This past March 9, the Internet was ablaze with Apple’s new announcements; among them were the new Macbook and more importantly (for me), the Apple Watch. As a watch nerd, I frequently read different watch articles and get daily updates. Facebook and other social media versions of popular watch websites were buzzing about the new Apple Watch and its Edition model that will retail 10,000 US Dollars. Yes, you read that correctly: 10,000 bucks. According to reports, the most expensive version will even be priced at 17,000 dollars. After reading up on the Apple Watch, I started to wonder, is the Edition really worth Ten Grand? After all, it wouldn’t be the first time that Apple sold something with an insane price tag, and more importantly it definitely wouldn’t be the first time that their insanely priced products sold like crazy. With this I thought it might be a good time to write something about the value of the Apple Watch as contrasted with the more traditional watches out there.
For all intents and purposes, let’s assume that Apple has once again delivered a spectacular product, which it probably did. I definitely think the basic models of the watch will sell really well. The basic models retail from 349 to 1,099 dollars. In fact, I think the Apple Watch 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 will sell extremely well as well in the future. Therein lies the problem with the 10,000-dollar Edition; what happens to what you bought when a new one comes along? Is the gold or rose gold case really enough to justify the price tag? I think Apple knows the answer to this question; and that’s why they made the release of the Apple Watch just ahead of Baselworld 2015 (Baselworld is an annual event in Switzerland where new models of the major watch brands are unveiled).
For the sake of comparison, what Swiss watch can ten grand buy you? From Rolex, you can get the basic 4,000 feet Sea-Dweller, which is a step up from a normal Submariner. With that amount of money, you can buy a Panerai Radiomir Black Seal 380 for yourself AND a Cartier Tank Francaise Automatic for your lady. Instead of forking out 17,000 dollars for the most expensive Edition, most would agree that the most basic Patek Philippe Yellow Gold Calatrava would be a better choice.
The Apple Watch is undoubtedly a piece of wearable technology. It’s probably the top smart watch in the electronics market today. The logic would be that you would want the latest and best with everything that you own. However, this doesn’t seem to hold true with respect to watches. There are watches such as the “Paul Newman” Rolex Daytona that is worth at least 100 times more than what they sold for back in 1969. If you wanted the latest, most reliable movement in your watch, you’d be wearing an Omega with co-axial escapement, a practically error-free movement. However, the most valued Omega is the “Moonwatch” Speedmaster, which housed a manual reference 1863 movement. Latest isn’t best when it comes to watches; in fact, an argument can be made for the opposite when ascertaining its value.
Without a doubt, gold, platinum and to a lesser degree, titanium, add value to a timepiece. It does not, however, make the timepiece. Take for example a stainless steel Jaeger LeCoultre (JLC) Master Eight Days Perpetual Calendar, which retails for 25,000 dollars. Why would it cost that much when a yellow gold Rolex Day-Date (considered one of the top-of-the-line models of Rolex) can be had at the same price? Sometimes it’s because of the function. A perpetual calendar can tell the time, the day, the date, the month, the year and even leap years. Then again, just the brand and the prestige might be enough to make a watch worth what it is despite it being made of just stainless steel and having a simple date and time. Case in point is the Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711. It tells the time and date like most watches, it’s made of stainless steel and retails 26,700 dollars. I think I can tell you with confidence, it’s worth every penny.
I’ve spoken to at least a dozen men that can recall fondly when and where their grandfather or father gave them his watch. It didn’t have to be the most expensive or even the nicest watch they had, but the sentimental value the watch carried with it could not be matched. The fact that it meant something to your father and he gave it to you means so much. It’s one of those immeasurable things in life. Could the Apple Watch be an heirloom someday? Probably. However, somehow the appeal of it all seems lessened. Maybe it’s just me, but the fact that it’s electronic might have ruined it. I would have to say that something that becomes obsolete over time might not be a good piece to give as an heirloom. Just imagine your descendant, 100 years from now, showing what you gave him to his friends. “My great grandfather left me a ______.” Fill in the blank, what would you want that to be? Exactly my point.
Should I Buy
I’m not saying not to buy an Apple Watch. By all means, buy one if you want one. I just hope you buy the 300 to 1099 dollar model and not the 10,000 to 17,000 dollar one. Unless of course you’re an Arabian Sheikh who has a gold Lamborghini, a diamond encrusted iPhone 6 and a pet White Lion. However, even with all their money, I bet even those guys would rather buy an Audemars Piguet instead. If you have the ten or more grand to spend on a watch, please buy a good Swiss (or German) watch instead, and I’m sure that your great, great, great grandson will be very grateful.