back to article Apple's strap-on will set you back just '$5,000' – what a BARGAIN!

When Apple unveiled its vaporware wrist-tablet Watch, fanbois braced themselves for a bit of sticker shock. The starting price for the smartwatch will be $350, which will get you a "sport" model with a rubber strap and an aluminum case. But Apple CEO Tim Cook promised his faithful that more reassuringly expensive models will …

Pint

I would say "Fools and their money...", but each to their own. I've spent tens of thousands on photographic kit for nothing more than just a hobby or "A bit of a laugh to keep me off the streets!" as I often put it, so I've no grounds to mock the trinket buyers. We all get our jollies wherever we feel we need to.

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If you are spending that much on a watch, you expect it to last 20 years +...

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Only 20 years? According to those Pathetique Phillipe ads you alwasy see in the Economist, you don't buy a watch for yourself, you look after it for your children. Although it doesn't say if you can break it in half to share between two...

Obviously one should really have inherited one from ones father. Surely there can't be that many loathsome prolls whose parents failed to give them the proper start in life with the inheritence of a multi-thousand pound watch. Then again, you'd really need parents considerate enough to die around your 18th birthday, as it's going to be awkward to insist your father's around to tell you the time until he dies when you're in your 60s.

You know, I'm not sure they've thought this through...

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Anonymous Coward

What they also do not tell you about expensive watches is that quartz ones will usually require the battery changing at a cost of £70-150 every ~2 years or for the self-winders they will usually recommend a service every 3-5 years costing £200-350ish.

Now my Omega chrono was not serviced for about 5-6 years but by that time it was certainly not as accurate. So yes these watches may last but they are not necessarily any cheaper to own even compared to an iWatch you replace every 2-3-4+ years.

But saying you would only keep the Apple watch 2 years is probably worst case - most iPhone buyers are much more likely to buy a new iPhone next time and even keep the same one well beyond the standard contract.

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Anonymous Coward

20 years for a watch costing from about £200-250... of course someone will chime in that they have had the same Timex since they were a kit and it's all they need - but very little like this lasts 20 years of daily use. Even Rolex, Patek and other high end watches typically need servicing which greatly increases their total cost over 20 years.

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Anonymous Coward

Some may want their parents old watch as 'retro' or for another more sentimental reason - but chances are they will want a smart watch in 15-20 years time.

Guess my kids may want my vinyl record collection - but doubt it...

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Chisel, hammer - half each.

Simples.

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Look, for a watch anything over about $20-$30 is generally jewelry anyway. It used to be that you had to pay big bux for an accurate watch, whereas nowdays accuracy can be had on the cheap.

That being said, some people NEED status and order up silly things like Rolex devices, and of course they remain hidden under sleeves only to appear when the time is right to show "status". The same will be said for the Cupertino Wristslabs, just something to show status.

Me? I have a 15 year old Seiko thing with a simple twist-o-flex band. I've replaced the battery many times.

Yes, I also have a fit bit thingy that my (is there a message here?) wife gave me for my last birthday. Probably all I really need.

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Hm. I have a Citizen Eco-drive, because I can't be bothered to replace batteries or set the thing or deal with daylight "saving" time. Technology does march on.

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Over a perdiod of 20 years that watch will keep it's value, even gain value in some cases..

The iPhone will be worth next to nothing. The iPhone is not jewellery it is just a minor fashion item.

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Anonymous Coward

Watches keeping value over 20 years

Not sure that's true any more - there are so many 'high end' watches around that they're almost becoming commodities. This year's limited edition Hublot is next year's has-been manacle.

Take a look at second hand watch prices; much like cars, buying a 2-3 year old one will get you a useful saving, and, much like cars, high end watches don't really evolve quickly. After all it's big news if Rolex bring out a new dial colour.

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Anonymous Coward

Quite the opposite - you compare a cheap Casio as an example that it does not cost much to get accuracy - agreed. But the Apple watch adds a ton of functionality - it's not 'just' an accurate watch.

