back to article $17,000 Apple Watch: Pointless bling, right? HA! You're WRONG

What's the point of Apple's $17,000 Christometer then? Apart from, you know, vulgar money? There's been a certain amount of quiet coughing and choking among the fanbois over the new Apple Watch Edition's Christometer's tag of $17,000 at the top end. That's a whole heap of Benjamins for a wrist computer, most especially as the …

  1. Sealand

    Yep - I'm sure it will sell allright ...

    ... but will it blend?

    1. JoshOvki

      Re: Yep - I'm sure it will sell allright ...

      "... but will it bend?"

      FTFY

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yep - I'm sure it will sell allright ...

      It will certainly bend your wallet to breaking point.

    3. Bob Vistakin
      Facepalm

      News from an insider

      Explains it all.

  2. Hey Nonny Nonny Mouse

    Apple are in the marketing business, they understand the value of something as ridiculous as a $17K product because it generates headlines and column inches.

    Like all bullies, trolls and other attention whores, ignore them and eventually they will go away.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      >eventually they will go away.

      I have a large stack of National Geographic magazines dating back decades that disagree with you. They almost always carry advertisements for Rolex watches, usually associated with an explorer. Rolex even sponsor various awards for young explorers - part of the cost of maintaining the brand that Mr Worstall talks about.

      'Wildlife as Canon Sees It' has been another long-running National Geographic advertising campaign, usually featuring a red-ringed zoom lens that costs thousands of dollars. Again, the aim is to associate the product with professional use in the mind of the consumer.

      1. Peter Storm

        I get you point, and yes, Canon are very good at marketing their gear, but I have one of those red ringed zoom lenses, and I can testify that it's a f***ing great piece of kit, and unlike the Apple watch, the guts are definitely not the same as in the cheaper version.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "I get you point, and yes, Canon are very good at marketing their gear, but I have one of those red ringed zoom lenses, and I can testify that it's a f***ing great piece of kit, and unlike the Apple watch, the guts are definitely not the same as in the cheaper version."

          Exactly. I'd love one of those 0.5f 5-5000mm zoom lenses, then *I* could take wildlife pictures of wildebeasts from 3 miles away at 1/900000 sec

      2. Dominion

        In 10 years time a Rolex will still work. Will an Apple watch bought today still work with an iPhone 10 (or whatever) in 10 years time?

        1. ItsNotMe
          Thumb Up

          "In 10 years time a Rolex will still work."

          I have an Omega watch purchased in 1969 that works just as well as the day I purchased it.

          Apple may not even be in business in 46 years.

        2. Fiddler on the roof

          No it wont. An expensive watch is yours for life (unless you lose or break it) an apple watch will be out date in 2 years when they introduce the apple watch 2 (air or some other shit). People will then actually look down on you for having the expensive one because its not the latest release. It's an absolutely enormous crock of sh1te and serves only to prove that if apple were to badge piles of horse crap fanbois would buy them and feel superior whilst doing so.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Dave 126

        "'Wildlife as Canon Sees It' has been another long-running National Geographic advertising campaign, usually featuring a red-ringed zoom lens that costs thousands of dollars. Again, the aim is to associate the product with professional use in the mind of the consumer."

        Poor analogy. Canon's high-end lenses really ARE tools used daily by professionals, in contrast to the gold Apple watch which is pure Veblen bling.

        Of course if Canon manages to convince some rich novices to splash out on some camera equipment that's beyond their abilities, they won't complain!

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Jaques Cousteau

        I have always maintained that Rolex are not really a luxury brand, they are a "lifestyle" brand.

        Luxury brands (Patek et. al) are somewhat different.

        Rolex' target market are, metaphorically speaking "pimps, stock brokers, Joan Sutherland and Jaques Coutseau" Rolex are definitely a good choice if you are Chris Bonington, they are very reliable and pretty much indestructible. Can you imagine Sir Chris with a Patek on his wrist? Thought not.

        The buyers of Patek are more aesthetes who admire the astonishing craftsmanship which comes with every timepiece. And trust me, if you want to flaunt wealth for the benefit of a cheap bonk, the Rolex is your item. 99.9999% of people couldn't recognise (or spell) a Patek Philippe, never mind being in awe of it.

        1. Mark 65 Silver badge

          Re: Jaques Cousteau

          Indeed I have always considered Rolex to be like the BMW of luxury watches. They market their brand in a shouty look-at-me fashion and that attracts a similar minded customer. Not to mention if it is an aphrodisiac as implied by Mr Worstall it will also attract a certain type of mate - generally the more paddling-pool shallow rattly-headed type. The likes of your real luxury watch - Patek, Vacheron, Audemars etc - would, as previously stated, not even be noticed by such types but would be admired in the right circles and be handed down as heirlooms. Doesn't one of them advertise that you don't so much own their watch but merely look after it for the next generation? Personally I just use them to tell the time so couldn't give a shit.

  3. Cliff

    That mailing list

    If Apple do sell a few dozen $17k watches, that client list itself is priceless. By definition, people with a shit load of ready cash, and absolutely no discernment.

    Reminds me of a talk a programming team leader gave to us after she'd been on a course - she had a pie chart with proportions of projects delivered under budget, on time but over budget etc. One figure caught my eye 'paid for but never delivered' was 26%. She thought this was a disgrace, I saw it as a brilliant sector we should be working hard to get into!

    Likewise, Apple's sucker list would be ripe for any racket going - spending an extra $16,700 on something pretending to be a status-symbol identifier, but without the residual value others place on other brands of status symbol identifiers. It'll be gathering dust quickly as technology marches on, when the battery falters, etc. With your Rolex, there's always another mug, a 3 year old fashion piece of extinct tech...

    The rose gold thing is brilliant marketing in general, like pink champagne. Impurities made it pink, but spin a good enough story and bonzer, proof that cost and value are decoupled.

    So what I see from this is not something for Apple fans to feel smug about, this should be a moment of realisation. Let the scales fall from eyes. Apple is a very good mid-range tech manufacturer with an attitude of gouging it's customers. May the downvotes commence, but you know it's true deep inside...

    1. Frank Bough

      Re: That mailing list

      That would make some sense if they didn't sell the same thing for 300

      1. Cliff

        Re: That mailing list

        Surely make even more sense because you've got a list of punters who'll pay $16k++ for metal 'worth' $1k tops when when it's spelt out to them.

    2. Ken 16 Silver badge
      Alien

      Even seen how much an Oysterquartz.goes for?

      "gathering dust quickly as technology marches on, when the battery falters, etc. With your Rolex, there's always another mug"

      1. Cliff

        Re: Even seen how much an Oysterquartz.goes for?

        Indeed, guess there's always a bigger, bigger mug. That said, Rolex were in the quality watch business a while before releasing this anomaly whilst in deep crisis. Launching a white elephant off the bat is different. Maybe there will be some museum/curiosity appeal driven by entirely artificial scarcity one day, much as 'White Star Line' crockery isn't sold to eat off.

