Seriously? $449 for a watch band. Is Apple crazy???

cambookpro

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Feb 3, 2010
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It still shocks me at how many people don't realize how expensive it is to make a high quality metal bracelet for a watch. It's not cheap. The bracelet and clasp assembly on the watch I'm wearing daily is $2200-2500 retail. And $1100 of it is just the clasp. The prices Apple has their bracelets and bands marked at are very reasonable for a higher end watch, which is what Apple thinks this is. I personally don't agree that the watch itself belongs in the high end watch category, but the metal bracelet is of high quality/design, from what I can tell.
Let me preface this by saying I'm not a watch person - the most I've ever spent is £200 (and I thought that was a lot).

But what makes a clasp assembly $1000+? I have a Casio Edifice with a link bracelet, and to undo it, you just press two buttons and there, it's undone. To do it up, you just push it together.

I'm struggling to think of an easier way to do this, and I'm intrigued to know what makes Apple's band cost more than my entire watch, which, from the surface, seems to do exactly the same thing.
 

taedouni

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Jun 7, 2011
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In 2013, Porsche made an operating profit of $23,200 per car sold, giving the company an 18% margin. I'm assuming the parts/servicing department contributes to that figure, so the actual 'cost of car sale to Porsche less price paid by customer' is actually lower than 18%.

If Apple sold the $449 band at an 18% margin the sale price would be about twenty bucks.
It says on Apple's website that it takes up to 9 hours to make one link and that it's hand polished. There's just no way that it would've cost $20. I was expecting it to cost at least $200, was a bit surprised that it hit $400+.
 

alphaswift

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Aug 26, 2014
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Go to a jeweler and compare prices of watches with leather straps to those with premium link bands. The band price is pretty reasonable. These aren't $20 link bands you'll get at the cheap shop in the back corner of the mall.
I agree. My point is that I can live with something that costs less than $449, but better quality than a $20 cheapo. Life is all about balance :)
 

KauaiBruce

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Jul 5, 2007
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On that though, remember Apple has likely patented the connector mechanism that allows these bands to hook to the watch body. And I foresee Apple enforcing those patents like a rabid dog.
I hope you are correct. BUT, wouldn't someone have noticed that patent by now? Those are public. It IS different enough to justify a patent in my opinion. I am totally torn on the issue. I do not want to see a ton of cheap low quality bands while I would not mind seeing some fun designer ones. I want to see sports bands in lots of better colors.
 

megadon

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Dec 5, 2008
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so if the bigger base edition watch is 12 k and the most expensive watch is 17k, the only difference is the band and that's an extra 5k?

What makes the band so expensive?

I'm not a huge fan of gold, if they had white gold or platinum it might be more appealing to me.
 

chris975d

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Let me preface this by saying I'm not a watch person - the most I've ever spent is £200 (and I thought that was a lot).



But what makes a clasp assembly $1000+? I have a Casio Edifice with a link bracelet, and to undo it, you just press two buttons and there, it's undone. To do it up, you just push it together.



I'm struggling to think of an easier way to do this, and I'm intrigued to know what makes Apple's band cost more than my entire watch, which, from the surface, seems to do exactly the same thing.

Well, one thing that makes that clasp I'm talking about $1100 is that it has a crown on it (Rolex). So there is some substantial markup there. But, there is some cool engineering to at least back some of that up. It's adjustable on the fly, without the need to for tools (up to about a half inch of expansion/contraction). And that mechanism is very robust. Plus Rolex uses a stainless steel that no one else uses.
But when you're CNC machining every piece of the watch bracelet, as opposed to casting or some other method, it adds a lot of time to the cost. And time equates to cost.
 

taedouni

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Jun 7, 2011
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so if the bigger base edition watch is 12 k and the most expensive watch is 17k, the only difference is the band and that's an extra 5k?

What makes the band so expensive?

