Courtesy Mervis Diamond Importers
Mervis Diamond Importers, creator of the $20,000 diamond-encrusted iPad, is now offering the $30,150 diamond-encrusted Apple Watch.
Of course, the standard-issue $349 Apple Watch hasn’t come out yet, so neither has Mervis’ diamond one. But the company is happy to take your preorder for shipment in mid-2015. The design features eight rows of round brilliant-cut diamonds (15.14 cts. t.w.) set in a shared-prong tennis bracelet.
The piece is another attempt by the Washington, D.C.–based retail chain to capitalize on Apple buzz—and by all accounts it’s working. The watch has garnered the attention of celebrity and tech blogs as well as international publications like the Huffington Post.
“You have to strike when the iron is hot,” Jonathan Mervis told JCK’s Rob Bates in 2010, when the company unveiled its diamond-encrusted iPad concept. “And right now, Apple is hot.” Four years later, it still is.
We caught up with Mervis to chat about the watch—and see if anyone had preordered it.
“We’ve had some inquiries from all over the world,” he says. “Many people are just so curious about all the specs and want information on every detail. It’s hard to tell how many of them are serious shoppers. There are super fans out there for the hottest tech gadgets though, and so I wouldn’t be surprised to sell five or so.”
Even if a single order doesn’t come in, however, the time it took Mervis to mock up the concept has already paid off with press and free advertising. The stunt even brought back an old client.
“I’ll tell you one anecdote that makes me smile personally,” Mervis says. “A former client of ours who used to live in D.C. and purchased a number of large pieces from us has since moved to Texas. He’s been there for years, and we do no advertising in Texas. We’re off his radar and he’s off of ours. But then he read our story online on a tech blog and it reminded him about Mervis and my father specifically. He realized he needed a Christmas gift. So he called the store, tracked down my father, whom he remembered fondly, and bought a pair of 2 ct. studs. We shipped them out within the hour, and everyone’s happy. The client says he visits D.C. every now and then, and we promised him a whiskey on the rocks next time he’s in town. We don’t sell whiskey and we don’t sell watches. Literally, our store has zero watches, and we focus on diamond jewelry only. But we sell personality, and we believe in relationships. Sometimes you need to spice up your relationships with something different and unexpected.”
Doing something different has always been a part of the Mervis Diamond Importers story. The business was founded by Zed and Ronnie Mervis, Jonathan’s uncle and father. “My father built our company’s brand in the D.C. market with his Indiana Jones-esque radio ads, very dramatically telling stories about going deep in the mines looking for the world’s finest diamonds,” says Mervis. “Our brand story was different, and it stood out. People remember it and come into our stores impersonating his South African accent and particular lines of his stories.”
“Think Different” is Apple’s famous slogan, but Jonathan Mervis and Mervis Diamond Importers show that it is just as applicable in any business—even diamonds.