    3. BongoJoe

      Re: That mailing list

      "One figure caught my eye 'paid for but never delivered' was 26%. She thought this was a disgrace, I saw it as a brilliant sector we should be working hard to get into!"

      The NHS IT project would have been one.

    4. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: That mailing list

      The people who will buy it needn't be mugs or stupid, they just might be incredibly wealthy.

      It would be stupid for me to buy one, because it would take me a few months working to earn that cash. But there are enough people on the world who collect supercars and buzz around in private jets, that would not notice £17K out of their daily spend. Then they will play with it for 5 minutes, stick it a drawer and forget it forever and not give as hit.

      £500 return to New York for me. £6K first class for them. At the end of the flight we are both queuing at the same US Border Agency check. Or £300 budget Airline for me and the wife to get to Rome and back for a weekend. £20K on a private jet for them. Money is all gone at the end of the trip. Do they care? Do they need to care? Does that make them stupid because renting a private jet is as easy for them as an Indian takeaway meal for me? I say ridiculously profligate, but they are not mugs.

      People need to stop looking at this watch from the perspective of their own little worlds.

      1. Mark 65 Silver badge

        Re: That mailing list

        I'd argue they have more money than sense, it really doesn't matter whether it is extreme wealth or complete lack of intelligence to the salesman.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: That mailing list

          To a homeless penniless person, I have more money than sense because I blow £50 on a Chinese Takeaway and some booze when I could make do with a packet of instant noodles and some cider.

  4. Mark Simon

    The difference is …

    Buying the top Apple watch is likened to buying a Rolex, which is the sort of thing you do to show off how much money you have lying around doing nothing else important.

    The difference is that the Rolex will last you a very long time, and some people will hang on to theirs for life, or what’s left of it.

    Two years, max, and you will want to replace your Apple Watch with its replacement, which has more memory, runs faster, has a few extra sensors, and a better screen.

    Being seen with an old Rolex nothing compared to being seen with old tech.

    1. Cliff

      Re: The difference is …

      Absolutely - tech is about novelty and having the latest and greatest (which is what drives the sector overall).

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: The difference is …

        The longevity of a Rolex compared to an iWatch is completely irrelevant for the very reasons the article discussed. Wasting resources proves that you have resources - Hence the old Rolls Royce in a swimming pool antics.

        I have some sympathy for Bill Gates idea of a progressive tax on luxury goods - tax puts up the sticker price of a £300 handbag to £500 - so the buyer still shows off their disposable wealth but society benefits.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: The difference is …

          The longevity of a Rolex compared to an iWatch is completely irrelevant for the very reasons the article discussed. Wasting resources proves that you have resources - Hence the old Rolls Royce in a swimming pool antics.

          Dave 126,

          Doesn't this depend on motivation though? I've heard guys talking about buying cars because, "they're a babe-magnet." I don't recall talking to anyone who's bought a stupidly expensive watch saying that though.

          The way they've sold the purchase to themselves is often because they're into nicely engineered things, they like the idea of it, and they can justify this because they're going to have the watch forever, and pass it to their kids. Or even sell it for a profit. There's also an element of "rewarding myself for working hard - now I can afford it".

          There are some who buy it as an addition to their wardrobe, and I guess that pretty much is about sexual display.

          But it strikes me that people do need to justify a purchase in their own minds. And quality and longevity is the big thing for the posh watch industry. But Apple are selling a $350 watch covered in gold, but not in a gold case, so therefore it's going to be worthless after 2 years. Do people with this much cash use Cash-4-Gold?

          Obviously, once you've got a few tens of millions, the cost is irrelevant. And this is just another impulse purchase. But the watch comopanies do so well, because they're selling watches for £5k to people who only earn £30-£40k a year - and there's an awful lot more of them than there are millionaires.

          Then again maybe Apple only want the millionaires? There's still enough of them, and it's not like these watches are costing much to make, as that's covered by the mass market production line, it's just the easy job of making the gold cases.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The difference is …

        Whilst you, I and - I suspect - the vast majority of El Reg's readership, all agree on this, the fact is that those people who are willing and rich enough to spend $17K on the watch will not think twice about spending another $17K when v2 comes out in a year or two's time.

        So you think that Apple are doing nicely by mugging people for just $17K? They're not. They're doing nicely for mugging people for $17K every couple of years, if they do it right.

    2. magickmark
      Alien

      Re: The difference is …

      Surely there is no such thing as an 'old Rolex' only vintage? I don't know any figures (and I can't be arsed to do the research) but I know there is a thriving market for vintage Rolex watches and they can command very high values. So buying a Rolex could be said to be an investment.

      I cannot see that a gold iWatch is going to accrue much value over the years, as others have pointed out it may well be obsolete (hardware/software wise) in a very short amount of time. But then maybe that's part of the Veblen Goods effect, "Not only can I afford this bit of bling but I can also afford not to worry that next year it will be valueless" if so very cleaver marketing by Apple.

      Anyway this recalls to me a quote from the Great Man, Douglas Adams:

      "Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.

      Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-eight million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea."

      I'm sure Zaphod would have had three, one for each arm.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The difference is …

        "Surely there is no such thing as an 'old Rolex' only vintage? I don't know any figures (and I can't be arsed to do the research) but I know there is a thriving market for vintage Rolex watches and they can command very high values. So buying a Rolex could be said to be an investment."

        I bought my Patek Phillipe Nautilus new when it arrived on the market (1978). It is today worth the the same in real money as the day I bought it. I wore it every day for 30 years before I had the watchmakers at PP recondition it. Today I have a newer complication version, because I can, but my "Jumbo" is still my favourite wrist watch (and I have many from which to choose).

        So yes, indeed, the correct choice can be financially neutral or even positive, plus you have the privilege of wearing the watch. No down sides I would say.

    3. jai

      Re: The difference is …

      Most of the really posh Rolex's cost a lot more than $17k.

      So having a novelty digital watch for a 1/3 of the price of the $60k Rolex you wear with your tuxedo might appeal to the kind of people who are chaufuered from their mansion to their Lear jet in their Rolls Royce.

    4. BongoJoe

      Re: The difference is …

      Two years, max, and you will want to replace your Apple Watch with its replacement, which has more memory, runs faster,

      Runs faster?

  5. The Crow From Below

    "Well, if we're to be honest about it, it's because Apple's pretty certain there's enough people out there stupid enough to buy one to make it worthwhile."

    Is it really stupid to be successful enough at life that you can afford to indulge yourself with a $17K gadget? I am sure they would call you stupid for selling your Apple shares in the late 80s that they held on to and made them rich enough to actually afford Apple hardware in the first place.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Here's one:

      Steve Wozniak became rich because of Apple, and he wears an expensive, impractical watch because he wants to and because he can. It's huge. Why? Because it uses Nixie tubes to display the time. You have to like a company (actually a one-man band) that puts this testimonial on its homepage:

      “If I wanted to buy a watch that guaranteed I would never get laid, I certainly wouldn't have to spend that much on it.”

      —random Slashdot comment

      above

      “I would have loved to have invented that.”

