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Apple Watch Edition price to start at $5,000?

Posted: , by Victor H.

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Apple Watch Edition price to start at $5,000?

The Apple Watch broke cover last week when Apple unveiled it at a huge event at the Flint Center in Cupertino, the home of historic Apple events including the iMac announcement. Just like with most other new categories, Apple announced the Watch, its first foray into wearable, ‘truly personal’ devices, months before the actual timepiece becomes available in the beginning of 2015.

However, while we did know the release date and price tiers for new categories like the Apple iPad right on the announcement date, the Apple Watch is a decidedly more mysterious product. It’s got no specific release date, no price point for all the models (except for the $349 starting price), it’s got no battery life estimate and Apple seems to have not even spoken about all of its features. It’s a work in progress.

However, just looking at the materials that it is made from, one can arrive at some shocking revelations. Long-time Apple analyst John Gruber has done just that, and his estimates arrive at what might seem as just crazy prices. Here are Gruber’s estimates for Apple Watch prices, per model:

  • Apple Watch Sport with aluminum/glass: $349
  • Apple Watch with stainless steel/sapphire: $999
  • Apple Watch Edition with 18-karat gold/sapphire: $4,999

Yes, you read this right - the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition is expected to run at a whopping $4,999. And that seems to be the lowest possible price, according to Gruber. This might seem like a plain ludicrous decision by Apple - after all, the company is known for making affordable luxury devices, and it certainly does not seem like it is aiming to become a new Vertu anytime soon. So what would justify this price?

Apple Watch Edition is not “gold-colored” - it’s a solid gold piece

Turns out, it’s the materials. The Apple Watch Edition is not “gold-styled”, nor is it “gold-colored” - no, it’s a solid gold piece. Bloggers at the event have confirmed that the Watch Edition on display there is heavier than the stainless steel version (which in turn is heavier than the aluminum version). The sheer cost of the materials for the timepiece could actually exceed a couple of thousands of dollars, and that seems to not even include the exquisite bands.

Gruber’s estimates are that the absolute minimum price for the Apple Watch Edition should be around $1,999, but he’s made a friendly bet about the price actually reaching $9,999. It’s that expensive for a reason.

Apple Watch Edition price to start at $5,000?
Interestingly, Apple has not even once mentioned the word smartwatch during its presentation, nor does it mention it on its website. This is a very clear indication that it does not see the Apple Watch at all competing with Android Wear smartwatches, at least those more expensive luxury models, but rather - with traditional luxury smartwatches. And if you look at gold timepieces from traditional watch makers like Rolex, you’d notice another interesting fact: the price of the Apple Watch seems low compared to those. An 18-karat gold Rolex Submariner Date would run at $34,250, and white gold comes in at $36,850. Even a replacement stainless steel band for the Submariner costs around $2,500, and a gold replacement clocks in at $9,000. The prices are comparable all around luxury watch makers.

Look at it from this side, and the Apple Watch would seem like it’s democratizing luxury, just like it did with the iPhone. However, there are still many open questions about that upcoming device: while other traditional watches often remain a family relic for decades, won’t the Apple Watch lose value once the technology inside it (inevitably) becomes outdated? And how will Apple sell it in its perpetually busy and noisy stores (not the type of environment you buy a $10,000 gadget in)? And will it nail the battery life? Gruber suggests that the Apple Watch might come with replacement silicon that would keep it up to date, but there are just too many unknowns at this point in time. Just don’t be surprise if you see that thousands of dollar price for the Apple Watch when it launches.


source: Daring Fireball

49 Comments
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posted on 17 Sep 2014, 04:16 20

1. ThePython (Posts: 879; Member since: 08 May 2013)


It's understandable, being solid gold and all... still, that's way too expensive for a thing that will only help you catch up with your phone.

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 04:18 1

2. sniperdroid (Posts: 146; Member since: 23 May 2013)


Thinking the same exact thing. But this what we expected from Apple and sure enough they'll be sold out in a few weeks/days.

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 06:29 6

22. sgodsell (Posts: 3351; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)


As if they will be sold out of the $5000 Apple Watches. Please its not like you are going to have lineups for this $5000 smart watch.

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 07:48 7

31. reckless562 (banned) (Posts: 1153; Member since: 09 Sep 2013)


wheres Dark jeddii ???

