“Apple Inc. is embracing a luxury name with its new $1,500 smartwatch with French fashion house Hermès. But Apple design chief Jonathan Ive resists the notion that Apple is becoming exclusive, a defining characteristic of luxury goods,” Christina Passariello reports for The Wall Street Journal. “‘We don’t think in those terms,’ Mr. Ive said in an interview Wednesday, after the Apple Watch Hermès was unveiled. ‘I’m not comfortable with words like exclusive.'”
“For Apple’s first tie-up with a luxury-goods brand, Mr. Ive went for the crème de la crème. Hermès International SCA, whose customers wait months to buy five-figure Kelly bags, is the most elite of the major luxury-goods houses,” Passariello reports. “Mr. Ive and Hermès artistic director Pierre-Alexis Dumas explained how the watch came to be in a joint interview after the event.”
“To make Apple Watch Hermès, Apple had to break some traditions. Mr. Ive approached Hermès about collaborating on a watch last year, before Apple had announced its first wearable device. ‘It’s something highly unusual for Apple to do—to talk about an unannounced project,’ said Mr. Ive, 48 years old. They decided to partner over lunch in Paris, where Hermès is based, last October,” Passariello reports. “To display the time, Apple adapted three fonts Hermès has long used in its watches. When the watch face displays the Hermès user interface, neither the Apple name nor logo is visible. Allowing Hermès’ symbols to upstage Apple’s is a first, Mr. Ive said. ‘I’ve been at Apple 23 years and this is conspicuous and singular. I’ve never known anything like this,’ he said.”
“The new watch isn’t Apple’s or Hermès’ most expensive watch. Hermès watches with quartz movements sell for more than twice as much. Apple offers two versions of its gold-encased Edition model for $17,000,” Passariello reports. “The Apple Watch Hermès ‘attracts consumer interest, and provides a ‘cool’ spin on what was so far a ‘geek’ product,’ says Exane BNP Paribas analyst Luca Solca.”
MacDailyNews Take: Blah, blah, blah, Luca; bland nothingness with no basis in the facts, given the existence of the much more expensive and exclusive Apple Watch Edition line from the get go. If you’re going to give a boring statement, at least make it factual.
Passariello reports, “Hermès, too, has something to gain from working with Apple: proving that its 178-year-old brand can be contemporary… ‘We are a new tradition and an age-old tradition, and we meet at the center of the arch,’ said Mr. Dumas, 49.”
Read more in the full article, including what was done to get the Double Tour band to work properly with Apple Watch Hermès, here.
MacDailyNews Take: The Apple Watch Hermès collection is absolutely stunning and, regardless of what Jony says, emanates a healthy measure of exclusivity – which isn’t a bad thing at all.
Apple and Hermès collaborate on luxurious Apple Watch Hermès collection – September 10, 2015
Apple and Hermès unveil the Apple Watch Hermès collection – September 9, 2015