      —Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple

      http://www.cathodecorner.com/nixiewatch/

      1. O RLY

        Nixie Watch

        The privacy policy of the Nixie Watch company is a thing of beauty. If I were looking for a $500 watch, I would consider this one just to do business with the company.

        "Cathode Corner does not ever see your credit card information, much less store it. We retain your shipping information for warranty purposes only. Your information is never divulged to anyone except the letter carrier."

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      There's nothing wrong with blowing your cash on whatever takes your fancy. It's just that this Apple watch seems such bad value. At least you can justify a Swiss watch by saying that lots of lab-coated craftsmen have hand-built it, while smoking their pipes and yodelling. And that it'll still be useful in 2 years, and working in 10.

      None of that's true of the Apple watch, which is just $350 of mass-produced mechanism shoved in $1,000 of gold.

      For $17k, I could pay a special assistant to follow me round holding my phone within my eyeline - or maybe walk just in front of me with it taped to their back. Financially that makes just as much sense, as I can then do the same next year - rather than paying for the upgrade from Apple. And that's showing off even more.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Quality not quantity

        Sometimes it's not just about the short term gains. Perhaps the watch-owner might want to attract a /lifelong/ mate and therefore would rather attract one of the very few who, like him/her, finds his/her Nixie watch interesting/amusing/geeky than the (probably) more frequently found ones who find his/her Apple watch "reassuringly expensive".

      2. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        The crux of the matter...

        The real problem here is that the iWatch is like any other Apple product. It's mass market tripe cheaply produced in some Chinese factory pretending to be something it's obviously not. It's not just a matter of having money to burn. It's also a matter of taste.

        There are brands for the genuinely wealthy and then there are brands for those who are not but try to put up a convincing front otherwise.

      3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        "For $17k, I could pay a special assistant to follow me round holding my phone within my eyeline - or maybe walk just in front of me with it taped to their back. Financially that makes just as much sense, as I can then do the same next year - rather than paying for the upgrade from Apple. And that's showing off even more."

        I'd bet there's some pop star/"celebrity" type already looking for an addition to their entourage - one to wear the Apple watch and tell the time.

  6. Khaptain Silver badge
    Coat

    What about the cheap buggers

    Now all the 350$ versions will just seem like cheap tat....

    1. Halfmad

      Re: What about the cheap buggers

      Yet now there's clearly a lot of money to be made in selling kits to make them look like more expensive models.

  7. Jason Hindle

    But what happens a few years down the line

    When the innards of this expensive mating call fail? At least you can still get Granddad's retirement Rolex repaired. This, on the other hand, is going to be about as repairable as a Sistim 51 (and worth about the same, plus the cost of the gold, once it develops mortal coil impairment)?

    Disclaimer: No, I don't understand the luxury business.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: But what happens a few years down the line

      Granddad's retirement Rolex might have sentimental value to you. That is a different kind of value to that discussed in the article.

      The 'value' discussed in the article is that of showing off wealth by 'wasting' it. Y'know, like the people who like to show off by drinking a £500 magnum of champagne (though some inexpensive Cava might taste just as good to them)- it is not going to be passed on to the next generation. Cocaine and caviar, similarly.

      1. Maurice Walshe

        Re: But what happens a few years down the line

        Nope pre owned rolex's retain value and for the desireable ones increase just like a classic Porsche 911 increases in value

        1. Cliff

          Re: But what happens a few years down the line

          >> Nope pre owned rolex's retain value and for the desireable ones increase just like a classic Porsche 911 increases in value <<

          Just to be clear, though, there is no inherent premium value in a secondhand watch or car, no matter who makes it.

          1. JEDIDIAH
            Devil

            Re: But what happens a few years down the line

            > Just to be clear, though, there is no inherent premium value in a secondhand watch or car, no matter who makes it.

            Just keep telling yourself that. Swiss watches are the sort of luxury brand that Apple pretends to be. A watch enthusiast could handily school any fanboy on the subject of "resale value".

            1. Cliff

              Re: But what happens a few years down the line

              For the record, I am saying that neither the secondhand watch nor the new apple one has any inherent special value as watches, not that someone won't pay over the odds for them.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Whit.I.Are

      Re: But what happens a few years down the line

      And even if you can get it fixed, you'll need to get your old iPhone fixed to work with it. And then you'll need to get your apps made backwards compatible with the old kit.

  8. hplasm Silver badge
    Coat

    Christometer-

    Hehhe - First the Jesusphone, now this.

    I hope Apple get into kitchen gadgets. I can't wait for the coming of the Holy Toast...

    1. Tim Worstal

      Re: Christometer-

      Yes, I was hoping that might catch. And Holy Toast is wondrous....

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

        Re: Christometer-

        Or maybe just Christwatch, with the i pronounciation softened similar to wristwatch?

        Wish you hadn't mentioned holy toast though, now I feel hungry!

  9. Pavlov's obedient mutt

    all fun but

    So these "it's crap, ridiculous - I'm far too superior/intelligent to buy one" huffs and puffs are entertaining to read but they miss, entirely, that not even apple fanbois (did I spell that pseudo-insult correctly?) are the target market for the blingiest-of bling iWatches

    No, dear readers, it's the people for whom financial decisions around cost are as irrelevant as which loaf of bread to buy based on any thought other than "I want that one"

    How many watches do you think Mr Moneybags already has in his watch-drawer - more to the point, how much did he spend on the contents of that drawer? Probably more than most (or all) of the readership of this online publication will spend (or have spent) on their homes.. And those multi-dial, gazillion time-zones 300m diving watches - do you think he uses *any* of those features? No. The only feature he uses is it's material existence. So he won't care that in a year there'll be a new one that lasts a whole day, or has a new(ish) feature - because it's immaterial to his world.

    Apple are doing this because they can and because it will sell by the truck load

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: all fun but

      Well Mrs non moneybags has about 10 in her drawer. All with flat batteries. The one on her wrist is the only one I'm prepared to maintain.

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: all fun but

        Taking a cue from this...

        http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/03/01/p0rnhub_band_power_generation/

        have you considered getting her a kinetic watch?

  10. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Clickbait

    from the Register's own Kipper not marked as such.

    1. dogged

      Re: Clickbait

      I didn't see a UKIP angle.

      But then, I wasn't looking for one.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      WTF?

      Re: Clickbait

      from the Register's own Kipper not marked as such.

      Charlie Clark,

      What the fuck's wrong with you?

      So the man supports UKIP. So fucking what?

      If he was subtly making Ukippy points and propaganda in his articles, then you might have a point. But this article doesn't even relate to that. It's a discussion point about the new Apple watch and luxury goods from the standpoint of economics. i.e., it's not about the money, it's about the sex. Or as that song a few years ago said, "Girls don't like boys. Girls like cars and money."

      There's nothing wrong with supporting UKIP anyway. Not that I'm a fan, I don't like one-policy parties, and I like even less one-policy parties that succumb to delusions of adequacy and start to pretend to having a proper manifesto and makking stuff up on the hoof. But they address a genuine constitutional issue, of serious democractic importance. And that can only be a good thing. That's democracy.

