Before Apple unveiled its first smartwatch earlier this year, its predecessors like the Pebble watch were merely tech gadgets made to accompany and facilitate the use of our smartphones. Although Pebble did sell 1 million of its watches, the idea of a smartwatch didn’t seem appealing or useful.
Of course, if Apple were to create a new category for its products, the tech giant understood it had to integrate the luxury aspect of a watch with its practical use. Three watches were unveiled at different price points with a variety of bands you could couple the watch with. This time around, Apple also added fashion reporters to their keynote guest list which is usually exclusively reserved to tech reporters.
Reactions were mixed regarding the new product. In terms of price, the most expensive apple watch costs $17000 and bands are also fairly expensive, but this strategy was put in place by Apple to compete with the largest luxury watch retailers who sell watches at around the same price points.
The practical use of the new smart watch also made people sceptical, since it remains the smart watch’s main selling point. Apple, from the iPhone to the iPad, has managed to get its products from luxuries to necessities in everyday life, and after almost a year, the apple watch has remained a luxury.
The President of Tag Heuer, a luxury watch retailer and subsidiary of LVMH, was quoted saying “who wants to buy a $10,000 – $20,000 watch, that becomes obsolete after five or 10 years?” And he hits the problem spot on. Tech products are updated every year and last year’s model instantaneously becomes obsolete whereas in the luxury industry, new is not necessarily better. The technology behind the Apple Watch will eventually become outdated, therefore in the long run, a traditional timepiece would outlive evolving technologies.
Nevertheless, Apple’s advertising strategy for the luxury watch was very well executed. Karl Lagerfeld, creative director for Channel and Fendi and one of the most respected fashion icons to date, posted the above picture of an exclusive solid gold apple watch on his wrist. Many influential people were spotted wearing the Apple Watch including fashion icons like Anna Wintour and Pharell, artists like Drake, Kanye West, Kid Cudi, Beyonce, athletes like Tom Brady and government officials including Prince Andrew, and the Russian Prime Minister. Celebrities today play a huge role in fashion advertising and Apple orchestrated its campaign perfectly, appealing to the artistic minds as well as business professionals.
Apple also collaborated with Hermes recently where the luxury company created leather bands made specifically for the Apple Watch.
To compete with the new trend, Tag Heuer yesterday announced its own smartwatch at a low price point compared to its traditional watches to adapt the luxury product to the continuously developing tech industry.
So far the Apple Watch has the received the highest customer satisfaction rating of any other Apple product at 97% but we’ll have to wait and see if the smartwatch can stand the test of time.