Right so we all know the Apple Watch is out now but I want to come at this from a geek with some nice watchs point of view. Before I start I want to say as much as I bash aspects of the Watch I will probably end up with one, this post is more about the cost of the straps than anything else. Below is a bit of a brain dump of thoughts I had this morning about it.
About 12 years ago I inherited my dad's collection of watches. All of those watches are beautiful with a mixture of materials many are swiss made all of them items that I can keep and pass down to my kids one day.
This has made me someone that can appreciate watches and the skill it takes to make them. I am also one of the few millennials that actually wears a watch mainly as a piece of jewelry than a timepiece. I am also a geek who wears ugly devices like the original Pebble every now and then and a nicer wrist watch for say going out to dinner or client meetings. From the watches that I have bought myself my daily driver is this D&G watch which I bought about 6 years ago for about £230.00 a fair amount of money especially when today it is worth about £110.00 but still considering I wear it a lot and have only changed the battery about 3 or 4 times. For that £230.00 I got a watch which tells the time just as well as it did about 6 years ago has had no updates minimal maintenance and goes well with pretty much anything I wear (yes thats a magenta hoody) with its stainless steel body and strap.
Part of having a watch collection is that you have multiple watches for different events and occasions with different styles and functions. Apple has tried to get past this with its switchable bands however it is so cost prohibitive it blows my mind. I am not that fussed about the price of the Watch it’s the price of the straps that I think is crazy.
Lets look at the 42mm model with 2 different bands:
Thats a difference of £340.00!! You are paying that amount for a link bracelet mass made in a factory. And lets not forget that the watch the main part of the device if we deduct the cost of the band would be about £480 so the stainless steel bracelet costs about 70% of the watch itself. Its almost like buying a whole new watch. This means the plan of having multiple bands doesn't look like a good idea as the watch would get easily close to to the 4 figure cost and I don’t know if they will be compatible with the next version of the Apple Watch. If I knew they would keep this mechanism I would probably feel better about investing in the different straps.
For £299.00 you can get a Swiss made Mondaine watch one of my favourites with such a beautiful design Apple even copied it. And that is for less that the cost of the Apple Watch strap.
This expensive pricing can only be to price people out because I don't think its the true value of the strap even if you include perceived value. At the end of the day most millennials don't even wear watches which means you are going to want multiple bracelets for different occasions.
What would be the cost of the watch then if we wanted say 2 bands? The cheapest way of doing it is buying the link watch and the rubber strap seperate coming in at a lovely £898.00!! Maybe I am being unfair choosing the 42mm metal link but if you go for the black finished Apple Watch that cost would be £988.00 as close as it makes no difference to a grand! Want something you will cherish and not find many people wearing? Get this from Meistersinger for about £1,000.00 they have won many design awards and it is just gorgeous!
Now I wouldn’t mind if Apple had created a watch that was one of the best looking things in it’s category. Like the Macbook Air and now the Macbook there is nothing like it. It is the most beautiful laptop by quite a margin and I am lusting after that Macbook (heads up to my IT department my Air is going to have a nasty accident the day that laptop comes out). However with the Apple watch it is in my opinion not the most beautiful smartwatch (I am not including traditional watches as that wouldn’t be fair) by a big enough margin to warrant such a massive price. I would argue that Asus and Motorola have made some beautiful devices both for around the £199.00 price. No they are not as beautiful as say the Apple Watch but damn they are close and cost way less.
The one saving grace is that hopefully there will be a massive range of straps from third parties from Louis Vuitton to hopefully a cheaper metal band that I can buy. This might mean that going for the Sport might be the best option as that will cost £339.00 which is a little easier to stomach.
Now I don’t want to sound completely down on the Watch I think its an interesting product and you can tell a hell of a lot of effort went into designing it and in the chosen materials. As I am using an iPhone at the minute I will probable end up with the Apple Watch with the Milanese loop unless Google opens up Android Wear to work on iOS as I want a round face watch plus there is just more choice. The reason I will more than likely get one is because
a) Its my job to know about these things and try them plus
b) I am just a geek for this stuff, you will be able to tell who works in tech by the fact they are wearing an Apple watch.
At the end of the day we are the geeks, the innovators, we are the guinea pigs and the fools with that curiosity to try new things and understand that it might not work first time as we all know the real Watch you want is next years.