince themselves that its worth owning)

        1. Xennex: you should only have to choose time zone and the watch will set itself to the correct time for that zone. Also changes for Daylight Savings Time occur automagically. Time is synced by satellite through iPhone, then through internal clock until next sync cycle. Accuracy is more dependent upon algorithm used to synchronize than upon internal clock. 😀

          1. Recently had to change the date/time option on my dad’s smartphone to “update automatically” because he complained of the time being “off”. If the Apple watch is syncing with the iPhone and not just using the wireless connection to get the actual time from a cellular or online source the watch too may be “off”.. I guess it depends on what options there are to set the date/time on the Apple Watch.

          2. Also made that assumption since it would not make much sense to even mention the 50ms deviation if they are using the same time sources as everyone else.. Not sure how relevant that deviation is for most people.. Maybe if you use your stopwatch for races or something but even then.. That’s a pretty small discrepancy that could be due to how fast your hand-eye coordination is.

            1. Xennex: People with high-end mechanical chronometers value the accuracy; however, the error is cumulative, ie, the gain or loss is greater over time. An unadjusted digital watch has the same problem, it’s accuracy depends on clock speed, rather than a mechanical movement. Satellites have hyper accurate clocks, cell towers sync to satellites and cellphones to the towers. Accuracy is dependent upon the algorithm used to synchronize. To the average person 50ms of accuracy is meaningless. All devices synchronized this way should all have the same time. No one should be arguing over whose watch has the correct time. 😀

            2. I can agree with that. Though I could see the argument from chronometer owners then that the 50ms accuracy is not a function of the Apple Watch at all.. Sort of like claiming high MPG equivalent on an electric vehicle, it’s an attempt at comparing that is actually pretty meaningless to the ones involved.

  5. The question isn’t “Why is Apple making a gold watch?” That one is easy to answer, and many have. The question is “Why is the only gold entry point $10k+ for a gold watch?” I haven’t worn a watch in years, but when I did, I had a nice “dress” watch that was gold and had a little diamond chip in it – nowhere close to $10k. I would buy a gold Apple Watch for a more reasonable price.

        1. I’m just pointing out that less gold would actually be used in the 18k Apple Watch than if Apple had gone with a more traditional 18k alloy. Thus the portion of the cost of materials attributed to gold is reduced increasing the margins.

  6. The gold watch is really not aimed at the US market. Their true target is the China market where the new rich like to flaunt their wealth.

    The gold watch is tacky as hell and Jobs would not approve of it, but he’s gone now and Apple has to do whatever it can to maintain their growth so that’s why their products are getting more and more Liberace by the day.

    Gold laptop? How tacky and ugly can you get. Don’t forget to glue diamonds on the surface of the laptop. Maybe Ives already made a sample to show Cook.

  7. There’s another angle people need to consider in all this.

    Apple Pay.

    There are some people, rich people, who simply won’t wear a watch that doesn’t cost over $10,000. They have the money and they like to show off. Whatever you may think about those people, they have a lot of money to spend not only for watches, but everywhere. They will like the connivence of Apple Pay, and an opportunity to show off. This motivates more stores to offer Apple Pay if rich people with Apple Edition Watches are wandering around.

    In fact, it would be dangerous for Apple not to service these kinds of customers. Because if they don’t, someone else might. If Google teamed up with a high end watchmaker to offer their own versions of a watch/credit card Apple would have to rush to catch up.

    It’s a brilliant move for Apple all the way around. They are always ahead of the game.

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