      Trying to treat UKIP as somehow beyond the pail is the whole reason for the success of UKIP in the first place! I remember the good old days, when if you opposed the Euro you were some kind of little-Englander, swivel-eyed loon, to be subtly insulted and patronised by our betters at the Guardian, BBC, Times and FT.

      Now it turns out that the euro is economically unworkable without unaccepable political integration. Oops. That kind of sneering nastiness is what causes the growth of anti-politics. And despite its fault politics is what gets stuff done. The alternative to working politics is Russia or Greece. Neither of which are good options.

      Oops. Rant over. Apologies to everyone other than the OP. And breathe...

      1. Tim Worstal

        Re: Clickbait

        " I remember the good old days, when if you opposed the Euro you were some kind of little-Englander, swivel-eyed loon, to be subtly insulted and patronised by our betters at the Guardian, BBC, Times and FT."

        Well, of course, that is why I am a Ukipper. I even own a blazer.

        "somehow beyond the pail"

        The original of this is probably not allowed these days, but it was "beyond the pale". Nowt to do with skin colour though, although I guess that's how people would think of it these days. The "Pale of Dublin" was the area of Ireland under Anglo-Norman control. Beyond that was the gaelic wilderness. There be beasties sorta thing. And amusingly the most gaelic parts of Ireland were in Ulster, the areas that were covered by the Protestant Plantation of the 1600s (covered for that very reason of course). Sorry for the pedantry, just been reading about it.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
          Happy

          Re: Clickbait

          Tim,

          Thanks for your correction. I noticed I'd typed pail, instead of pale afterwards. Oops. I used to proof-read my posts to the interwebs, but life's too short. I'm not getting paid, so I just type my screed and move on...

          I didn't know UKIP had an official blazer. Is it in yellow and purple? If so, the internet demands pictures. Although maybe wait a few weeks, until we've got our special dark glasses for staring at the eclipse...

      2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Clickbait

        What the fuck's wrong with you?

        Nothing the least time I checked. I was annoyed that the OpEd wasn't properly marked for me to ignore. Worstal's economics are as off as his politics in my opinion. He's got a right to them, just as I have to mine. But I've read enough of them not to take them seriously any more and almost always avoid them.

        FWIW UKIP is not just about being anti-Euro and anti-EU. Those are handy fig leaves for some fairly reactionary ideas which Worstal's articles typify. A pox on all populists. And a pox on the mainstream for giving them air to breathe.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Clickbait

          Charlie Clark,

          Thanks for your reply. I don't know what your complaint is about El Reg though. If you don't like Worstall, don't click on his articles. It's an IT site, so I don't know how he persuaded the editor to let him write about economics on here, but then he gets comments (and interesting discussions in them), so he obviously attracts readers. But were El Reg a newspaper, little of his stuff would appear in the news pages, as it's often comment, rather than news reporting.

          However, I wouldn't call this an Op Ed piece. He's just talking about economics and stupidly expensive Apple watches. Saying that it's a Veblen good isn't "off economics", it's just economics. Like Giffen goods, it's one of those areas where price and demand don't relate in the normal way - but it's someting that's continually observed, so I guess someone wrote a paper, and got the credit for the "discovery". I don't see what's not to like about this piece. Or even what's controversial. More it's a look at this new thing, here's how it's seen in economic terms.

          Anyway he works for the Adam Smith Institute. Which gives him some credibility, even if it suggests quite a lot about his economics and politics. He's also a kipper. But that's no reason not to take his economics seriously. It's a long time since I studied it, but I've not seen him make a mistake on El Reg, and he's made me think quite a lot. Obvoiusly there's an ongoing academic debate in economics, but he's quite good at telling you which view he's going with, who disagrees, what the mainstream view is (if there is one). And he's also unusually good at saying when he's giving his own opinion, and when he's using standard economics to make a point.

          FWIW UKIP is not just about being anti-Euro and anti-EU. Those are handy fig leaves for some fairly reactionary ideas which Worstal's articles typify. A pox on all populists. And a pox on the mainstream for giving them air to breathe.

          This however is unacceptable. I agree with you about a pox on populists. But giving them air to breath is a fundamental freedom of our political system. It's a fundamental right too. I would argue that it was the lack of space allowed for discussion on Europe that directly caused the rise of UKIP. And allowed them to continue in the unhealth 'anti-politics' platform they now use. The closing down of debate on immigration, the euro and the like damaged our political discourse, and led more people to look to to the extremes, as the mainstream media (and some politicians) shouted them down.

          Look at the eurozone debate in Southern europe. Because there's a media and political consensus on staying in, no matter the damage it's inflicting, voters are starting to move to the extremes. So you get Syriza and Podemos, who can play the populist card, because they've never had to make the comopromised required to govern. And look how well it's worked out so-far for Syriza, as they've run their impossible election pledges into the brick wall of reality. To be fair, I think Syriza may have been willing to make a reasonable compromise, but it looks like the rest of the eurozone aren't. And also, Syriza didn't tell it how it really is to the voters.

          UKIP is a mess. According to the polls there are quite a few ex Lib Dem supporters who now say they'll vote UKIP! So they've moved from a pro-EU, pro-Euro socially liberal party, to one that isn't. They're probably the flipside of the coin to the voters who say they're going Green, as Labour aren't left enough. But I guess that's as much an anti-politics, "bollocks to the lot of you", vote.

          Obviously UKIP started as a single-issue party. But they've gained support and members from everywhere, which makes it very hard for them to come to a consensus. How to you make a manifesto to please a libertarian free-marketeer like Worstall and an ex-Labour northern working class lefty/protectionist? Let alone the ex BNP lot, the older worried-about-social-change voters etc.

          AfD in Germany are having the same problem. A pro-EU but anti euro party, founded by economics professors and business people as a reaction to the seemingly insoluable euro-crisis. Suddenly they started getting popular, so they've now been joined by lots of people who don't like the euro or the EU, and quite a lot of them because of the large growth of immigration in Germany and/or the drop in wages for lower skilled workers. So they're now having the same fight as to who dominates the party agenda. I think Syriza are a bit of mirror of this problem, from the left.

          Anyway, I believe in politics. It works better than the alternatives. And that means open debate, and not dismissing someone just because they disagree with you. But trying to find some common ground. I don't think terms like reactionary help. If you think he's wrong, argue your case.

          1. h4rm0ny

            @ !Spartacus

            >>"How to you make a manifesto to please a libertarian free-marketeer like Worstall and an ex-Labour northern working class lefty/protectionist?"

            This is easy. The former are interested in actual policies and details and will read them. The latter are interested in positive sound-bites. This means you can easily please both groups. You must have noticed that whilst UKIP is populist in their image and slogans, their backers are largely wealthy and upper-class. The dichotomy is unnoticed by the masses and useful to the party backers, and thus is consequently deliberately perpetuated.