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 09:08

38. Gdrye (Posts: 110; Member since: 02 Jan 2012)


almost every celebrity uses an iphone, even the ones that samsung pays to use their phone, their personal phone is still an iphone, just look at what happened at the oscars last year, yeah, samsung got an epic selfie out of it, but in the back room Ellen was tweeting from an iPhone, trust me, that watch is made for them, and they will buy it just lke they do the phones. My question is, how will this pay out for replacements, will these be on yearly cycles? of so...damn

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 07:40 1

26. reckless562 (banned) (Posts: 1153; Member since: 09 Sep 2013)


$10,000 paper weight

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 05:06 10

12. slh163 (Posts: 138; Member since: 19 May 2014)


i never seen an aluminum watch!! thats a very bad and weak material for a watch. aluminium is very easy to scratch or to bend. and you cant put a case on it like phones!
the 249$ moto 360 is made with stainless steel, and this 349$ watch made just with a cheap aluminium!!. seriously who's the idiot that going to by this

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 07:41 5

27. reckless562 (banned) (Posts: 1153; Member since: 09 Sep 2013)


lmao!!! A Tin Foil Watch!!!

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 05:18 7

13. vincelongman (Posts: 4164; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)


Also what about the stainless steel/sapphire being $999?
The 360 and many other ~$200-300 smartwatches are also stainless steel
Sure they don't have sapphire, but that's only an extra ~$10

I excepted the steel/sapphire model to be ~$400-500
$1000 is far to much IMO

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 05:34 6

17. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)


It's called the Apple tax. The tax they charge to to restrict the software so much that it performs well on 1gb of ram, small battery, and dual core. The tax that allows them to replace your product no questions ask because they already charged you for the price of 5 or more of that product.

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 04:20 1

3. promise7 (Posts: 871; Member since: 03 Jul 2013)


Are they positive it's solid gold? I was under the impression it was real gold, but coated over metal, and not solid.

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 05:29 2

16. vincelongman (Posts: 4164; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)


Yes, now it scratches even easier

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 07:42

28. reckless562 (banned) (Posts: 1153; Member since: 09 Sep 2013)


THANK YOU

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 05:56 1

19. ardent1 (Posts: 2000; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)


promise7: do you understand it's 18 carat gold, and 18 carat gold is not 100% gold?

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 12:28

46. VZWuser76 (Posts: 3918; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)


No one said it's 100% gold. Solid gold simply means it's not gold plated or anodized, but rather 18 carat gold throughout. They poured 18 carat gold into the mold rather than steel or aluminum, and no plating or anodizing is necessary. The term solid gold doesn't necessarily refer to the quality or purity of the gold.

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 07:44

29. reckless562 (banned) (Posts: 1153; Member since: 09 Sep 2013)


on Ebay, ill make u a "deal" on one of those gold apple watches. :-D

when it comes, ull find its just gold plated w/ lead inside the case to make up the weight difference!!! HAHAHAHAHa!!!!

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 04:24 25

4. nlbates66 (Posts: 328; Member since: 15 Aug 2012)


"the company is known for making affordable luxury devices,"

WTF did I just read PA?

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 04:50 9

10. draconic1991 (Posts: 195; Member since: 27 Apr 2012)


I think pa is paying the author a little too much if he thinks apple makes "affordable luxury devices"

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 05:05 3

11. eggimage (Posts: 79; Member since: 19 Jan 2012)


I don't see how that's wrong. Apple products are relatively pricier but do come with higher materials and build quality, thus are considered luxury level, as opposed to average mid range pricing. But while they are higher priced, they are not too far beyond the affordable range. A high end phone is usually priced between $500-800. And that's the range apple's iPhones fall into, except certain higher configurations that will go somewhat beyond it. Therefore they are still affordable. It's not like they are over 200% the prices of the other high end smartphones.

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 05:58 7

20. maherk (Posts: 3491; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


What higher material are you talking about? The easily scuffed/scratched/dented iP5 and iP5s? Or the easily broken glass back found on the iP4 and iP4s? Or the easily scratched plastic back found on the iP3G and iP3Gs?