I'm not a huge fan of gold, if they had white gold or platinum it might be more appealing to me.
Because the band contains a lot of gold.
 

MH01

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Feb 11, 2008
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I certainly agree with you on every other point in the threads we are posting on, but I still believe the link bracelet Apple has made is a good value. Especially for the engineering put into it. I obviously haven't handled it yet, but I like what I see as much or more than the Oyster bracelet and Glidelock clasp on my Submariner. The tool less link removal seems extremely well designed.

I think what we/you are seeing in terms of the bracelet costing half the total cost of the watch isn't so much of the bracelet being overpriced, but more so an indicator that Apple can really keep costs low on the cheap electronics part of it (the watch head itself), but can't do that on the part more substantial part.
Yeah, I think I need to see on in person before I judge it any further. It might be a really good band.

----------

Compare the Britain Classic watches with leather vs. link bands.
http://us.burberry.com/womens-watches/#cat2010037=true&cat2010038=true
Cool, will have a look tonight.

Though cannot say I would rate a burberry watch ......
 

mojolicious

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Mar 18, 2014
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It says on Apple's website that it takes up to 9 hours to make one link and that it's hand polished.
"The machining process is so precise, it takes nearly nine hours to cut the links for a single band. In part that’s because they aren’t simply a uniform size, but subtly increase in width as they approach the case. Once assembled, the links are brushed by hand to ensure that the texture follows the contours of the design."

So... nearly nine hours of machining, followed by machine assembly (because if they were lovingly assembled by hand then Apple would state as much), then ten minutes of attention from a Burnish Technician?

The band has 'more than 100' components. Let's pretend that there 106 component parts, and that 'nearly nine hours' is actually 530 minutes (ten minutes short of nine hours).

"Each bit takes an Apple Link-O-Matic five minutes to cut and finish" doesn't sound nearly as exciting or expensive.
 

Armen

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Apr 30, 2013
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This is the part that is really turning me off to the Apple Watch. After using the Pebble steel with a metal linked watch band (which as only $25 BTW), Apple has the audacity to charge $449 for a linked watch band:

http://store.apple.com/us/watch/watch-accessories/bands

Man, I hope 3rd party vendors come though because all of Apple's watch bands are grossly over priced.
Each individual link on my Omega watch is $80.00 so no, I dont think $450 is outrageous for the entire band.
 

douglasf13

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Jul 2, 2010
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From everything I've seen, the links band is every bit of the quality of a high end bracelet, with pretty amazing features some high end manufacturers wished they had (easy remove links, flush butterfly claps.) We're lucky it is only $449, because it isn't made in Switzerland. Omega would charge $1500+ for that thing.

The bottom line is that Apple has made a statement about where they want to be seen in the wearables segment. If you want a smart watch that looks like a $150 watch from the jewelry kiosk at the mall, go Android. If you want something that approaches the quality and finish of higher end watches, go Apple, but it will cost you.
 

AppleFan360

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Jan 26, 2008
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Did you read the description of the manufacturing process for the link bracelet on Apple's website?



Same grade of stainless steel as the watch.
Over 100 components.
Nine hours to cut the links for a single band.
Subtly increase in width towards the case.
Hand-brushed after assembly.
Toolless removal method for unneeded links.

I highly, HIGHLY doubt Pebble's $25 band is anywhere near as well-designed. You do realize that luxury watch bands cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, too, right? And that's exactly what this is positioned as.

It's like complaining how you could spend $20 on an analog watch with a quartz movement at Target, and yet some other company has the audacity to charge $500 for "what's basically the same exact thing" ... except it's not the same exact thing.

Just because their bands are more expensive than the bargain-bin trash you can buy does not mean they're overpriced, especially if the product Apple is selling has more in common with luxury watches and bands than they do with cheap stuff you can buy at any Target or Walmart.
Face it, it's marketing mumbo-jumbo. Even if true, Apple are fools for pricing out a lot of their target consumers. They should be making a less expensive version of the link band. Hopefully they will at some point after they realize how stupid it was to engineer a $449 watch band that the average Apple consumer won't buy.