If I were Omega / Rolex and the other brands selling stainless steel watches for £2500 I'd be concerned about a good looking, quality AND functional watch for 1/10th that cost. The other smart watches are pretty much a joke in comparison.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Watches keeping value over 20 years

Think traditional watches could end up losing their status / value when you can see what a smart watch linked to your phone can do. Especially when it's good looking so does not look like a kids toy watch as some of the non-Apple ones do.

I have not worn a watch for a few years now (as typically used my phone) (and apart from a sports watch I use for swimming / at the gym) but the Apple Watch looks good (yes that does matter) and critically adds functionality to my phone. If I can leave the phone in my bag / coat for many things then that's a win. If it can monitor activity etc. then it may replace my sports watch - another win.

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FAIL

Gold-plated?

Why do you keep saying the Apple Edition Watch Edition (Edition) will be gold-plated? It has been stated by Apple that it will be made of gold. Just the raw materials for the case will cost several thousand dollars, so why try perpetuating the myth that it is going to be plated in 18k gold, when Tim Cook stood on stage and stated that their metallurgists have come up with a process to make the gold case harder?

Their own website states that the case is made from 18k gold: http://www.apple.com/watch/apple-watch-edition/

So please stop spreading the myth that it is gold plated. You've done it at least twice now.

Also - if you are going to compare the price against a Rolex, why pick a stainless steel one? They do make gold watches too, you know. Scared that people might see the $15,000 price tag of the Rolex and say "oh, that Apple watch might not actually be all that expensive when compared to other watches made of the same material, after all"?

(In other news: Apple has a team of metallurgists? That's pretty cool in itself)

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Re: Gold-plated?

They make a lot of metal stuff. Not employing material scientists would be insane.

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Re: Gold-plated?

One of the reasons for the high cost of a Rolex is that they are hand built in Switzerland, which tends to have slightly better working conditions than Foxconn et al. Hopefully Apple will either pour a fraction of their war chest into having the watches built either in a factory with decent working conditions or have them built in the US a la the Mac Pro.

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Re: Gold-plated?

Rolexes aren't hand-made. The vast majority of work involved in their construction is automated, with a small amount of hand-finishing/assembly. The reason they cost so much is that Rolex has now a well- (and expensively-) advertised brand image and people are willing to pay high amounts. There's not much relation of their cost to the cost of manufacture - they're a classic example of Veblen goods http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veblen_good

Working conditions in Switzerland are certainly way better though, and wages much higher.

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Re: Gold-plated?

Rolexes are valuable and stay valuable, in 10 years time your £10k Rolex will still have value of several thousand, your iWatch will be obsolete tech so will just have the scrap value of the gold, in 100 years time, the Rolex may be worth more than £10k and will still be working, the iWatch....?

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Re: Gold-plated?

The difference between a Rolex and an Apple gold-watch, is that the Rolex is designed to last for the rest of your life. Or at least a good portion of it.

That Apple bling is going to be obsolete in 2 years. Even if you keep using it, it's going to need a new battery in a few more, and those screens don't last forever.

What I want to know is, what happens to the gold case? Or are Apple going to make all their Watches the same size - so that you can just pop it out, and update to the next model?

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JDX
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Re: Gold-plated?

Lots of expensive things don't last as long as cheaper ones. I'd wager a 500k supercar will last far less time than an old Ford Focus.

It's for the super rich, if they have enough money this counts as disposable income then good for them, let them buy it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Gold-plated?

If the gold needed for a watch case is worth several thousand dollars, the thing will double as a club. Current gold price is under $1200/ oz (still too high against historic trends) which means an ounce of 18kt is valued at less than $900. More than an ounce and it's getting a bit silly. If the price reverts to trend in the next few years, the gold will be worth around $500.

