Apple set out to change horology as we know it
The basic version, dubbed Sport features an aluminium case with hardened glass covering the screen, starting at $349 for the 38mm and $399 for the 42mm versions. The 'regular' Apple Watch upgrades the exterior to stainless steel and features a sapphire crystal screen, while bumping the price up to $549 and $599. Finally, at the far end of the spectrum, we have the so-called Apple Watch Edition, which is made entirely of 18k gold (except for the sapphire crystal screen of course) and starts at a whopping $10,000.
While Apple's products command high prices because of their quality and their certain allure, the Edition marks Apple's first foray into the luxury world, and they couldn't have picked a tougher market. Haute horology is defined by long-standing brands, classic designs and unmatched craftsmanship. A prestigious Rolex will set you back at least $5,000, and certain timepieces from the likes of Panerai or Patek Philippe can easily cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. These watches all share the common traits of having an entirely mechanical movement, and being made in Switzerland by experienced horologists with a keen eye for detail and perfection. The Apple Watch Edition on the other hand is made in China by machines. Paying for a Panerai or a Patek means paying for the expertise and time of a human being. Paying $10,000 for an Apple Watch Edition means paying Apple's excessive markup for a few grams of 18k gold.
When Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007, it quickly established itself as the premier smartphone experience. It has managed to hold on to this title for almost a decade now, with fierce competition. This combined with Apple's genius marketing accounts for the exceptional selling power of the device. The fact, that it's perceived as a leader in its class made it a must-have for many. The basic variants of the Apple Watch have the chance to do something similar with smartwatches. With the company's prestige and reach, the Apple Watch can easily become the industry standard, the piece of wearable tech that all pieces of forthcoming wearable tech are judged upon.
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