  11. h4rm0ny

    What has happened to Worstall recently? I used to agree with mist if his articles but the last three I've read have all been a pile of conjecture back-up with post-conclusion analysis.

    Yes, displays of wealth can help a man get laid if that is what he's after and he feels the need to pay money to obtain this. But that does not mean all displays of wealth are good investments in that regard. Apple are not a brand name for luxury watches or jewellery. An equivalently expensive traditional watch with an appropriate brand name would display wealth more effectively and look a lot more high-status. The $17,000 iWatch looks more like Chav-bling style wealth display. Which might work in certain circles, but not outside of them.

    To everyone else it looks like you spent $17,000 on something that will be obsolete in two years time. I suppose it could convey that you have cash and are easily parted from it... But that's mire likely to make you appeal to conmen than women.

    1. frank ly Silver badge

      "Which might work in certain circles, ..."

      The fact that you post coherent/cogent comments on here means that you're well outside those 'circles'. Tim however, he seems to get it. I'm sure it's because of professional study and analysis.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Any biologist will tell you much the same as Mr Worstall. ' Wasted' resources are everywhere in nature, from peacocks tails and moose antlers, to time 'wasting' behavior like that of the bower-bird. Open a window and just listen to Spring.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Meh

      I think it went downhill when the number of articles doubled per week with the arrival of the Weekend Edition. Perhaps we can have an article about how quantity doesn't make up for quality.

      1. jason 7

        @Dan 55

        Oh god you have to be careful if not you end up like The Inquirer relying on resident Apple lover Carly's click bait articles to generate any interest whatsoever.

        Man it's sad to watch an old fave website go into decline. Time for someone to put The Inq down.

        1. Kunari

          Thank god I'm not the only one.

    3. TheOtherHobbes

      As a lot of City men keep finding the hard way, shagging gold diggers is rarely a good investment.

      What's less obvious to these City men is that only a minority of women are gold diggers. But they don't have the social skills to deal with them, so they never quite work this out.

      As for Apple - the blingo-watch has cheapened the brand and moved it out of the "affordable mass-market luxury" market Apple used to dominate, into the "fuck you if you're poor" fashionista narcissist market.

      That's an idiot move. They're poking their mainstream customers in the eye while not making it into the luxury Veblen space the exclusive hyper-bling brands live in.

      $17k is a lot, but it's still sort-of affordable-ish, in a not-really economic uncanny valley kind of a way.

      The Veblen-smart move would have been to make a very limited edition blingowatch out of the most exotic and expensive materials possible, and sold it to a mere handful of slebs for seven figures.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They'll rip your arm off for a Rolex in some parts of the country. iWatch will be even worse.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pussy Magnet

    If you need to spend $17000 on a watch to attract the ladies you have been seriously thrashed by the ugly stick.

    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Pussy Magnet

      Also, I think a serious economic analysis ought not to rely on anecdotes about a "friend out East". We really need to know the score rate per Rolex dollar compared with the same amount of money used to purchase brothel vouchers in bulk. This is supposed to be the author's specialist subject (economics, I mean, obviously...).

    2. SVV Silver badge

      Re: Pussy Magnet

      And if having that sort of money to waste on this crap and flaunting it has so far not led to any success even before you buy one of these, you've probably had plenty of whacks from the idiot stick and the terminally obnoxious personality stick too.

      Yeh, and that "my friend out East" stuff too .... (I'm presuming he's not referring to Essex, although I could be wrong)

      Next week : Mail Order Filipino Brides - why the free market means that sad ugly rich twits exploiting poverty to satisfy their frustration at their own inadequacies is a wonderful thing that fits into all my beloved theories.

      1. BigFire

        Re: Pussy Magnet

        Further east. Tim have been working 'round the world doing his bit as the rare earth trader.

    3. Whit.I.Are

      Re: Pussy Magnet

      You'd be better off spending your 17k on having your "chap" extended by a couple of inches. You'll stand more chance of getting laid for a second time...

  14. goldcd

    "watch at $17,000, a little of the glory reflects back on all of the lowlier ones"

    Not sure that works for me.

    To me a nice basic watch would be a metal cased watch, with a leather strap. Maybe a metal strap for a smidge extra, if that's your thing.

    The Apple watch range/pricing seems to have been entirely constructed to make you feel annoyed and spend a bit more.

    Seemingly £300 for the basic plastic on plastic one and a mysterious £40 extra to get the slightly larger size. Just seems a bit strange - I remember when I paid more to make tech smaller..

    Then there's a £200 jump, if you want a metal case. Metal case isn't crazy-aspirational, it's "non-budget" (my pebble was plastic, was budget and cost me $99)

    So we've reached £500 for a metal watch. Not luxury range, but definitely 'being gouged'.

    But WAIT! Your £500+ watch still has a 'sport strap' - you want a 'nice' strap.. well now we're starting to look at a near doubling of the price. FOR A STRAP. Now they are lovely lovely straps - but..

    Gold ones are just silly though, I'll grant you.

    My guess is that a load of people will go in for the £300, talk themselves up to £500 for the metal case, and make a line straight to ebay for 3rd party strap, which I assume are being manufactured right now. They'll feel a bit miffed about the price they paid, but the watch will be lovely.

    Every day they strap it onto their wrists they'll feel a bit bad about that strap though.

    Worst feeling of regret will come in a couple of years when the new watch model is released. Most of us can talk ourselves into a phone upgrade - but I've never ever (Pebble aside) looked at my wrist and felt it was time for an upgrade.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "watch at $17,000, a little of the glory reflects back on all of the lowlier ones"

      It is win/win. If the iWatch is a sales disaster in the UK - that will be funny, and if it does better, say as popular as the Sinclair C5, even people living in far flung Scottish and Welsh villages will still likely be able to spot one. I feel giddy with anticipation. iWatch! Tee-hee.

  15. Grikath Silver badge

    Funny comparison...

    Given that in the parts of social strata where watches *are* worn to denote status, Rolex is something like the not-quite-right cousin the Family doesn't talk about.

  16. Yugguy

    The halo effect is not news

    High-end versions of car models help sell the basic ones.

  17. Ken 16 Silver badge
    Holmes

    Hear him! Hear him!

    Waistcoats are essential and indeed I choose my phones on the basis that they fit into my waistcoat watch pocket or the ticket pocket on my jacket.

    1. TitterYeNot
      Coat

      Re: Hear him! Hear him!

      Harrumph! Modernists! If one really wants to impress a young filly, let me tell you that nothing works quite as well as having one's staff and peasants form a human sun-dial in the grounds of one's mansion, so that one can tell the hour of day whilst giving the object of one's affection a tour of the battlements.

      Yours etc.,

      Lt Gen. Farqhar Fortescue (Retired)

      1. Philip Lewis

        Re: Hear him! Hear him!

        I am reliably informed that a Citation IV will remove the panties of even the most difficult wench!

    2. Philip Lewis

      Re: Hear him! Hear him!

      No iPhone 6 for me, for that reason alone! And here I was thinking that I was the last guy in a 3 piece suit!