"Make the gold case harder" - there are lots of 18kt gold alloys which are stronger than plain gold/silver. The plating industry uses nickel as a additive and gets a good wear resistant surface. It is hardly rocket metallurgy. Cook seems to be following the RDF pattern. Personally, I prefer titanium as a case material; it doesn't cause sensitivity, is reasonably light and the mechanical and corrosion properties are excellent. It just isn't the "keep your money under the bed" preferred choice of metal for ignorant poor people in the 3rd world.

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Re: Gold-plated?

Why don't Rolex buyers just have a $10k to $50k lump of gold surgically implanted in their foreheads?

Or would that be - I don't know - too showy and vulgar, or something?

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Re: Gold-plated?

are Apple going to make all their Watches the same size

Noooo, it's Apple we're talking about here. They'll probably make the next generation of cases a few millimetres different in size, so you'll have to buy a new one. Of course you'll have the option to take your expensive, ephemeral slab into the nearest Genius Bar and have it recycled for you.

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Re: Gold-plated?

> It's for the super rich

At 5K per watch? I really don't think it is.

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Vulgar or Something

I think you'll find a lot of them would if they could, but then money never has been an indicator of taste.

Sadly ownership of a Rolex isn't a good indicator, but the lump of gold in the forehead, now that does indicate a certain style and class.

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Re: Vulgar or Something

And, as an added bonus, it'll make you look like the First Prime of some Goa'uld or other...

"Jaffa, kree!"

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Re: Gold-plated?

Actually, they're NOT, except in the sense that it won't fly to pieces.

I had a Rolex for a while - and old one (70s) almost literally fell into my hands along with a lot of mostly junk. I got it refurbished into running order, which cost several hundred dollars. I was going to sell it then, but I liked the way it looked (it was not super-fancy, but very distinguished looking) so I wore it almost daily for a year. By the end of that year it started having trouble keeping time, and sometimes needed a vigorous shake to free up the self-winding mechanism so it would run if it completely ran down since I last wore it (I mean like jump up and down shake, not the usual light wrist movement that is all you normally need for a self-winder).

Assuming that the previous jeweler had done a crappy job, I took it to a much better jeweler, who I told the story, and they said that automatic movements require a lot of regular maintenance. A year or two between major amounts of (expensive) tinkering is about average for a regularly-worn Rolex.

So I sold it, and when I'm not wearing a pebble these days, I have an eco-drive citizen which has worked perfectly for years without refurbishing.

I'm not saying the Rolex wasn't a great watch, it was (just putting it up to your ear and hearing the distinctive sound they make is hypnotic), but having one is a lot like having a vintage car - it will be in the shop a lot and let you down much more often than your daily driver.

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Re: Gold-plated?

"What I want to know is, what happens to the gold case? Or are Apple going to make all their Watches the same size - so that you can just pop it out, and update to the next model?"

As Dr Phil would say, relative past behaviour is a good indicator of future behaviour. Going on Apple's past, it hasn't happened before, so not likely to happen now.

I would hope however, that they have a good workable strategy on firmware upgrades. It's likely the functionality in future won't be in the first version of firmware.

Which raises another question: Current phones don't have 8 core CPUs for kicks you know. We're pushing significantly more out of our phones today than we did in the last 5-10 years... How are they going to increase functionality without an engine replacement? Are the gold watch users of 10 years in the future going to be happy with the same relative horsepower of today?

All this may be moot though, Apple's battery replacement policy has been less then stellar - are they going to allow battery changes after a few years on the $5K gold watch, or are they going to let the third-party Chinese market take care of it?

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Re: Gold-plated?

"It's for the super rich. At 5K per watch? I really don't think it is."

Considering their past performance on battery replacements, your you-beute $5K gold watch is only going to be useful for several years.

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Re: Gold-plated?

I totally agree Scott.........................

This article immediately loses credibility as it compares Apple Swatches with say....... Rolexes on anything other than a parity basis. So 5k for a gold Apple Swatch vs 15k for a similar metal Rolex. mmmmm not bad in prices terms but what does that actually mean in terms of function, form or value.......?

