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

KPOM

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Oct 23, 2010
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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.
These prices are not unreasonable. Go to Rogers and Hollands over the weekend and ask to see a nice mid-range watch with a steel link band. Look at the price tag. Apple doesn't make "cheap" devices. They make premium products. $750 for a nice leather strap and $1050 for a stainless steel link are quite reasonable. Plus there is the $650 version with the Milanese loop.
 

MeFromHere

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Oct 11, 2012
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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.
I think Apple is aiming at people who want a nice-looking, highly functional smart watch, but who don't care two figs about nice-looking, highly functional little boxes of gears, springs, and jewel bearings. Those people may not wear anything on their wrist today. If they're aware of fine watches, they've looked and decided not to buy one. Apple wants to make a new category of product. They want the category to grow very large, and they want to dominate it.

If Apple is right, smart watches will become increasingly popular. Apple's App environment will give them a strong advantage. Eventually some of the "watch people" will think about wearing a nice smart watch instead of a nice gear-and-spring watch. That won't happen right away, but if (when) it does, Apple will be one of the best-known, established brands in fine smart watches.

Think about it from the other direction... If smart watches become a big thing, how will Omega, Rolex, and the whole Swiss watch industry succeed at adding "smart" to their established "fine" watches?
 

chris975d

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

Think about it from the other direction... If smart watches become a big thing, how will Omega, Rolex, and the whole Swiss watch industry succeed at adding "smart" to their established "fine" watches?

I don't really think they (the big names, Rolex, AP, PP, etc) will have to change much, honestly. They have survived multiple attacks that people have said would change their business model or put them at risk...Quartz innovation that made watches cheap and disposable, even everyone carrying cell phones that render "needing" a watch pointless. Yet those key brands have continuously grown in sales throughout the years. Rolex alone last year produced and sold almost a million watches. And they are sold often times before they even hit the store shelves. So I don't see anything Apple does hurting those brands. Now, the smaller, cheaper fashion brands such as Tag, Omega, etc might have to be more proactive, but the most prestigious watch names don't have anything to worry about for many years.
 
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douglasf13

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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.
Omega is not really second tier to Rolex, anymore, at last not by much. Heck, I traded a Rolex for an Omega last year. Either way, that's another debate, and we're still talking about watches punching way above this Apple Watch in price. Steel Omega and Rolex watches run in the $7K-$8K range, and the gold watches are $30K+.

I think you're missing the point of Apple's intent. Like you said, the Sport model is there for those who want something affordable, and it's important to have models across many price brackets, to pull in higher end watch buyers. The steel model is there to compete with the Tissots and Longines of the world, whose bracelets are in a similar price range, and probably not as nice. Ben Clymer over Hodinkee already implied that Apple's Milanese loop embarrasses a similar offering from Tissot. Apples Milanese loop price is a pleasant surprise. I expected it to be priced similarly to the steel bracelet.

I mentioned this over on Hodinkee, but, as an owner of Rolex, Omega, Seiko, etc., mechanical watches have been interesting to me since I was a kid, but they've never had to compete with wrist real estate in the past. The increased function of a smart watch, which, in Apple's case, is in a package that seems good enough, is making me reconsider just how important mechanical watch, man jewelry is. If smart watches become ubiquitous, it might even hurt the long term value of used mechanical watches.

I kind of feel like I've been toiling away on my classic car in the garage for years, until one day, I say "screw it" and head towards the Tesla dealership. I can still go look at my classic car in the garage from time to time, or take it out for the occasional spin...although I may just sell the thing.

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Now, the smaller, cheaper fashion brands such as Tag, Omega, etc might have to be more proactive, but the most prestigious watch names don't have anything to worry about for many years.
Omega is not in the same conversation as "fashion watches" that you mention. It is absolutely a Rolex competitor, at this point. If anything, Rolex shouldn't be mentioned in the same vein as AP and Patek, considering Rolexes are machine made and don't have nearly the cache. Both Omega and Rolex each only have about 3 models worth buying, IMO.
 

srsub3

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Mar 10, 2013
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Rolex oyster band is around 1300$... the material is better and more expensive (904L steel vs 316L apple)... even the clasp looks better (gridlock system for fine size tuning) I don't know but I think apple bracelet is a bit overpriced. Those who said that the bands were the real deal for apple business this time were right.
 

