Anyone who purchased the gold Apple Watch won’t get much for their $17,000.
The 18k watch, supposedly made with a “new” form of gold, was introduced in 2015 during the first round of Apple timepieces—and many saw it as Apple’s foray into the luxury goods industry, which was pushed by Apple’s then design guru, Jony Ive.
Several jewelers even carried it, and Apple got it onto the wrists of such celebrities as Beyoncé, Drake, and Karl Lagerfeld. Many wondered how Swiss watchmakers could compete with the world’s richest, and most famous, brand.
Less than a decade later, Apple has put the most expensive item in its watch lineup on its “obsolete” list, which means the company will no longer provide parts, repairs, or replacement services. That makes it a “$17,000 paperweight,” as MacWorld put it.
The gold edition—which was discontinued after a year—has been headed toward obsolescence for some time. In 2018, Apple said the watch would no longer work with its current software.
From the start, there were questions about how Apple would handle repairs and upgrades. And since sales of the $17,000 model were only “in the low tens of thousands,” according to one report, it apparently didn’t feel the need to come up with one.
Overall, Apple has sold a staggering 100 million watches. That doesn’t seem to have damaged the market for traditional high-end timepieces, and industry skeptics can take some comfort in last week’s announcement.
As Jean-Claude Biver, former head of LVMH’s watch division, put it: “Mechanical watches are eternal, whereas the Apple Watch—I got one for my birthday 10 days ago, my fourth—will become obsolete. A Royal Oak or Submariner still works and has value. Obsolescence cannot compete with eternity. Who competes with eternity? God, maybe.”
(Photo courtesy of Apple)
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