Personally having got loads of Apple mobes I see no value in the Apple Swatch at all..... By gen 3 it might offer something that interests me.

Much like other commentards, I spend my money on DLSR's and "real" watches of which I have a few, boys and their toys eh............

But despite my fondness of Apple mobes this is one device I will pass on.

PS: iPhone 6+ camera for movies and stills is fantastic...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Gold-plated?

I'm not sure where this myth comes from - Apple have always been good about battery replacements and their stuff is popular so there are typically going to be a lot of 3rd party options as well.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Gold-plated?

It links up to the phone and does much simpler tasks - assume the phone (more easily upgraded and with a faster CPU etc.) can do the heavy lifting and the watch does simpler tasks / is an effective smart display linked to the watch. I do not imagine you would upgrade your Apple Watch each time you upgrade your iPhone and even then I see loads of 3-4+ year old iPhones still in use.

This article is about making the worst comparisons - a gold Apple Watch vs steel competitors - the most expensive Apple Watch when the vast majority will go for one costing much less. Phone companies may even bundle the watch and phone (albeit you are still paying for it but monthly instead) - perhaps an extra £10 a month.

But remember it's not as if you HAVE to buy it - it's a useful option - you can just decide if you value it at approx. £10/month (worst case for standard phone over just 2 years). Realistically I'd say these watches are likely to be good for much longer - probably 4-6+ years and probably a decent residual value if you did want to sell after 2 years.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Gold-plated?

So moving Chinese jobs to the USA helps the Chinese workers how?

The working conditions / pay may not be the same you enjoy in the US but it may still be better for them than the other option which may be near-enough-subsistence farming?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Gold-plated?

Except you may have to pay £200-300 every 3 years to have your Rolex serviced to keep it working and it's still just going to tell them time. I really do imagine a future where your watch can be used to pay for goods, billing for public transport, locks on your car / house etc. etc.

And your Rolex will just tell the time. With smart watches you may see high end watch values taking a tumble - a bit like film SLRs - literally worthless within a space of just 5-10 years as digital took over.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Gold-plated?

They are quoting the worst case, most expensive, solid gold version which few will buy but is an option for those that want it. The vast majority will buy the equally functional one costing $350 / about £225-250.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Gold-plated?

So firstly you say 'Noooo' when you don't knoooooow.

Secondly they are already making two sizes and do all these other manufacturers make everything compatible with the next version - so you can take the battery off your 3 years old Samsung phone and slap it in their latest model?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Gold-plated?

Keeping an Omega / Rolex / similar chrono serviced (yes about every 3 years) would cost more than the base Apple Watch - think last service (before I got rid of it) was over £300 and it had to be sent away for about 6 weeks so they could do it / test it for accuracy. Sure it was waterproof far deeper than I would ever venture - but all it did was tell the time and date. If I were to buy a new watch now I would certainly want it to do a lot more.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Gold-plated? 70s rolex

I think your 70s rolex must've had a severe battering as Rolex are known and have been for ages, for making simple, yet exceptionally reliable and accurate movements.

Whether you like the look or the brand image, they are exceptional timekeepers, which is more than can be said for a lot of high end watches (e.g. IWC). And they use in-house movements, rather than putting cheap ETA and Selita movements in expensive, over-sized cases (e.g. Bell & Ross, most Hublots, some IWCs, Schofield et al).

I'd definitely advise you to revisit the brand, they've got some very nice watches in their collection now. I don't work for them...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Gold-plated?

What a perfect example of a false conclusion drawn from an irrelevant observation. A valid comparison would begin from the observation that the Rolex will do exactly the same thing, day after day, until it fails after becoming unrepairable, and so will the Apple Watch. Such a comparison examines the same characteristic on both. Unfortunately the parent post goes on to fault the Apple product for an unrelated reason -- because a better version enters the market in a relatively short time -- which speaks to poor reasoning skills (or a preconceived outcome), not to an unfavorable product comparison.

