Why the $10,000 Watch is essential to Apple’s plan

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Photo: Apple
Photo: Apple

It’s taken all week, but I finally think I have a pretty good idea why Apple is selling a crazy-expensive, super-exclusive gold watch.

Initially, the very idea that Apple would make something for the one percent seemed abhorrent. What makes Apple great is that it sells affordable luxury to the masses.

Apple’s well-designed and well-made products should really only be for the rich, but they are generally affordable to the middle classes. Apple pulls off the miraculous, selling us BMWs at Kia prices.

This is what makes the gold Apple Watch Edition stand out. At first glance, it’s obviously not a product for us. But even though you and I will probably never own one, the $10,000 timepiece is actually kinda democratic, because it’s all about selling $350 watches to the masses.

Why the $17,000 gold Apple Watch might actually be too cheap

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Photo: Apple
Despite its hefty price tag, the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition might actually be too cheap. Photo: Apple

The tech world is completely aghast at the price of the gold Apple Watch Edition, which starts at $10,000 but is more likely to set buyers back $17,000 (plus tax!).

The pricing is baking everyone’s noodles. We can’t wrap our heads around a super-expensive watch that will soon be obsolete and is functionally identical to a $350 model. This is not how tech works.

But that’s the point. I wrote how the high-end Apple Watch winds me up — I argued that its very existence is antithetical to Apple’s democratic values. But after further research, it’s obvious that Apple knows exactly what it’s doing, and it’s very smart — even if I still don’t like the gold watch’s enormous price tag.

The Apple Watch Edition is a classic Veblen product. The outrageous price is the whole point. And the higher it gets, the more of them Apple will sell. It might even be priced too low.