Way back when Apple launched Watch it also launched an 18-karat gold Watch Edition that was the talk of the town barely four years ago. Who’s talking about it now? Nobody. Well, me. Why? Because nobody else is talking about it.
My game is advertising and public relations; more specifically and a specialty in the latter than the former. My experience in promoting products tells me Apple Watch Edition– even at $10,000– was a stroke of genius; not an executive with a stroke.
Back when Watch launched Apple was about to go under. As in late 1996 go under.
Well, go under because some pontificating critics thought Apple needed to match Samsung’s early adopter smartwatch. Seriously. Samsung had a smartwatch before Apple launched Watch. Who knew? What Apple’s Watch did– thanks in part to a $10,000 price tag for an already overpriced and feature deficient piece of hardware– was to suck up all the smartwatch air from the year 2015, and every year past or since.
The infamous Mark Gurman spilled the insider beans:
The company discontinued the exorbitant gold versions after a year; it sold in the low tens of thousands of them, but few after the first two weeks.
What were people talking about for months after Watch launched? Watch. And the $10,000 Watch. And how their new Watch could do everything anyone else’s Apple Watch could do for about $9,500 less than the best.
Nobody knows exactly where Gurman got his Watch math, but even if the total number of gold Watch Edition models sold topped out at a mere 20,000, do the math. At $10,000 each. That’s $200-million.
Each Watch Edition customer helped pay for Apple’s advertising and promotion campaign.
How well has Watch done since the gold model?
As the Watch’s hardware and software have improved, Apple has quietly taken control of the market for internet-connected fitness wristbands, accounting for more than half the sales in the category last year
Watch Edition, even at $10,000, was not a big seller and it did not have to be. Apple made money on each one, and the price tag alone helped to gather an incredible amount of attention to Watch– more than $200-million worth– and Apple didn’t have to lift a dime.
Gold Watch Edition is gone, but the thought lives on. Anyone who bought the gold model had far more money to burn than you or me, but that wasn’t the point. PR was the point, and Apple scored big on gold.