There has been a lot of buzz about the 18K gold Apple Watch. Although some has been focused on its (brilliant) use of a ceramic composite gold, which essentially allows 18K gold to have less gold in it, some attention has been merely on the fact that Apple is making this $10K watch at all.
There is no denying that watches have forever been status- or at least fashion items – an extension of wardrobe or jewelry. Certainly it is possible that Apple could have the power to democratize the watch in away similar to their phones, but it could also be a jumping off point where they could turn their phones into (even more of) a fashion item.
As an appreciator of antique wristwatches and a mobile guy, I decided to look back at other watches that introduced new technology- and you know what, Apple seems to be following the playbook. Look at these other history-making watches introduced with high-priced models in gold.
1) The Hamilton Electric was the first production battery powered watch. Introduced in 1957, with an iconic asymmetrical design by Richard Arbib, the Hamilton Ventura debuted in- 14K gold. This watch essentially used the concept of an electromagnetic energy to replace a mainspring of a watch, but kept the rest of the movement intact ($200 in 1957 dollars).
2) Next up was the Bulova Accutron Alpha. This model used a battery to vibrate a tuning fork, and move its hands. This first-ever electronic watch introduced in 1960 had an interesting case shape, no crown, a see through dial and yes it was made from 14K gold.
3) The first Quartz watch, the Seiko Astron, debuted in gold- at over $2K in 1970’s dollars.
The 18K Pulsar 901 Calculator Watch cost $4000 in 1975- or $18,000 in 2015 dollars4) Same goes for the first LED watch,the P1 by Pulsar, at $2,100 in 1972. And yes, even Pulsar’s first calculator watch, the 901 of 1975 had a debut in 18K gold selling for $4,000 ($18,000 in 2015)
It may be easy to dismiss the new technology introduced in these decades later, but for each of these-expensive at the time, the appeal was to early adopters, many of whom also wanted to have the best and were willing to spend for it. Frankly, it may actually reduce the dissonance in replacing that high-end swiss watch with one from Apple- at least on the weekends to start.
No doubt, there is a little similarity in Apple's approach.
(c) 2017, Jay Robin, Inc. All Rights Reserved