One of the biggest questions surrounding the Apple Watch, and coincidentally one of the things that might separate the Apple Watch from traditional watches, surrounds value retention. How much money will the $350 Sport model be worth a year from now? The stainless steel model? And what about that $17,000 Apple Watch Edition — will it hold its value down the road or depreciate rapidly?
There are plenty of good reasons to skip the Apple Watch at launch (and some awful reasons to skip it), but this is certainly one of the biggest. Beginning soon, however, you’ll be able to obtain an Apple Watch without actually having to purchase one.
Apple Watch Lease is a new company that will do exactly what its name suggests: it will lease Apple Watches. So, in theory, you’ll be able to make monthly payments on a Watch for a short lease period — the company’s founder discussed 10-month lease terms with CNNMoney — and save plenty of money compared to purchasing one.
Why? The company’s founder Zak Kidd believes the Apple Watch will not retain its value well at all, so purchasing one is a bad idea.
There are a few issues with Kidd’s model. First, he has no choice but to start off very, very small. Kidd says he has so far managed to order “more than a dozen” 42mm Apple Watch Sport models. Since the Watch will be in short supply for the foreseeable future, it will be some time before Apple Watch Lease can scale.
Also, if the company ends up going anywhere, it will obviously have to change its name; there’s no way Apple’s legal team will let a company operate with “Apple Watch” in its name.
Another big issue is pricing. Kidd says he ultimately would like to offer terms along the lines of a down payment and $15 a month for 10 months for the $349 Sport model, for example, once the business gets off the ground. Initially though, Kidd said that early lease rate costs will be “most likely less than $50” per month. That’s a steep price for the 42mm Sport models he has managed to secure at this point.
It also remains unclear what lease-end buyout options will look like. What if you love your Apple Watch and want to keep it? What kind of premium over the standard purchase price are we looking at? Will there be enough of a benefit compared to, say, purchasing the Apple Watch on a credit card and making monthly payments over an extended period of time?
A link to the Apple Watch Lease website follows below in our source section.