Look guys, we all love our Apple devices. We know we pay a premium to own them. Just the support system alone (Phone and Apple Genius bar) are worth the price of admission. But, there is a breaking point and Tim Cook is dangerously close to reaching that point. He might be aiming too high. Even users who make $100,000 a year are starting to balk at the pricing scheme. If he's not careful, only Hollywood celebrities and NBA players will be buying Apple stuff.
 

chris975d

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Sep 21, 2008
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From everything I've seen, the links band is every bit of the quality of a high end bracelet, with pretty amazing features some high end manufacturers wished they had (easy remove links, flush butterfly claps.) We're lucky it is only $449, because it isn't made in Switzerland. Omega would charge $1500+ for that thing.



The bottom line is that Apple has made a statement about where they want to be seen in the wearables segment. If you want a smart watch that looks like a $150 watch from the jewelry kiosk at the mall, go Android. If you want something that approaches the quality and finish of higher end watches, go Apple, but it will cost you.

But at the same time, Apple hasn't fully vetted why "watch people" buy what we do. We buy a lot of it because it IS Swiss made. There's a known history there, craftsmanship, etc that people who do spend a lot on watches are willing to pay for. And these are the people that are going spend money on the Apple Watch, if anyone is. So Apple is targeting the Swiss watch type buyers, but with a Chinese made product. Now I'm not saying it's not a good product just because it's Chinese, but Apple clearly doesn't understand the mindset of the people who are prone to spend a lot of money on a watch.
 

douglasf13

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Jul 2, 2010
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But at the same time, Apple hasn't fully vetted why "watch people" buy what we do. We buy a lot of it because it IS Swiss made. There's a known history there, craftsmanship, etc that people who do spend a lot on watches are willing to pay for. And these are the people that are going spend money on the Apple Watch, if anyone is. So Apple is targeting the Swiss watch type buyers, but with a Chinese made product. Now I'm not saying it's not a good product just because it's Chinese, but Apple clearly doesn't understand the mindset of the people who are prone to spend a lot of money on a watch.
But they aren't pricing things that way. $449 is super cheap for a Swiss bracelet. They're giving you Swiss quality for a third of the cost. BTW, there's been evidence that even Omega is using China for their bracelets.

I do spent a lot of money on watches, and the Apple Watch is the only one that actually looks good, to me. If I preferred bracelets (I prefer straps,) I wouldn't want a cheap bracelet. It's as important to the feel of the watch as the watch itself.
 

chris975d

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Sep 21, 2008
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But they aren't pricing things that way. $449 is super cheap for a Swiss bracelet. They're giving you Swiss quality for a third of the cost. BTW, there's been evidence that even Omega is using China for their bracelets.



I do spent a lot of money on watches, and the Apple Watch is the only one that actually looks good, to me. If I preferred bracelets (I prefer straps,) I wouldn't want a cheap bracelet. It's as important to the feel of the watch as the watch itself.

Yep, and that(along with several other reasons) is why Omega is thought of as a second tier brand among most higher end watch enthusiasts.

But what I'm saying is that Apple seems to be missing the mark on several demographics. All but the Sport watch is priced way over what the average person is going to spend on a watch, and the Watch and Edition are missing the mark with the majority of the watch enthusiasts. I mean, I'm a watch enthusiast through and through, and from and engineering and design aspect, I think the Link bracelet is a good product. But I'm not buying it because it has to be attached to an Apple Watch. And I've not found one person in my real life and online circle of watch enthusiast friends that want anything more than a Sport because all we see it as is a workout device/toy that won't displace our normal every day watch.
 

Armen

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Apr 30, 2013
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Face it, it's marketing mumbo-jumbo. Even if true, Apple are fools for pricing out a lot of their target consumers. They should be making a less expensive version of the link band. Hopefully they will at some point after they realize how stupid it was to engineer a $449 watch band that the average Apple consumer won't buy.

