Apple's Hook

Immediately following the keynote announcing the Apple Watch it seemed like there was an awful lot of chatter about the Edition. Whether you were outraged by the price, intrigued by how it would be sold, or desperately trying to understand it's place in the lineup, one thing was clear – the Apple Watch Edition was an interesting prospect for Apple and somewhat of a departure from their usual product line-up. But for all the talk following the keynote, nobody seems to be talking about it now following its release.

It's interesting that this is the case and of course the reason why is obvious, but then it always was. We all knew that only a select few people would buy this high-end model, so why did we talk about it so much, knowing all the while that after the launch we'd all be talking about our models? The answer is because the Edition has largely served it purpose already. Apple has capitalised on it's luxury brand and used the Edition as the hook to lure in not the tech geeks, but the fashion and style conscious. Much like Chanel uses $5,000 handbags to sell $50 perfumes, Apple has expertly positioned the Edition as a marketing tool for the lower-end models. They've been able to this because Apple is already perceived as luxurious, or at least a purveyor of affordable luxury, something the likes of Samsung or Motorola could only ever dream of doing.


So what about the select few that will buy the Apple Watch Edition? What of them? Well, there’s an interesting element at play here as well. Apple will be competing with the likes of Rolex for a position on these people’s wrists; and beyond the obvious differences between the Edition and a Rolex there’s something a little less obvious: the Edition sticks out like a sore thumb, if someone is wearing one it’s pretty easy to tell, and on top of that people generally know just how expensive it is, roughly at least. This is in contrast to a Rolex where — depending on the model — it’s not always easy for someone to know that you’re wearing a Rolex specifically. Sure, someone that’s really into watches will probably tell right away, but joe public likely won’t know the difference between it and a regular watch. This raises an interesting social implication. 

Maybe you’re the type of person that would quite happily boast about their wealth and wear it on your sleeve. Sports stars and hip-hop stars1 immediately spring to mind as people that would fall into this category, they’re hardly concerned about advertising their wealth by wearing the Edition. But there are celebrities that maybe don’t want to seem so out of touch: music stars with a working-class image and celebrities that are heavily involved in humanitarian work, for example. These types of celebrity would probably be wise to stay away from the Apple Watch Edition, it will be interesting to so if they do.

1. I wonder if these types of celebrity would also buy a hypothetical $50,000 gold iPhone