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 09:10 4

39. Gdrye (Posts: 110; Member since: 02 Jan 2012)


yeah your talking about an apple watch that cost more than the Mac pro line of computers...i see sometihing wrong wit that

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 06:50 13

24. willard12 (Posts: 1560; Member since: 04 Jul 2012)


Apparently, 42% of US smartphone owners are carrying a luxury device. I heard aluminum was premium, I guess it is now luxurious. Now, if you will excuse me, I'm going to the vending machine to get a luxury cola.

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 07:45 4

30. reckless562 (banned) (Posts: 1153; Member since: 09 Sep 2013)


lols!!!!

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 09:14

40. slh163 (Posts: 138; Member since: 19 May 2014)


i didn't know that me too have a luxurious fully aluminium ladder that i sue for my garden works. LOL .XD

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 11:08

43. InspectorGadget80 (unregistered)


Exactly. 8-)

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 04:25 4

5. NokiaFTW (Posts: 2071; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)


Apple strikes again!

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 04:28 4

6. zibbyzib2000 (Posts: 221; Member since: 18 Nov 2010)


I know swear words are not allowed on here but... Holy S h i t !!!

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 11:19

45. Reluctant_Human (Posts: 885; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)


An obvious exception should be made here.

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 04:29

7. willytbk (Posts: 219; Member since: 15 Aug 2012)


the Gold one is.....EXPENSIVE -_-'

let's just focus on getting the iPhone 6 then :p

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 04:31 6

8. tech2 (Posts: 3397; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)


That just looks unnecessarily gawdy and ostentatious. Its a bit too over the top for me.

Their phone with gold color is passable but this is an eye sore.

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 11:09

44. InspectorGadget80 (unregistered)


Dont worry bout dark he will even buy a 10,000$ paper weight iWatch

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 04:32 5

9. CharlieSmile (Posts: 4; Member since: 16 Sep 2014)


Hublot,Rolex,AP,Omega.. These over any Apple watch.

Apple are banking on their following to buy the watches. Tick -Tock

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 08:14 1

33. MikeG77 (Posts: 401; Member since: 24 Nov 2008)


I agree with on most of your choices of watch brands but i would get rid of Hublot and go with a Patek or Jaeger LeCoultre. Anyone who is into Horology would not be buying the Apple watch and i think most consumers will not be buying anything higher than the Sport model.

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 05:23

14. CX3NT3_713 (Posts: 2259; Member since: 18 Apr 2011)


LMAO, while (smh)

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 05:25

15. ishan.heru (Posts: 69; Member since: 31 Aug 2014)


5000$ that's it. Apple you are SO CHEAP NOWADAYS !! :)

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 05:53 3

18. Gadgety (Posts: 169; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)


First, it's a mistake to price it at $4.999 to make it look cheaper (that's what that 9.99 is all about), if you want to signal its value. Better price it a flat $5.000. This makes me think this is just some hype effort.

Second, you get a $349 watch for $4.999.

Third, the added value is gold and sapphire. Sapphire glass is not that expensive. Gold is currently priced at $1.200 an ounce. The maximum amount of gold you'll find in that watch will be less than an ounce. So the difference, between $4.999 minus ($1.200+$349) and is $3.450. Minus the value for the sapphire glass, say, 25 dollars, $3.425. $3.425 is the Veblen goods added value for exclusivity.

How long before we see third party gold plating?

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 06:03 2

21. Gadgety (Posts: 169; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)


I have to add, the Apple Watch does look best in solid rose tinted gold. It enhances its dumpy, squat looks.

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 06:35 3

23. D.Lamore (Posts: 198; Member since: 15 Aug 2014)


Even if its fake gold ifans will still buy it, apples system of mind control is more than what we assume . Their sh€€ps are best followers

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 06:52 4

25. shikroi (Posts: 187; Member since: 24 Sep 2012)


If I am spending over $1000.00 on a watch, its not going to be on a watch that is essentially made by machines in a factory and uses batteries to function. What people don't get is that the reason why rolexes, jaegers and audemars cost so much, is not due to the brand name or the materials used (most watches are made from stainless steel). These watches are purely mechanical. Meaning they have no circuit board, but rather a lot of tiny gears, springs and screws that are put together in such a way, that once wound up, the watch tells the time.

