This is a fun topic that I'm thinking about today, what color is this dre- the Apple Watch. More specifically, the question of why should you/anyone/someone pay $10,000 for a watch? I actually have an answer for this and it's really simple. There is a large portion of the watch market dedicated purely to watches as status symbols and I know a lot about this because I know a few watch collectors and grew up with family friends in the jewelry business. The watch market is broken into four distinctive categories of watches (in my opinion). Oh and a quick side note, this isn't investment advice, so take what you read with a grain of salt, this is all vague easy to understand numbers simplified to highlight a point.
- Practical Watches ($1 to $100) - Seiko, Casio, Digital Watches, Mickey Mouse Watches
- Designer Watches ($100 to $1000+) - Coach, Michael Kors, Prada, Gucci, etc.
- High-End Collectable Watches ($1000+) - Tag Heuer, Rolex, Bvlgari, Tiffany, Chanel, Movado, Montblanc
- Status Symbol / Investment Watches ($5000+) - Rolex, Breitling, Hublot, Maurice, Omega, Jaeger-LeCoultre, High-end models of previous listed things (like Tag Heuer, Chanel, etc.).
- Practical watches are worn by that guys dad who is an engineer and he's got a five dollar watch on because when he goes to work on big machinery, it's likely to get lost and grinded to pieces and he for some reason doesn't carry a cellphone in 2015. Designer watches are often worn as fashion statements, generally including designs that are appealing or brand conscience (like you'd wear a matching Coach watch with a Coach purse). Generally people buy into them since they're around $200 and are for evening wear / fancy occasions.
Collectible watches are for people who want a status symbol but aren't ready to invest 1/10th or 1/5th their yearly salary on a watch. These are generally a few thousand and are found used in the sub-thousand category and make up the vast majority of status watches purchased by middle class families after years of success (or people going into debt to be dumb). The resale on these watches are generally at least half of what you put into them on eBay, but they're not bought to sold, they're generally bought to go with outfits or as a fashion statement, more of some kind of investment (since the watches average at $200 and luxury discounters will put them in your hands for $50~$100 usually, along with outlet stores).
Investment watches, at around 10k, are just to show off how much money you have since you're essentially wearing a bearer bond on your wrist. Ultimately, watches in this modern era are mainly for people who want to show other people how much money they're putting into a fashion accessory and watches at this range are essentially bearer bonds or heirlooms, passed down generation to generation composed of the finest artisan watch making that Humankind can muster. Often times, when sold, they'll actually sell for more. Some people buy art to hang in their homes that is the same type of investment, others put it on their wrist.
Anyway, the Apple watch for 10k (up to 17k) makes total sense, because they need to appeal to a demographic of watch wearers that want something of a status symbol and also want whatever convenience the watch brings into their lives. However, the joke here is that no, just because you say something is worth this much, it doesn't mean it's worth that much unless people put that value into it. A Rolex holds its value because the interior is a work of art, where the Apple watch is the same watch on the less expensive models, just with a small amount of gold and a leather band.
They've added the ability for the watches to basically be future proof in the sense the battery is serviceable, however, as the newer versions of the watch comes out, these older versions will deprecate and possibly lose value because they're not "new and hip." In "high fashion" most items maintain value or even gradually appreciate over time.
For instance, a Louis Vuitton bag you buy today, the retail price will appreciate in the store each year its for sale until its retired, at which point it becomes a collectors item. The same holds true for many watches, some watches like the Rolex Submariner are staples, but there are limited runs that are highly sought after for rarity and features.
A small iPad on your wrist isn't specifically of any interest and when the technology depreciates and it's old, it becomes basically a used BMW. It keeps losing price as you drive it off the lot, a large chunk of its value, then quickly deprecates down to some standard base value. So a $70k BMW today, 20 years from now will be worth less than $7k and continue down until there are so few of them left in "good/mint" condition and operable that they become a niche collectible, if there is a market for such a thing.
Anyway to the simple question of why Apple is selling a watch for a ridiculous amount of money - it's to appeal to the largest watch buying segment of people with too much money and too few places to shove it, so that they'll give up wearing their Rolex for this piece of overpriced tech. That is what I assume is the assumption, of course, it could also be targeted to Apple fans to clear out the last bit of credit they have on their Apple cards. As far as I am personally concerned, I don't see the worth, but I could be missing the bigger picture here.
If you're in the market for a $10k watch, I highly suggest not becoming an early adopter and seeing how the prices fluctuates. It could very well be a situation where the number of sales for these watches are so low that they become rare collectors items or within a month you could see them going for $5k and eventually end up in discount luxury outlets. Who knows!
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