Apple Watch Makes Strides to Enter Luxury Market

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Apple Watch kicked off its pre-order on April 10 and officially opened sales this past Friday. Just as with many other Apple products, the Apple Watch has received one million placements on the first preorder day — surpassing competing brands, such as Samsung or Sony’s smart watch.

Unlike the iPad or iPhone which are mainly technology based, Apple Watch brings more attention to appearance making it a perfect example in blending fashion and tech.

Apple’s marketing strategy has also changed, branding this new watch as an intelligent wearable device for tech-savvy people, and also a fashion accessory for trendsetters and fashionistas. They drew lessons from jewelry design to apply 18-Karat yellow and rose gold to the Apple Watch Edition watchcase, making it an exquisite and elegant product.

Apple designed the watch from a fashion point of view.

Apple also used collaborations with a wide variety of top fashion media to convince consumers of the watch’s fashionable nature.

Apple Watch debuted on the cover of Vogue China in last November and has showed up in six fashion editorials. Also, a couple of fashion media outlets such as Style.com, have released an early hands-on review of the watch. They also gained media attention through celebrities trying Apple Watch.

On Vogue China’s cover, the watch accessorized the wrist of supermodel Liu Wen, leaving a deep impression on readers that it is a perfect tech-fashion product for young women to show their personality.

Angelica Cheung, the chief editor of Vogue China, who was also invited by Apple to its launch event of Apple Watch last September, credited Apple Watch as a great product that would heavily influence our young generation.

“I think younger generation will be willing to try [it],” Cheung said to Vogue China on September 10, 2014. “Apple Watch isn’t designed for people to check time, but to enjoy a more convenient and modern life. Its beautiful, elegant appearance will help it match very well with fashion. It sets off a new “techno luxury” trend and bridges high-tech with fashion.”

This is a smart move for Apple, allowing  them to tap into a different market. As Apple Watch actually didn’t make any surprising technological breakthroughs compared to competitors, its tie with the fashion industry will definitely help attract luxury customers.

With an unbelievably high price ranging from $10,000 to $17,000, Apple Watch Edition is actually a distinctive collection for luxury markets. This market for Apple has huge growth potential, especially in China.

However, it is not easy for Apple to build its edge in the luxury market. In comparison with established brands like Rolex or Patek Philippe, Apple is young and lacks sophistication and craftsmanship fostered by a long history.

For people who are willing to spend large amounts of money to buy a luxury item, they are not just looking for an excellent product, but a symbol of prestige and status, a unique artistic taste. In this aspect Apple Watch Edition lacks a long-established recognition from the luxury world.

The depreciation of Apple Watch raises another concern among consumers. While a Rolex watch may keep its market value unchanged forever, an Apple Watch’s worth would plummet once the new edition is coming out. So purchasing an Apple Watch assumes higher depreciation risk than traditional high-end watch.

We will see whether or not people will buy into Apple’s idea. However, regardless of sales concerns, Apple has undoubtedly taken a leading position to set a new trend for luxury market.

Lingyi Hou is a Staff Writer. Email her at bstyle@nyunews.com.

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