      I am hoping Apple come to their collective senses and release an iPhone7 mini around the time I need to upgrade my current version

  18. Novex

    Mark Up

    Apple can put as much mark up above the all-in costs on an exclusive item like this watch as they like. It's a 'luxury' market that can pay whatever the company (in this case Apple) charge. Therefore there is no doubt in my mind that Apple make a higher profit out of that $17k over say 100 items, compared to the amount of profit they'll be making on the $300 version over say 10,000 items (and that will still be a decent profit even then).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mark Up

      I don't think they can.

      A few years ago (I am posting anon because this is a true story) my job on leaving the Forces was to wear a black suit and stand behind a (real) Arab Prince as he went about his business. This gentleman decided one day that I and my co-worker were insufficiently blinged up to lurk properly behind him. He therefore ordered his PA to make an appointment with the local TAG emporium in the Mall of the Emirates. She did so.

      Their response was to send a chap round with a briefcase chained to his arm containing one of everything they currently had for gentlemen of over six feet four with very large wrists. My boss decided he liked one of these but sadly, the obsequious representative had only brought one of them.

      To the car! he cried, and galloped off on a manner distressing to anyone tasked with stopping the silly bugger getting himself shot or stabbed so we quickly caught up. And we drove to the MotE. And by the time we arrived, TAG had a full (armed) escort ready for my boss (which caused problems because then we had to spend half an hour searching and vetting the security team) to take us to their store where we got food, drinks, long detailed questions about how we wear our watches, measured up, the small gouge marks on the back of my left hand made by the chrono button on my old watch were measured to the millimeter.... basically, we were there in the lap of luxury for nearly four hours. With a whole team of TAG staff looking after us. So that my boss could buy two watches.

      Now tell me, do you think TAG made a huge profit on that? Do you think Apple will provide that kind of service? Do you think Apple will get that kind of client if they don't?

      I left my watch behind when I quit. Wish I hadn't. It would have made a good deposit for a house.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Mark Up

        >Do you think Apple will provide that [TAG's] kind of service?

        Apple hired TAG's VP of Sales last summer, and poached a couple of fashion and luxury CEOs in 2013.* At the least, Apple knew what they didn't know and set about learning.

        As for service you describe, I would imagine it depends on the sales channel Apple uses for the gold version... an Apple concession within an existing luxury retailer doesn't seem implausible. The service level depends upon the dealer and their margin, and TAG do sell watches at many time the price of Apple's top offerings.... I dunno.

        *https://gigaom.com/2013/10/28/why-is-apple-hiring-luxury-fashion-execs-it-wants-to-be-a-lifestyle-brand/

  19. Mage Silver badge
    Coat

    looking at old watch formats

    Sorry, this is the only good bit.

    The rest reads too much like Apple apologist. and is waffle Not to your usual standard.

    Mines the one with a phone in the pocket.

  20. Paul Shirley

    Paying for sex?

    So basically you're strapping an "I couldn't get laid without money" sign on your wrist?

  21. TheFinn

    "Personally, I think it might about time to start looking at old watch formats. After all, you can pack a lot more electronics and a larger screen into a fob watch and who knows, maybe we can bring waistcoats back at the same time?"

    Yeah. Like we need more hipsters.

  22. jzlondon

    Goodness me, a readable article from Tim Worstall. It actually started at the beginning, finished at the end, and didn't assume arcane insider knowledge of the subject.

    Good job.

  23. Matthew 17

    It's the reason I bought a £5000 Mac Pro

    As it will increase the prestige of everyone who could only afford a Mini.

    You're welcome by the way.

    :)

  24. Obvious Robert

    Perceived value

    So your basic argument is, I should buy one to make shallow, vapid (albeit probably quite pretty) idiots shag me? Ok, I'm not currently in need of any extra marital thanks, and honestly the kind of woman I'd be likely to attract just because she fancies my watch, I seriously wouldn't want to know anyway.

    Now, as to perceived value for this thing. Most expensive jewellery holds its value, because it's made of something rare and there has been craftsmanship involved in creating it. I don't buy it (because I can't afford it) but I appreciate not only why its expensive, but crucially why it will remain expensive. It's an investment as much as anything else, in many cases the value will actually increase over time.

    By contrast, this thing is churned out in a factory, and will be replaced in a year's time by the improved, faster more functional model and no one will want this one any more. If Apple made a $17k gold iPhone in 2007, would anyone pay even a fraction of that for it second hand now? Of course not, 2007 iPhones are barely functional compared to what became available just a few years later. Any residual interest in it would be as museum piece, a collectable curiosity and certainly not of any use. I know you can get custom iPhones covered in diamonds which is almost as stupid, but at least in those cases the diamonds themselves hold their value and can potentially be repurposed. As the article points out, there's only something like $500 worth of gold in this watch, anyone even considering paying $17k for it literally has money to throw away. We're not talking $17k for what will become an heirloom, we're talking $17k for something that's essentially disposable.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Perceived value

      In a sea of vitriol, your comment stands alone for common sense, and whilst true, the Gold watch will still have actual value when the world has moved on to 2.0, due to the very nature of the materials it's made with.

      Now, this value is very much dependant on just how much gold is used….

    2. Ossi

      Re: Perceived value

      "So your basic argument is, I should buy one to make shallow, vapid (albeit probably quite pretty) idiots shag me?"

      I don't think he's arguing that you "should" do that. I think he's arguing that people "do" do that.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Perceived value

        But he is also saying that we should care what such people do. Personally, I couldn't give a tinker's cuss what such people get up to as long as I'm not forced to share their presence.

      2. h4rm0ny

        Re: Perceived value

        >>"I don't think he's arguing that you "should" do that. I think he's arguing that people "do" do that."

        But he's also arguing it without any context of whether it is a good way of advertising ones wealth or not. The point was made earlier that nature is filled with frivolous resource usage to attract mates - the example of peacock tails was given. However, human beings are the most intelligent animals we know (cynical jokes can be inserted here if you wish). Even when we are extravagant we require rationalizations for ourselves. Someone could demonstrate their wealth by setting fire to $17,000 dollars in front of other people. That would not earn them respect, they'd be derided for it and considered crass by the huge majority of people including other wealthy people.

        When someone orders a £500 bottle of wine or spends £5,000 on a TAG watch, it's accompanied by some waffle about how great and brilliant the quality is in some way. This quality may or may not justify the actual expense but there is a rationalization that is used. Even if the fig leaf is quite small sometimes.

        The point is that yes - conspicuous consumption exists, but it is best done in a direction where society will be impressed because you are obtaining something that most of the rest can't afford but would like. Spending it in a direction where the rest can't afford but don't care - that doesn't net you the same returns. And it is my contention that the iWatch falls into this category. It blatantly does not compete with true luxury watches as a luxury watch itself. Similarly there are other products out there that are better than it as a fitness device (Microsoft's Band is demonstrably better in this regard) or a wrist computer (the Android devices have the edge here, imo). That leaves design aspect and as jewellery, it very definitely loses out to more classic luxury watches.

