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Apple Watch ‘flop’ outsold Rolex by about $1.5 billion

Updated Jan 22nd, 2018 9:39AM EST
Apple Watch Sales

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The Apple Watch is a miserable failure… or something like that.

On Monday we discussed how a number of high-profile industry watchers have labeled Apple’s first foray into fashion and wearable tech a flop. For whatever reason, nothing Apple does is a success in some people’s eyes unless it instantly becomes a business as big as the iPhone. Of course, we also noted the obvious fact that not even the iPhone was as big as the iPhone when it first launched. Actually, the Apple Watch is believed to have doubled Apple’s iPhone revenue during their respective first years of availability.

Well, here’s another simple comparison for you to help gauge just how badly the Apple Watch flopped: According to estimates, Apple Watch sales in its first 12 months totaled about $1.5 billion more than Rolex’s total revenue last year.

Google Ventures general partner M.G. Siegler tweeted a link on Monday to the same Wall Street Journal article we discussed yesterday. In it, the Journal noted that estimates peg Apple’s Watch revenue during the device’s first year of availability at $6 billion. We used Apple’s original iPhone launch in 2007 as a frame of reference to put that $6 billion figure in perspective, since it was double the sales Apple enjoyed during the iPhone’s first year on the market.

Well, there’s another frame of reference we would now like to draw your attention to.

In response to Siegler’s tweet, Twitter user @heyyoudvd pointed out a great little stat that really paints a picture of the state of watches right now. In 2015, Rolex’s combined revenue totaled $4.5 billion. That’s down a good deal from years past, but the watch market has been in decline for some time now. All in all, it wasn’t a terrible year for Rolex.

Meanwhile, Apple Watch revenue totaled $6 billion in its first 12 months of availability.

So, just to reiterate one last time and let it really sink in, Apple Watch sales totaled about $6 billion in its first year of existence. Meanwhile, the world’s foremost luxury watch brand did $4.5 billion in sales across its entire product portfolio last year. In fact, the combined sales of all top Swiss watch makers totaled roughly $20 billion in 2015, so Apple is nearly one-third of the way there after just one year.

Quite a flop, indeed.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.