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Anonymous Coward

Apple Watch Sport Edition

The starting price for the smartwatch will be $350, which will get you a "sport" model with a rubber strap and an aluminum case.

It isn't waterproof is it?

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Re: Apple Watch Sport Edition

See, THIS is more like it. Criticise the watch all you like as long as it's with FACTS.

The sports edition of the Apple Watch is not water-resistant. This is insane, and completely negates the stated purpose of this device.

What were they thinking??

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Apple Watch Sport Edition

See, THIS is more like it. Criticise the watch all you like as long as it's with FACTS.

It wasn't a criticism on my part it was a genuine question as I read an argument between two people online last night as to whether it was or it wasn't.

If it isn't then personally I don't know what they are thinking. That is a basic requirement for one of these devices for me and should be a given if it has sport in the name, but that's just my opinion...

The Moto 360 is still the best looking smartwatch I've seen, but it is too bulky and the battery life is too bad for it to be worth considering at this stage

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Re: Apple Watch Sport Edition

Another question? Is it shock & dirt resistant, i.e. can it take a smack against a squash court wall or go into sand onto a beach volleyball court?

Or is it "sport" in the sense of a Ford Fiesta "sport", it has some go faster stripes and a crap ride?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Apple Watch Sport Edition

Another question? Is it shock & dirt resistant, i.e. can it take a smack against a squash court wall or go into sand onto a beach volleyball court?

Or is it "sport" in the sense of a Ford Fiesta "sport", it has some go faster stripes and a crap ride?

From what little details they have released it seems to be sport in the sense that it comes with a naff brightly coloured plastic strap. No indication of battery life, whether it is shock proof / dust & dirt proof / waterproof.

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Re: Apple Watch Sport Edition

Apparently it's water resistant, not waterproof, so contact with water is fine, but it doesn't like any head of pressure (from either being submerged or subjected to a jet of water as in a shower).

http://www.cultofmac.com/295055/apple-watch-water-resistant-waterproof/#RRSMQfT6gmwGV83O.99

I'm not in the Apple eco-system, but if I was I would wait for MK II. Personally, I wouldn't require a connected watch to do as much as the iWatch (an 'iWatch Nano' would be a better fit), but for the point it occupies in the features/size/battery space, it largely appears well designed, software- and hardware-wise.

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Re: Apple Watch Sport Edition

@Scott Earle

The swimming pools in Cupertino are all filled with dollar bills instead of water anyway, so I guess it just never occurred to them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Apple Watch Sport Edition

I've just read through three pages of pure marketing BS on the Apple Watch website to read up on the three different models and the main difference between the Sport edition and the regular watch edition aside from the plastic strap (which Apple call the fluoroelastomer strap) is that the sport edition uses a worse screen than the standard watch!!! From their website (try not to be sick) -

Watch Sport -

"The display is protected by strengthened Ion-X glass."

Standard Watch (more expensive) -

"Brilliantly scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. Next to diamond, sapphire is the hardest transparent material on earth. "

Shouldn't the sport edition have like the better screen? You know in case you might scratch it diving to the ground when doing actual erm... sport?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Apple Watch Sport Edition

> No indication of battery life,

The battery life is 24+ hours , not quite sure how much more than 24. But anyhow if it is using a Lithium based battery and is sealed in the usual apple style expect it to fail after 1-3 years.

Unless they use a Lithium iron phosphate or Lithium–titanate chemistry in their battery (10-20).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rechargeable_battery#Types

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selectiveness (again)

Nothing like a bit of breathless pseudo-factual tabloid reporting to start the day.

Watch! - made of gold! - costs lots of money! Quel Surprise eh?

The subtle emphasis on the errors (plating) to perceptually drive down the value whilst hyping the price - very good. Your Journalism 101 tutor would be very proud

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Hmmm choices choices....

I could have a Omega Seamaster Professional with change left over or a blinged up Apple Watch for possibly a bit more.

I wonder which will still be working three years later and may have actually increased in value while the other is worth just scrap or £20 for spares on Ebay.

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