In the wake of the launch of the Apple Watch, we really want to know, how much of a game changer is this? We broke it down by three primary factors:
- The Style-Conscious Consumer – At its low end, the Apple Watch’s Sport model features a fluoroelastomer band to pair with its face. At its high end, the Apple Watch is made of an 18k gold alloy with a fashionable, handcrafted band made of leather or metal. Arguably, the square face, measuring 1.5” x 1.3” and nearly half an inch thick, is chunkier than most fashion-forward jewelry items and accessories on the market.
- The Price-Conscious Consumer – The entry-level model of Apple Watch is going to price out a significant portion of the total addressable market. However, for consumers that lack price sensitivity, the Apple Watch adds a new option to what was otherwise a limited selection of traditional timepieces. For consumers with a lower price ceiling, the Pebble watch will continue to be a viable option in the short term.
- The Feature-Conscious Consumer – The Apple watch has a vast array of apps available to it at launch, as well as a broad range of customizations in how users can interact with it. Moreover, it monitors its user’s vital signs and other data, meaning that users can make lifestyle changes around its advice if they so choose. For those already sporting an iPhone 5 or newer, an Apple Watch slots nicely into their current tech mix.
Either way, there’s no ignoring the Apple Watch – especially if you’re a luxury brand. While it may be easy to dismiss Apple as a luxury brand, many consumers view it as such, in keeping with their own self-image. Certainly Apple is pricing and positioning itself as a luxury brand with a focus on individualism. They’ve been hiring executives with pedigrees out of prestige brands the world over, including TAG Heuer, Yves Saint Laurent, and Burberry.
It’s still too early to tell if the Apple Watch is going to make ripples or waves, but one thing is absolutely clear: ignoring Apple will spell trouble for anyone in the watchmaking and accessories market. “If I [were] a watch brand competing in the under $500 market,” said Jordan Ficklin, executive director of American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute, “I would certainly be paying close attention.”