When you try to break into Swiss watch territory, you’d better arm yourself with exquisite hand-craftsmanship, sapphire-dotted dials, and preferably, a family tradition of watchmaking dating back a few centuries or so. When Apple launched their first generation of luxury Apple watches, they didn’t care to tick any of the high-standard features off the list.
Instead, they innovated. After all, Apple masters tracing new coordinates on the maps of technological progress. Their new 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition made a pretty big splash, at least for a while. But the ripples run short. Almost two years in the future, the company has decided to cancel their smartwatch’s luxury versions.
The Gold Apple Watches – Was Time on Its Side?
The original Apple Watch launched in early 2015. The company couldn’t resist the temptation of having a swing at the high-end of luxury watchmaking. They concentrated all their advertising efforts on promoting the top-tier version of the line – the gold Edition.
Beyonce and Karl Lagerfeld were brought in on the marketing stage to sport the Apple watches and lend an air of elegant exclusivity to the minimalistic design. Moreover, Apple chose to deliver its first ads not through a tech-oriented press medium like Wired. Instead, it enlisted the ad pages of lifestyle magazine Vogue.
Starting at $10,000 and hitting the peak at $18,000, the square-shaped, futuristic-styled Apple Watch was reported at first as a success.
It seemed to adorn the wrists of well-heeled shoppers better than the reputed heritage lines of Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Tag Heuer. Analytics firm NetBase reported at some point that the Apple Watch topped the Rolex Perpetual Oyster on social media platforms.
Apple Had a Dream. The Dream Is Over
Tweets and Facebook posts might have shunned the traditional luxury watches in favor of the newest player on the market, the gold-encased Apple. However, the frenzy was short-lived and limited the online world.
Otherwise, why would the company dismiss the high-end version from its smartwatch line? The gold edition is no longer available on Apple’s website. Purchases remained at the low end of expectations. Obviously, picky watch shoppers were not convinced to stretch their dollars to a five-digit figure.
Anyone who’s on the market for a top-tier timepiece is looking for a few features Apple could not provide, given their gadgets’ tendency to quickly turn out-of-date. The price tag should not last longer than the watch, for one.
In addition, a brand like Rolex offers statement handcrafted devices. Measuring time accurately is, of course, the main purpose of a wristwatch. But both longevity and legacy are valued on the luxury market.
The Swiss Against the Apple
With the gold model buried and forgotten, Apple recently announced two newcomers on their watch line. A second generation smartwatch and an updated ceramic version of the original Apple Watch. The latter sells for a fraction of the price of the luxury version.
In the end, fighting time-honored Swiss titans of the luxury watchmaking trade could have cost the high-tech company more than a chip in its dignity armor. Plus, it takes more than a square design to convince hard-to-please lux customers to ditch an heirloom of the past for the Apple Watches of the future.