Is This the Price of the Gold Apple Watch Edition?

Source: Apple.com

Source: Apple.com

Among the new products that Apple unveiled at its media event in Cupertino, California, last week was its long-rumored smartwatch. While there had been rumors that the device would be offered in two different sizes, Apple surprised many industry watchers when it revealed that the smartwatch would also be made available in three collections: the Watch, the Watch Sport, and the Watch Edition.

Though Apple declined to provide prices for each version of the Apple Watch, it cited an entry-level price of $349. However, it’s still not clear which versions of the smartwatch will qualify as entry-level models. Including the 38 millimeter and 42 millimeter sizes, as well as all the various options in chassis, display, and watch band materials, there are a total of 34 different versions of the Apple Watch.

The pricing remains unclear, but it’s safe to say that all of the six 18-karat gold models in the Watch Edition collection will cost more than $349. The only question is: How much more? Jewelers and watch experts consulted by TechCrunch believe they may have the answer. Using schematics of the devices that were leaked on Reddit and highlighted by 9to5Mac last week, TechCrunch’s sources estimated that the 18-karat gold versions of the Apple Watch will retail for around $1,200.

With most smartwatches retailing for around $300, the Apple Watch Edition will likely qualify as one of the most expensive mass-produced smartwatches on the market when it becomes available in early 2015. (The Italian-made i’m Watch is one notable smartwatch market outlier, with a gold-plated version that costs $1,500, according to CNET.)

The experts consulted by TechCrunch estimated that the 18-karat gold chassis alone will cost Apple about $600 to make. The estimated cost of the electronics and Apple’s profit margin may push the total price to around $1,200. However, it should be noted that although the price of gold is well known, the cost of the electronic components and the amount of Apple’s markup are unknown variables at this time. Either way, it appears certain that the models in the Apple Watch Edition collection will start north of $600.

There is also a chance that some of the premium Apple Watch Edition models could cost much more than $1,200. In a research note issued in April, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that some versions of Apple’s smartwatch would “carry a price tag of several thousand US dollars,” reports 9to5Mac. In case you’re wondering why Kuo’s price estimate would hold any weight today, the apparently well-connected analyst correctly predicted the sizes of the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, both devices’ inclusion of an NFC chip, and several other design features. He also correctly predicted that the Apple Watch would be positioned as a luxury fashion item.

The Apple Watch Edition isn’t the only smartwatch aimed at the high-end segment of the market. Samsung recently revealed its own plans to offer a blinged-out version of its latest Gear S smartwatch. Luxury cut crystal and jewelry maker Swarovski partnered with Samsung to make a “Crystal Fine Mesh” watch band for the Gear S. While it’s unknown how much the Swarovski-made watch band will cost, it will be available from Samsung when the Gear S hits store shelves in October. Apple hasn’t revealed a specific release date for its watch yet, but the company promised it would arrive in early 2015.

Follow Nathanael on Twitter @ArnoldEtan_WSCS

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