Most luxury watches are painstakingly put together by horologists, and one watch often takes months to years to make. Every additional function, such as a date, chronograph, moon phase calender, tourbillon, etc; adds another mass of gears, springs and screws to the watch, which increases the overall complication of the piece, as well as the skill an time required to make it. Cheaper watches that you see are quartz watches, which can be made by machines and use a circuit board with a quartz crystal that holds a charge. When you buy a $1000.00 plus watch, you are paying for the time, energy, skill and mastery of mechanical engineering, required to make it.

With an iwatch, there is no skill, time, energy or horological prowess required to make one. All that's needed are some codes, a couple robots, and a few watches can be completed in a day. Adding a stainless steel case, or a fancy rose gold case should max this out at $1000.00. Anything over that is just apple showing its pretentiousness.

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 08:42 1

35. ManusImperceptus (Posts: 724; Member since: 10 Jun 2014)


What's more, a traditional watch will serve you for decades, perhaps even a lifetime. A smartwatch is likely outdated in two years, about the same time it takes to break down it's computing components...

A two-year watch CANNOT compete with a two-decade + watch on a level field; it shouldn't even try!

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 08:43

36. serrano989 (Posts: 39; Member since: 02 Apr 2012)


"With an iwatch, there is no skill, time, energy" Don't be silly, the apple watch definitely took skill, time, and energy. It didn't create it self. The battery life is the main reason i'd never buy a smart watch.

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 19:23

48. shikroi (Posts: 187; Member since: 24 Sep 2012)


When you understand the process involved in making a mechanical watch, you will understand what I mean.

posted on 18 Sep 2014, 02:54

49. RoboBonobo (Posts: 61; Member since: 13 Sep 2013)


Because companies always charge the same price as what it costs to make the item. That's how this works?

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 08:00

32. Bozzor (Posts: 170; Member since: 02 May 2012)


I am involved with high end watches, and I can tell you to forget any notions you have about value when it comes to this business. By this, I mean that a stainless steel Citizen or Seiko will tell the time far more accurately than a stainless steel Rolex, be more reliable in harsher conditions and have a lot more functionality...along with costing around 5-10% of the Rolex. Normally - or as normal as you can get in this world - expensive watches tend to be mechanical (no battery) and their price is affected by the materials used, the complication of the mechanism, the prestige/history of the brand and the desirability (rarity?) of the model. This gold Apple watch will be very disruptive if people suddenly decide that the combination of functionality and prestige of a solid gold Apple product make it more desirable than a fine Swiss watch - I rate the chances of that as very, very low, but no impossible. What is perhaps a slightly more likely prospect is people wearing a traditional watch on one wrist and the Apple Watch on another....

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 08:27

34. Metalspy8 (Posts: 61; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)


PHONEARENA POSTED THE IPHONE 6 AND 6PLUS REVIEW ON YOUTUBE.???

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 09:07

37. serrano989 (Posts: 39; Member since: 02 Apr 2012)


I expected $1500 to $2000 with gold not being cheap (i think its at $1400 an oz), but $5000 seems pretty marked up. Who do they think they are Patek Philippe lol?

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 09:51

41. MrDropgift (Posts: 7; Member since: 17 Sep 2014)


Why would someone pay 1000 to 5000 for a watch who's technology will be outdated when the next version comes out the following year. It's not like you are going to melt the gold to get your cash back....
I understand if the bands where solid gold or from some popular brand name.
I guess if they trade it in they don't lose as much for the upgrade. But personally I rather just by the entry model and not sweat the premium prices and by beautiful bands.
Guess I'm just a poor person.

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 10:15

42. magnum44 (unregistered)


An Apple watch for $5000?! a 4k video app for $1000!?

I suggest you buy a 904L steel Submariner Rolex plus a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 camera and keep the change.

posted on 17 Sep 2014, 12:34

47. a_merryman (Posts: 749; Member since: 14 Dec 2011)


There is no reason for the Sport and regular edition to cost that much. This is a piece of technology and will become obsolete in a year, and the battery will stop working in 2 or 3. And you can get watches that come in stainless steel and sapphire glass for much cheaper than $1000. The watch edition pricing seems fair considering it is made from 18k gold, but still...it is a piece of technology, maybe if it was also a mechanical watch it would be worth buying at that price.

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