Look guys, we all love our Apple devices. We know we pay a premium to own them. Just the support system alone (Phone and Apple Genius bar) are worth the price of admission. But, there is a breaking point and Tim Cook is dangerously close to reaching that point. He might be aiming too high. Even users who make $100,000 a year are starting to balk at the pricing scheme. If he's not careful, only Hollywood celebrities and NBA players will be buying Apple stuff.
That's like saying Apple is stupid to price a Macbook at $1000.00 while HP and Dell were selling theirs for $500.

Look how that turned out.
 

AppleFan360

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Jan 26, 2008
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That's like saying Apple is stupid to price a Macbook at $1000.00 while HP and Dell were selling theirs for $500.

Look how that turned out.
If you breakdown the parts and materials plus the "Apple Tax", those aren't such a bad deal.

Also, Apple has been making lower cost versions of both the iMac and MacBook. Look how that turned out.
 

chasescott66

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Feb 6, 2011
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The funny thing is that they pretty much copied the design, and made a few tweaks, of their link bracket from Audemars Piguet's bracelet, clasp and all.

 

DC Wallaby

macrumors regular
Aug 22, 2014
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Face it, it's marketing mumbo-jumbo. Even if true, Apple are fools for pricing out a lot of their target consumers. They should be making a less expensive version of the link band. Hopefully they will at some point after they realize how stupid it was to engineer a $449 watch band that the average Apple consumer won't buy.

Look guys, we all love our Apple devices. We know we pay a premium to own them. Just the support system alone (Phone and Apple Genius bar) are worth the price of admission. But, there is a breaking point and Tim Cook is dangerously close to reaching that point. He might be aiming too high. Even users who make $100,000 a year are starting to balk at the pricing scheme. If he's not careful, only Hollywood celebrities and NBA players will be buying Apple stuff.
WHY should they be making a less-expensive one? They're positioning it as a fashion item, not a cheap accessory. A cheap band would hurt the marketing message.

Yes, people will probably be able to buy significantly cheaper (and LOWER QUALITY) link bands from third parties before too long. But that's not the point. The point is you're pissy because Apple didn't make the product YOU wanted them to make (a cheap wrist accessory) and they are pricing it in accordance with what THEY want it to be instead of what YOU want it to be.

Get over yourself!
 

twisted-pixel

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Sep 13, 2009
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I think people might be misunderstand, or mis-interpreting what is being said here

The bands are not expensive...for what they are...the thing that people seem to agree on is that it wasn't necessary to have such a high quality/expensive band

imagine going to buy a ford car and being told it costs $200,000 dollars...you ask why and they say it's because the wheels were forged from 10 million year old ore, extracted from the mines of Mordor by a secret tribe of Monks fluent in a mystery language and can only be mined when the angle of Moon-Earth-Sun allows the sun's rays to reflect off an ancient map indicating where the ore is buried.

explains why they are expensive, but doesn't justify putting them on a car.

I feel the same about the watch. Where is the justification to put a $250 leather strap on a $300 watch?
 

Italianblend

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Mar 21, 2011
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It still shocks me at how many people don't realize how expensive it is to make a high quality metal bracelet for a watch.
I don't think it should shock you. You are on an apple forum. Most of the people here, I would guess, do not need a watch. They simply pull their iphone out of their pocket and check the time.

I'm not arguing that it shouldn't cost that much. But you'd have to at least understand that people who are used to paying maybe a couple thousand for apple's top of the line computer (and under $1000 for the top of the line ipad) would be surprised at a $17,000 watch. For most of us, that is the purchase of a new car, split up into 5 years of payments.

You can understand how we would be shocked at least at first about the price of a watch. Not to mention, a first model watch that will probably be slow and obsolete in a year or two when apple will improve upon the design and probably lower the price.