        TL;DR: You could demonstrate your ability to throw around money by buying a Segway to ride around on, but rich people don't try to look cool by doing this. It matters not only that you show off your wealth, but how you do it.

  25. JDX Gold badge

    What's the gold worth?

    Has anyone got any idea what weight of gold is actually used in a solid gold Watch, and it's raw value as gold?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: What's the gold worth?

      http://www.ebay.com/gds/How-Much-Gold-Is-Really-In-A-Rolex-Watch-/10000000001632748/g.html

      The total value of the pure 24kt. gold in this Rolex President is $963.27.

      Case ring weights 18.5 grams. Contains 13.875 grams of pure gold. It has a value of $178.43.

      Case back weighs 7.21 grams. Contains 5.41 grams of pure gold. It has a value of $69.57.

      Bezel weighs 5.30 grams. Contains 3.98 grams of pure gold. It has a value of $51.18.

      The bracelet weighs 68.85 grams. Contains 51.64 grams of pure gold. It has the most value at $664.09.

  26. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Meh

    Coming soon...

    The gold-plated luxury edition of iTunes... (spent 2 hours today fighting with that POS so had to mention it)

  27. Spiracle

    Fobbed off

    Personally, I think it might about time to start looking at old watch formats. After all, you can pack a lot more electronics and a larger screen into a fob watch...

    You might not have long to wait.

    1. Simon Harris Silver badge

      Re: Fobbed off

      That is a quite beautiful thing.

      I want one now!

      1. Naughtyhorse

        Re: Fobbed off

        gorgeous watch/phone thing.

        could you let me know what happened after the twat reviewing it referred to it being 'very unique' i have to switch off when that sort of thing happens.

  28. Palpy
    Coat

    Insecurity and sex

    A recent study found that insecure males seek sex more often than self-confident ones. As I recall, the study was done on carrion beetles, so surely it would apply to Rupert Murdoch.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "As I recall, the study was done on carrion beetles..."

      Carrion Beetles: Is that the one where Sid James tries to start a rock band whilst making continual jokes about Barbara Windsor's castanets?

  29. Tromos

    How long before...

    ...genuine Apple gold watches are available at a quarter of the price when someone realises you can buy the 300 dollar jobbie and re-case it?

    1. Whit.I.Are

      Re: How long before...

      Or just gold plate it...

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not intended for you

    A number of articles in the tech press elsewhere indicate the high priced iWatch's aren't really intended for the Western market but are aimed more at China where there are people who have the money who will pay those kind of prices for this kind of thing.

    1. Francis Vaughan

      Re: Not intended for you

      Exactly.

      I remain somewhat bemused by all the comments that for the most part totally miss this. You won't see a gold Apple Watch in most western countries from one month to the next. They will sell out in China.

      Indeed the Apple Watch has been noted to be much more suited to Asian use patterns - and will probably generally sell better there.

      The question no-one seems to have asked. Is the watch upgradable? There is no reason why the case should not be capable of taking the version 2 electronics. It looks very much as if the external interfaces are intended to be consistent for a very long time, so there should be no good reason why it can be upgraded. Upgrade might cost about the same as a new base version, but why would you care?

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Not intended for you

        Since when have Apple done anything to encourage things to be upgradable, rather than disposable? From changing form factor to type, size, and layout of connectors. My money is on the iWatch 2.0 having a different form factor (thinner, and with a different aspect ratio) for starters.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: Not intended for you

          Since when have Apple done solid-gold products for the luxury market?

  31. Maurice Walshe

    £13K for a watch

    That is a starter watch for a young banker after he or she gets their first small bonus :-)

  32. damworker

    Casio vs Douglas Adams

    Any watch that's mechanical is about status. Casio's F-91W, the £5 watch of choice for suicide bombers everywhere (google it) has a stated accuracy of 30 seconds per month. A Rolex will be lucky to do less than 90 seconds and the casio has all sorts of extra features not least the ability to throw it away when it gets broken. Of course,a radio linked solar watch would be totally accurate and work for 5 years at least and still cost less than it costs to service a Rolex. Presumably an Apple watch is very accurate.

    Douglas Adams said humans were "so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea" and the the problem for Apple is that they are selling a digital watch. They have to make this look like bling.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Casio vs Douglas Adams

      I mostly see the F-91W being worn by students in wealthy parts of town. It's a sign that you have, at great expense, gone travelling around the world and didn't want to be mugged by skint locals.

      For the terrorists, they just want a cheap, accurate watch that is available everywhere, since the people making bomb instructions for idiots want the instruction to be idiot-proof; they don't want a moron having to work out if is a late 2009 F-91W or the 2012 version with a reversed polarity flux capacitor.*

      *A watch is a machine for telling the time, and time machines have flux capacitors, right?

  33. Simon Harris Silver badge

    I'll pass on the expensive version

    The Sapphire and Steel version will do fine for me...

    providing it comes with Joanna Lumley.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: I'll pass on the expensive version

      JL has certainly kept her value a lot longer than anything Apple have ever produced.

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: I'll pass on the expensive version

        Perhaps they could do a lady's model with David McCallum.

  34. big_D Silver badge

    Douglas Adams

    So, Apple has neatly summed up to themes from Douglas Adams' Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy:

    "People are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea."

    And:

    "This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movement of small green pieces of paper, which was odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy."

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quid pro quo

    The same kind of maxim for Rolex of 'luxury' has to apply for Apple and 'wannabe'

    Clear difference here is that you're not going to get ANY kind of Rolex for less than $400, unlike the Apple iWortcha. Apple are in the 'wannabe' business, not the luxury business. Unless an apple device has been fondled by someone important in its creation, it's just a pile of shit within 5 years. The Rolex, on the other hand is likely to appreciate in the medium term and certainly not depreciate that much.

    It's a sign of global aspiration and narrow-mindedness in our behaviour that supports the Apple (and similar) business. Being seen as not being part of the franchise of cool (masquerading as luxury/expensive) is too scary for much of the relatively solvent planet. The adjunct rise of the machines, er, geeks, er 'socially challenged young folk' means that style is more important than substance on just about every media touchpoint.

    I'm really still un-convinced that Apple will use this as anything more than a very expensive promotion exercise to put reduced instructions on the wrist that have been in the iPhone for Donkeys years. In keeping with such breathless promotion, I thought it would be worth sharing the highly entertaining breathlessness of one of their 'pop' users - Christy Turlington-Burns:

    from the Apple site "... I also like the solar face, because it shows the position of the sun during the day. That way I can figure out the coolest times to run."

    That must be re-assuring whilst in Africa when you can't somehow tell that it's generally freakin' hot between dawn and dusk. Or that Morning and Evenings are cooler than the in-between daytime with eerie regularity. Or that your skin and eyesight are talking to your brain in Anglo-Saxon with the rest of the supporting information, too.

    Yes, more money than sense, less than about luxury I feel.

  36. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    It's quite simple

    This will appeal to arseholes. It will attract to them women who like arseholes. Nobody who is not an arsehole wants to be around that sort of woman anyway. As far as I'm concerned, they can all disappear up their own...

