I’ve been trying to figure out exactly why I think it’s so ridiculous for Apple to charge $10,000 for an 18k gold Apple Watch. I have nothing against people buying high-end luxury items that most of us mere mortals can’t afford. I also don’t so much mind that Apple is charging so much money for a device whose software will be obsolete in a few years because at least the device’s battery is replaceable and you can keep using it as a regular watch, if nothing else. No, I think the biggest reason I think charging $10,000 for the 18k gold Apple Watch is that the device is just not attractive enough to justify that high price.
I understand this is entirely a matter of taste. Some people might look at the Apple Watch and see a masterwork of elegant craftsmanship. But that’s not what I see.
When I look at the watch, I see a bulky, boxy device that has a rather unsightly bump on the bottom where its core sensors are located. I don’t think the device is ugly, mind you, I just don’t think it’s nearly attractive enough to be considered a luxury good by any means. As one fashion expert recently put it, “It’s just not pretty.”
(For what it’s worth, I feel this way about all smartwatches right now. I remember being super-excited for the Moto 360… until I saw how thick it was and I realized that wearing one made you look like you had an old-timey compass strapped to your wrist. And let’s not even get into some of the watches that Samsung has churned out. Shudder.)
I have no doubt that Apple will sell a bunch of gold Apple Watches and that it will make the company yet another small fortune. And as Benedict Evans writes, the gold Apple Watch could be part of a long-term strategy for Apple to brand itself as less of a pure tech company and more a company that sells products based on “delight and experience.”
I also have no doubt that Apple Watches are going to get thinner and more attractive in the coming years so they won’t look like computers on your wrist but more like wristwatches that simply happen to function as computers.
But just for my personal tastes, I look at the first-gen Apple Watch and say, “You want $10,000 for something that looks like that?”