Why the Tech “Insiders” Don’t “Get” Apple Watch’s Pricing

I’ve been having a grand time watching the speculation around Apple Watch. While I doubt I’ll buy one (I’m simply not a regular watch wearer), the rumor mill is awesome. The high-end, real-gold “Edition” version is being rumored to cost anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000. What’s best is the assertion that Apple had better start ‘splaining itself when it comes to that price. After all, how can you possibly charge that much when the entry-level version is under $350?

I imagine that the point of the “Edition” version is that you can’t afford one. Apple doesn’t need to “justify” its difference in price from the entry-level $349 “Sport” model any more than American Express “justifies” the $4100 extra annual fee a Centurion Card commands over the Platinum Card. Sure, the Centurion has some extra perks, but not that many.

The justification is simply that most people can’t afford it, thus reserving the ultra-expensive model as a status icon for no other reason than most people can’t afford it. Celebrities will wear the “Edition” model. Maybe Woz will get one. But you won’t, and that’s why it’s “special.”

I wouldn’t be shocked if the Edition model isn’t even on display in stores for casual viewing. You’ll have to make an appointment, like in a fancy jewelry store. I mean, maybe not, but I could se them doing it.

This is pretty much how the luxury-goods market works. Why is a Rolex worth tens of thousands? It’s a Rolex. It’s not a markedly better watch than a Fossil, but it’s a Rolex. Why is a Porsche so expensive? Largely because it’s a Porsche, and people decided that’s what they’d pay for them. Plus, the panda-leather seats. It’s hardly shocking to see Apple go after that end of the market, given that they already command a top-market price based primarily on the strength of their brand.

It’s all got to be massively vexing to established luxury watch brands like Movado, Tag-Heur, and the like. I mean, the press isn’t going gaga wondering how much their next limited-edition timepiece is going to cost, and fretting that their won’t be a solid explanation for the high price.

It’s all deliciously giggly.

Now, where did I put my Mickey Mouse pocket watch…

2 thoughts on “Why the Tech “Insiders” Don’t “Get” Apple Watch’s Pricing

  1. Brett

    I think the sales channel will be the most interesting thing. Who wants reassurance about a multi thousand dollar fashion purchase from a bunch of dudes in blue jeans, sneakers, and t-shirt uniforms?

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