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The ceramic Apple Watch Edition dated back to 2014, despite the high-end model not launching until 2016 with the Apple Watch Series 2, according to newly-shared images of a prototype casing.

ceramic-apple-watch-series-0-2.jpg

The images, shared on Twitter by the prototype collector known as "DongleBookPro," show a prototype white ceramic original Apple Watch casing that was manufactured in 2014. The device runs internal software for testing purposes and it was made long before the first release of watchOS, but it looks largely identical to the white ceramic Apple Watch Edition that launched in 2016.

ceramic-apple-watch-series-0-3.jpg

The images of the 2014 prototype show that Apple had reached a far stage of development on the ceramic Apple Watch Edition, but for unclear reasons, the company elected to only offer the original Apple Watch Edition in 18-carat gold, and held back the ceramic casing to replace the gold version in the lineup when the Series 2 launched in 2016.

ceramic-apple-watch-series-0-1.jpg

Apple marketed the ceramic white Apple Watch Edition as a high-end option starting at $1,249, owing to its extremely unique finish.

At the time, Apple lauded the ceramic casing as strong, light, and scratch-resistant, being four times as hard as the stainless steel finish, while also featuring a "pearly, lustrous finish" that is extremely resistant to scratches and tarnishing.
The process of creating the Apple Watch Edition case begins with a high-strength zirconia powder that's combined with alumina to achieve its rich, white color. Each case is then compression molded, sintered, and polished using a diamond slurry, which results in a remarkably smooth surface and an exquisite shine. With this precise level of workmanship, every Apple Watch Edition case takes days to make.

Apple introduced a white ceramic Apple Watch Edition with the Series 2, and went on to expand the ceramic options by introducing a gray version with the Series 3. While there was no ceramic Apple Watch Edition for Series 4 models, Apple revived the high-end white ceramic Edition model for the Series 5. With the latest Apple Watch Series 6, there is again no ceramic version, with the Edition models featuring a cheaper titanium casing only.

Some fans of the unique white finish hope to see a ceramic option for the upcoming Apple Watch Series 7, which is seemingly made more likely by the alternating availability of the model in recent years, but there is no word on whether such a casing will again become available with the launch of the Series 7 later this year.

Article Link: Apple Tested Ceramic Apple Watch Edition Two Years Before It Launched
 
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CWallace

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Aug 17, 2007
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The images of the 2014 prototype show that Apple had reached a far stage of development on the ceramic Apple Watch Edition, but for unclear reasons, the company elected to only offer the original Apple Watch Edition in 18-carat gold, and held back the ceramic casing to replace the gold version in the lineup when the Series 2 launched in 2016.

I expect that reason can be explained with two words: Jony Ive.

I would not be surprised if he wanted the gold to be the only launch Edition model and a "cheap" (at a tenth the price) ceramic model would be seem as "devaluing the brand".
 
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ian87w

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Feb 22, 2020
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I expect that reason can be explained with two words: Jony Ives.

I would not be surprised if he wanted the gold to be the only launch Edition model and a "cheap" (at a tenth the price) ceramic model would be seem as "devaluing the brand".
I believe that's the real case. I believe there was an article that mentioned Ives' actual preference for the Apple Watch to be a really luxury watch, and pushed for the gold version.
 
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calzon65

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Jul 16, 2008
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I love the Apple watch, especially for how much technology has been compressed into such a small space, but I don't think of luxury when I think of the Apple watch or any of the other similar watches (i.e., wrist computers). For luxury watches, I think of Rolex or Patek Philippe. Not because the exorbitant price, but for the intricate workings and finishes of those watches, which in some cases requires over 1,000 hours to create.
 
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fernelius

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Mar 24, 2007
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I expect that reason can be explained with two words: Jony Ives.

I would not be surprised if he wanted the gold to be the only launch Edition model and a "cheap" (at a tenth the price) ceramic model would be seem as "devaluing the brand".
I wonder if the delayed release (if it was ever intended for the initial release) might be related to problems getting the manufacturing and formulation process perfected. The third photo in the article shows a rather substantial cracking of the ceramic. This might have been an environmental test model having experienced more than normal stress, but it might be a sign of a step along the perfection process as well.
 
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votdfak

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Mar 15, 2011
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I've only ever bought the Sport Aluminum ones. The "Premium" ones aren't worth the price.

I've bought stainless steel this year and sapphire display already picked up a scratch, and I only bought it because I hate scratched AW displays. Facepalm Apple.
 
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skitidetdu

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Mar 7, 2013
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I've bought stainless steel this year and sapphire display already picked up a scratch, and I only bought it because I hate scratched AW displays. Facepalm Apple.
The Safire used Apple Watch is not pure enough to be as scratch resistant as Safire in "real" watches.
 
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alexhardaker

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Sep 12, 2014
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I've bought stainless steel this year and sapphire display already picked up a scratch, and I only bought it because I hate scratched AW displays. Facepalm Apple.
I got the series 6 stainless steel & can’t see a scratch on mine. My main concern with buying an expensive AW model is the longevity due to software support etc. The ceramic one isn’t worth the money because of it. I bet they don’t keep their price well either
 
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4jasontv

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Jul 31, 2011
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Apple Watches are real, I can assure you. We have a whole forum dedicated to them here. I know it might seem like some crazy consoiracy theory, but they really do exist. Check your local Apple store, they will even sell you one.
What does that have to do with sapphire purity and scratch resistance? I don’t think anyone was doubting the existence of the Apple Watch as a product.
 
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123

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Mar 3, 2002
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which in some cases requires over 1,000 hours to create.
Have you never listened to Jony Ive? There's hardly a thing made by Apple where they haven't spent millions of hours for every small detail.
 
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4jasontv

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So many years passed and it still drives me mad. Who came up with this idiotic name? Edition? Edition WHAT??
There is a trend in premium experiences to call something Edition. For the life of me I can’t figure out when this started or what the intention is which the branding.
 
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brdeveloper

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Apr 21, 2010
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An entire MR page of boring news. Not MR fault... perhaps it's just Apple being lazy on bring us new hardware.
 
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ouimetnick

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Aug 28, 2008
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I’ve never understood the idea behind a $1200+ ceramic or $18,000+ gold Apple Watch. It’s not like these are classic time pieces. They are obsolete with in 8-9 years, and they will not retrofit new internals inside of the old enclosure. Unless you are trying to flaunt your wealth or are insanely rich, it seems like a poor way to spend money.
 
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nattK

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Sep 17, 2014
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I’ve never understood the idea behind a $1200+ ceramic or $18,000+ gold Apple Watch. It’s not like these are classic time pieces. They are obsolete with in 8-9 years, and they will not retrofit new internals inside of the old enclosure. Unless you are trying to flaunt your wealth or are insanely rich, it seems like a poor way to spend money.
That's the entire luxury industry for you. Apple considers the Edition to be a luxury item, which is why you can only try it on or purchase it in person at a large Apple flagship store (Apple Fifth Avenue, Apple Champs-Elysees, etc.)
 
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JeffLass

macrumors newbie
May 23, 2007
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One wonders how the case shown was damaged [crack plus a piece missing near the knob]. Perhaps this was a test model to gauge the extent of stress that it would not take. IMHO, a ceramic watch case is a incredibly stupid idea since sintered ceramic is nothing more than a form of Corning Ware®, and thus shatterable. A hard wood case [like pipe-quality burl] would have a lot made more sense and would be far stronger and substantially more beautiful. Jony Ives' "hobby ideas" must have cost Apple a ton of treasure.
 
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