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?

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.

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.

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49 Comments

1. ThePython

Posts: 902; Member since: May 08, 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.

2. sniperdroid

Posts: 146; Member since: May 23, 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.

22. sgodsell

Posts: 7207; Member since: Mar 16, 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.

31. reckless562

Posts: 1153; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

wheres Dark jeddii ???

38. Gdrye

Posts: 111; Member since: Jan 02, 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

26. reckless562

Posts: 1153; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

$10,000 paper weight

12. slh163

Posts: 140; Member since: May 19, 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

27. reckless562

Posts: 1153; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

lmao!!! A Tin Foil Watch!!!

13. vincelongman

Posts: 5677; Member since: Feb 10, 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

17. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 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.

3. promise7

Posts: 894; Member since: Jul 03, 2013

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

16. vincelongman

Posts: 5677; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Yes, now it scratches even easier

28. reckless562

Posts: 1153; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

THANK YOU

19. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 2011

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

46. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 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.

29. reckless562

Posts: 1153; Member since: Sep 09, 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!!!!

4. nlbates66

Posts: 328; Member since: Aug 15, 2012

"the company is known for making affordable luxury devices," WTF did I just read PA?

10. draconic1991

Posts: 200; Member since: Apr 27, 2012

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

11. eggimage

Posts: 83; Member since: Jan 19, 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.

20. maherk

Posts: 6770; Member since: Feb 10, 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?

39. Gdrye

Posts: 111; Member since: Jan 02, 2012

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

24. willard12 unregistered

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.

30. reckless562

Posts: 1153; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

lols!!!!

40. slh163

Posts: 140; Member since: May 19, 2014

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

43. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

Exactly. 8-)

5. NokiaFTW

Posts: 2072; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

Apple strikes again!

6. zibbyzib2000

Posts: 221; Member since: Nov 18, 2010

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

45. Reluctant_Human

Posts: 913; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

An obvious exception should be made here.

7. willytbk

Posts: 252; Member since: Aug 15, 2012

the Gold one is.....EXPENSIVE -_-' let's just focus on getting the iPhone 6 then :p

8. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 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.

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