The-Real-Deal82

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Charging $449 for a steel bracelet is outrageous IMO. Some of the rubber straps are $149 and I find that laughable too! When you can buy a dive certified Isofrane for $100 or a quality oyster or presidential bracelet for far less, it makes you wonder who Apples market is? I am into watches and even I am turned off this one.

I did laugh when I saw the gold version of the watch that starts at 10 grand lol. That is Rolex GMT territory and that will hold its price and never go out of date. Mad pricing. Each to their own though. :)
 

chris975d

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Omega is not in the same conversation as "fashion watches" that you mention. It is absolutely a Rolex competitor, at this point. If anything, Rolex shouldn't be mentioned in the same vein as AP and Patek, considering Rolexes are machine made and don't have nearly the cache. Both Omega and Rolex each only have about 3 models worth buying, IMO.

I will agree that Omega has come up in the quality and build of their watches, but I still don't see many people putting them at the level of Rolex. Just a quick look at how much value they hold (or lack thereof) when/if resold shows that. That doesn't mean they aren't built well, but it does show that the general consensus is that they aren't as coveted or desirable as Rolex, AP, PP, or ALS. I've owned several Omegas. But at the end of the day they are a Swatch company. And do many things to hurt their own image. The mere fact that most places won't even take Omegas in on trade tells me a lot about how they are perceived, regardless of build quality.

But again, that's a different topic for a different forum.
 

douglasf13

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Rolex oyster band is around 1300$... the material is better and more expensive (904L steel vs 316L apple)... even the clasp looks better (gridlock system for fine size tuning) I don't know but I think apple bracelet is a bit overpriced. Those who said that the bands were the real deal for apple business this time were right.
904L is not necessarily better than 316L. It provides slightly better corrosion protection, but is a little softer. It's a marketing thing. It cost Rolex a lot of money to switch over to 904L, for marketing reasons, and that's what you're paying for. The difference in actual cost between the two materials is negligible.

The Rolex is certainly a better bracelet, but nearly 2.5x better? Unlikely.

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I will agree that Omega has come up in the quality and build of their watches, but I still don't see many people putting them at the level of Rolex. Just a quick look at how much value they hold (or lack thereof) when/if resold shows that. That doesn't mean they aren't built well, but it does show that the general consensus is that they aren't as coveted or desirable as Rolex, AP, PP, or ALS. I've owned several Omegas. But at the end of the day they are a Swatch company. And do many things to hurt their own image. The mere fact that most places won't even take Omegas in on trade tells me a lot about how they are perceived, regardless of build quality.

But again, that's a different topic for a different forum.
Agree to disagree on some points. I agree that Rolex holds value better, although that's starting to change, too. Omega resale value has been rising, but, you're correct it's a topic for another forum. Either way, putting them in the same conversation as Tag certainly is off base. At the very least, they're above Tudor and just below Rolex.
 

The-Real-Deal82

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Think about it from the other direction... If smart watches become a big thing, how will Omega, Rolex, and the whole Swiss watch industry succeed at adding "smart" to their established "fine" watches?
Hmmmm if you know anything about watches you will know that the prestige market is pretty safe. An Apple watch does not come anywhere near in terms of quality and appeal. It's a gadget, not a mechanical masterpiece lol. People thought Quartz watches would see off the Swiss watch industry in the 1970's but the panic was short lived. The market is established where pieces don't go out of date unlike electronics.
 

chris975d

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Agree to disagree on some points. I agree that Rolex holds value better, although that's starting to change, too. Omega resale value has been rising, but, you're correct it's a topic for another forum. Either way, putting them in the same conversation as Tag certainly is off base. At the very least, they're above Tudor and just below Rolex.

Ok, I'll concede that. I'll place them between Tudor and Rolex. The Tag comparison may have been a low blow to omega. I have a love/hate relationship with Omega. I do like what they do in some cases, but there are many other things I think they do very wrong.
 

douglasf13

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Ok, I'll concede that. I'll place them between Tudor and Rolex. The Tag comparison may have been a low blow to omega. I have a love/hate relationship with Omega. I do like what they do in some cases, but there are many other things I think they do very wrong.
Yeah, I think the Moonwatch, Aqua Terra, and Planet Ocean are the only Omegas worth owning. Similarly, the DateJust, Sub, and Explorer are the only Rolexes I'd consider, but YMMV.