    As much as I dislike Apple, good on them from extracting money from those who do not deserve to have it.

  37. stucs201

    It has a compatibility problem with it's target market.

    I'll believe there is a market for an expensive and blingy phone accessory.

    But isn't much of that market going to want it to work with their expensive and blingy Vertu phone?

  38. sjsmoto

    This all reminds me of the $1,000 "I Am Rich" iPhone app.

    http://most-expensive.com/iphone-app

  39. Sporkinum
    Gimp

    Lux Interior

    The whole idea of a watch with a Lux Interior makes me Cramp.

    1. Dave Walker

      Re: Lux Interior

      I was right on your heels for that!

      Bravo

  40. Mr.Mischief

    The $17000 is to make the other watches look like good value

    In restaurant menus, they have the prices of wine (for example):

    Most of them are priced around $40-60 for example except for one bottle that costs $400. The cost of the wine in most cases is $10 at most.

    The reason the $400 one exists is to make the $40-60 bottles look affordable. People come in, look at the price list and noticing the $400 bottle, think that the $40-60 ones are a good alternative. And the house makes $30-50 a bottle.

    I would expect that the cost to produce the actual watch is probably around $50-100 at most. When you consider one model at $17000, suddenly $350 doesnt sound so expensive, although almost all Android Wear watches are better and less than $350

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Change in society?

    Once upon a time the point of "luxury" goods was that they lasted - Terry Pratchett's example being the expensive boots that, if you could afford them up front, would cost less over the years than multiple cheap ones. (There was also a Jak cartoon of a load of Rolls-Royces in a car park with one shiny new one, and another owner remarking "I told him that 1917 model wouldn't last".

    It was the same thing with consumables like port - your grandfather bought it when it was cheap and laid it down for you so you didn't have to buy it when it was expensive. It was demonstrating the age, respectability and taste of your family.

    We now seem to have reached the level of inequality at which longevity goes out of the window. Bankers from comprehensive schools swill £750 bottles to prove they can. The gold iWatch is the ultimate end of this process; something very expensive with a short life, simply to show how rich someone is. We've reached the stage at which some of the rich are so contemptuous of the rest of us that they throw money away to show how little it means to them, while the old style aristocrat knew the value of money, and had the expensive clothes and shoes repaired instead of just throwing them away.

    So the iWatch may be a sign that capitalism is reaching a breaking point, but if we are lucky it will quickly flop in the market and we'll know that society may be going to hell, but it isn't near the edge of the cliff just yet.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Change in society?

      >Once upon a time the point of "luxury" goods was that they lasted

      What d'ya mean? History is chockablock with examples of extravagent luxury goods. The eggs made by Faberge, the rare cloth dyes and gold thread for your clothing, gold statues of yourself.

      In that context, the gold iWatch is not a sign of society's breaking point, it is just yet another drop in the rain storm of history.

      Yeah, once upon a time it was expensive to make durable goods... but modern manufacturing techniques allow inexpensive objects to be functional and durable. The manufacturing tolerances on any cola can, for example, are just incredible. We all can now afford sharper knives, better shoes and more intricate toys than any king of old.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Change in society? -@Dave126

        >Once upon a time the point of "luxury" goods was that they lasted

        What d'ya mean? History is chockablock with examples of extravagent luxury goods. The eggs made by Faberge, the rare cloth dyes and gold thread for your clothing, gold statues of yourself.

        Er, yes, that's my point. You've just listed some very durable luxury goods from the past, and I was saying that luxury goods in the past were usually durable.

        Clothing with gold thread wasn't intended for mucking out the pigsty, it was to be worn occasionally on ceremonial occasions. That's why some of that has lasted to appear in the V&A whereas rustic smocks of the same period generally haven't. The Fabergé [sic] eggs and other artefacts are still around in vast numbers. And people who had gold (more often gilded) statues made of themselves intended them to last. Monumentum exigere aere perennius, said Virgil, but few people nowadays even know what he wrote, while there is plenty of Roman bronze still in museums.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Change in society? -@Dave126

          Fair enough, I didn't choose my examples well, except that they weren't 'functional' objects. Still, there are many examples of luxury goods in history that didn't last long - Cleopatra's baths of asses milk, rare foods and spices, gladiators and otherwise useful slaves killed for entertainment. The bottom line is that they were usually displays of wealth power over lesser mortals.

  42. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Angel

    Fryup

    How long before Stephen Fry is spotted wearing one of these?

  43. NozeDive

    "HA! You're WRONG"

    \__ I read that part in Richard Ayoade's voice.

  44. Spiff66

    Yellow gold is pure gold

    Wrong. The gold edition is 18 carat gold which means it contains gold and other metals including likely silver. 18 carat rose gold contains gold, silver and copper in addition to other materials. 24 carat gold is 23,75 carats usually of gold. Pretty bloody useless for a watch and strap as its a bit too bendy. So an 18 carat rose gold item has the same amount of gold as 18 carat yellow gold. I dunno, kids these days.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Yellow gold is pure gold

      That's not strictly true, as the carat measure is done by weight, not molar amount. It depends what the gold is alloyed with. The atomic weight of Gold is 197, silver is 107, copper is 64, so 18 carat gold alloyed with copper contains significantly less gold than 18 carat gold alloyed with silver.

  45. 404 Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Seiko 5 Kinetic

    Paid $124 in 2006 as a present to myself when I started my own business. It was kind of hard to find at that time, I'd been wanting one since my Dad bought his Timex autowinder back in the 70's.

    Never liked the Rolex line, I don't like showing my cards publicly, I also understand they don't keep very good time either. Those Pateks? Time travel had better be one of their functions, I could get a nice sized farm for one of those wonders of science*.

    The Apple watch? Nope. I don't like *any* of these so-called smart watches - the health tracking software, combined with cloud reporting, plus our lords and protectors of all the data at the NSA - not willing to pay good money for something when criminals get the ankle bracelet kind for free...

    * currently more excited over the Raspberry Pi 2 kit UPS just dropped off ;)

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Real men get laid regardless of bling

    Although I agree with the general point (lessness) put forth in the article I feel I need to make a counter argument. Since I can't find a way to put it more politely I will post this in hope that it be understood as a reflection on what we've become, rather than a sexist or abusive comment.

    IMHO, if a man needs bling to get laid I'd argue he's not a man. I never wore any bling, yet I got laid plenty before I settled down. And a chick that puts out only because of a man's bling is just that. A chick. Probably lays eggs and shits all over her place too.

  47. Christopher Edwards

    "One friend of mine who worked out East (before his marriage, of course, you understand) said that his gold Rolex was the cheapest and most effective love potion he'd ever managed to find - and its absence, at times, the best contraceptive he ever had."

    I'm so glad I'm not in your milieu. Those piss hats that form part of your circle of acquaintance whose sexual attractiveness is modulated by their wrist band must surely be some of the most pathetic creatures ever to have slivered their belly across the surface of the Earth.

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