Both Omega and Rolex do some things very wrong, IMO, and both are in a price bubble.
 

chris975d

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Yeah, I think the Moonwatch, Aqua Terra, and Planet Ocean are the only Omegas worth owning. Similarly, the DateJust, Sub, and Explorer are the only Rolexes I'd consider, but YMMV.

Both Omega and Rolex do some things very wrong, IMO, and both are in a price bubble.

The moonwatch is the only Omega I see worth actually owning. The others...ehhh.
 

douglasf13

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The moonwatch is the only Omega I see worth actually owning. The others...ehhh.
I actually traded my DateJust for an Aqua Terra 2500. Co-axial is the only interesting change to movements in a long time, and Rolex has been using the same basic movement in most of their watches for decades. Once Rolex went maxi-case, they lost my interest, although, admittedly, even though Omega's newer 8500 movement is unbelievable, I don't really like any of the current designs, either, outside of the manual wind Speedie, like you said. Both have been raising their prices and making uglier watches over the last 5-10 years. Any Omega or Rolex that I'd buy, outside of the Moonwatch, would be 10 years old or more.
 

Wiesenlooser

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Jul 9, 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.
agreed. The bracelets and bands are top notch. Which is why I think the watches themselves should be cheaper.

Also It would help if they somehow commited on the longevity of the bands. Like "you can use the bracelets on the upcoming apple watch generations.
Just doesnt feel right to drop 450 on a bracelet that will be useless in a year or two.
 

MeFromHere

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Oct 11, 2012
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Hmmmm if you know anything about watches you will know that the prestige market is pretty safe. An Apple watch does not come anywhere near in terms of quality and appeal. It's a gadget, not a mechanical masterpiece lol. People thought Quartz watches would see off the Swiss watch industry in the 1970's but the panic was short lived. The market is established where pieces don't go out of date unlike electronics.
You completely missed my point.

What if (after a few years perhaps) smart watches become such a big thing that they DO start to hurt the prestige watch market? That is, smart watches become so good that even "watch people" want a smart watch on their wrist.

Then the prestige watch makers would feel pressure to make "prestige smart watches" -- and I think it would be a challenge for them. They would have at least as much trouble breaking into the "smart" world as Apple will have breaking into the "watch" world. The watch companies simply don't have the electronics and software expertise that Apple has. If this situation comes to pass (far from a sure thing), the longer they wait to embrace "smart", the farther behind they will be.

If this watch-endangering situation does happen, it will probably hit the lower end of the watch industry first. So companies like Rolex would have plenty of warning -- they would see their lower-cost cousins feeling the pain.

In contrast, Apple already knows electronics and software, and they have a lot of experience designing and mass-producing really nice devices. They just haven't done it for wrist-worn devices until now.

I asked a "what if" question, but I think it answers itself. If/when a prestige watch company needs to embrace "smart" to remain healthy, they'll turn to an off-the-shelf "movement" (by which I mean electronics and software) from another company, and try to combine it with their own gears-and-springs expertise to make a hybrid product. The obvious solution at the moment is Android Wear.
 

akm3

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Nov 15, 2007
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So is the summary that ALL watch bands are ridiculously priced and Apple's are not any more ridiculous than the other brands ridiculous prices?
 

Mabus51

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It is beautifully designed. And I'm sure it's very innovative. However it's priced the same as an iPad... Highly doubt it's as innovative as that.
When the iPad was first announced, we all said it was just a big iPhone and not very innovative as well. Apple knows what they're doing. Whether you agree with them or not is up to you. There are many smart watches on the market that work just fine with iPhone. If you want a smart watch pick one within your budget and means. You don't need to buy the Apple Watch just because it's Apple.
 

jordanst

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When the iPad was first announced, we all said it was just a big iPhone and not very innovative as well. Apple knows what they're doing. Whether you agree with them or not is up to you. There are many smart watches on the market that work just fine with iPhone. If you want a smart watch pick one within your budget and means. You don't need to buy the Apple Watch just because it's Apple.
You misunderstood me. This has nothing to do with the watch, just this specific band and its price.
I said the iPad was innovative. My point is that they decided to value this band practically as much as the newest iPad, which is surprising to me.