7 Luxury Watch Experts on Why They’re Not Worried About the Apple Watch

Unless you’ve been living under a wifi-free rock, then you’ve definitely heard that the smart-watch is here, courtesy of Apple. Announced to the public during last September’s Apple Developer’s conference, the Apple Watch was unveiled with a breathless, parody-ready video narrated by the company’s senior vice president of design, Jony Ive. The watch wasn’t a complete surprise to the Apple fanatics who obsessively monitor every move made by the Cupertino-based behemoth; for years, rumors had swirled that the company was planning a foray into wearables.

But Ives was still able to throw a bit of a curve ball. Alongside entry-level aluminum and steel models, Apple also released the Apple Watch Edition, nestling the computerized touchscreen within 18-karat yellow and rose gold cases. The price points — from $10,000 and up — are not dissimilar to those of other precious metal wristwatches, and they also serve to announce the brand’s first true foray into the luxury market. In other words, they’re sort of on our turf (they even teased the release with a preview at Milan’s recent Salone del Mobile furniture fair). In some circles, people are asking if the Apple Watch Edition spells the extinction of the traditional heirloom timepiece.

Thus, on the occasion of the Apple Watch debut, we spoke to some of our premier watch dealers for their take on whether the Apple Watch Edition will upset the luxury timepiece market. Spoiler alert: no one is worried. See below to see seven experts throw a little shade at Apple’s latest — and then see the pieces you could buy instead.


Timeless Gallery’s Seth Larrabue:

Thoughts on the Apple Watch?

The real attraction of the Apple Watch is that it’s a “must-have,” and anything trendy with a small screen will attract young and “nouveau riche” consumers. Cheers to Apple, but this watch will not be making a surprise appearance on my wrist!

Rolex-Explorer-1963-Timeless-Gallery

What would you get instead?

I prefer the Rolex Explorer 1016 from 1963 — almost every subsequent Rolex sports model is derived from this one. The great mountaineers Sir Edmund Hillary and John Hunt wore similar models to the top of Mount Everest in the ‘50s, proving that Rolex’s high-grade chronometer movement can maintain its accuracy at 29,000 feet in sub-zero temperatures.


Matthew Bain’s Matthew Bain:

Thoughts on the Apple Watch?

Collectors of fine watches do not buy digital watches. While Apple products may tempt the masses, vintage watches carry great character and will continue to be collected long after the smart-watch fad fades.

Rolex-Red-Submariner-Matthew-Bain-Apple-Watch

What would you get instead?

A Red Submariner ($14,500), one of Rolex’s first sports watches to incorporate a date function. What makes this particular model so rare and desirable for collectors is that it reads “Submariner” in red type on the watch face: watches with this nuance were only produced for about 5 years in the late 1960s and early 1970s.


Luxury Bazaar’s Vlad Podosik:

Thoughts on the Apple Watch?

Comparing the Apple Watch Edition to our luxury timepieces is like comparing apples and oranges — or rather, technology and haute horology. Whereas the Apple Watch is a modern technological feat boasting some precious metals and hefty price tags, our timepieces are handmade works of art.

Jaeger-LeCoultre-Reverso-Luxury-Bazaar-Apple-Watch

What would you get instead?

Like many fine watchmaking brands, Jaeger LeCoultre has been an innovator for years and its Reverso Collection ($9,995) remains one of its most coveted lines. Originally created in 1931 out of a necessity to protect a watch’s dial, the Reverso design allows wearers to turn their watch face inward. This late-20th-century example is a highly unique, no-frills luxury timepiece.


Betteridge’s Win Betteridge:

Thoughts on the Apple Watch?

We try only to sell jewelry and watches that will retain a significant portion of their value over time. While we’re sure Apple will sell their aluminum and steel models hand over fist, we think the Apple Watch Edition to be a poor investment given how quickly technology changes.

Rolex-Daytona-Cosmograph

What would you get instead?

When it comes to pre-owned watches, I love recommending a Rolex Daytona ($17,900). This item is part of Rolex’s contemporary line-up yet reminiscent of the Daytona dials favored by Paul Newman. The movement is bulletproof, so Daytonas hold their value better than just about any secondhand watch on the market.


Wanna Buy A Watch?’s Ken Jacobs:

Thoughts on the Apple Watch?

In my opinion, the Apple Watch is no friend to the luxury watch dealer. Luxury watches are not worn simply to tell time — which the smartphone in your pocket does exceedingly well — but as displays of wealth, status, taste and maturity. For me, Apple’s product can’t provide the prestige that a Rolex or Patek can. I’ll be sticking to my vintage watches with an iPhone in pocket.

Cartier-Gondole-Watch-1973-Apple-Watch

What would you get instead?

This Cartier wristwatch ($8,750) is one of the largest and most dramatic designs from a collection introduced in 1973 — each a variation on the classic Cartier Tank Louis model from the WWI generation. Outfitted with a black crocodile strap, a gold buckle and a cabochon sapphire crown, this statement piece is powered by a 17-jewel manual-wind movement and can easily be dressed up or down.


Aaron Farber’s Edward Farber:

Thoughts on the Apple Watch?

The Apple Watch has the inherent liability that it will become extinct based on its technology. Its ubiquitous presence will make this so-called luxury item more a token curiosity than a rare enduring collectible. Our watches boast superior craftsmanship and luxury brand recognition that will endure the inevitable technological obsolescence of the smart-watch.

Patek-Philippe-Onyx-Manual-Wind-Apple-Watch

What would you get instead?

Made in the 1970s, this rectangular Patek Philippe ($8,950) has an 18-karat gold bezel with a black onyx dial, plus gold “dauphine-style” hands and a sapphire crystal. The use of onyx and the clean, low-profile design recalls a kind of “Mad Men” cool.


Kentshire’s Jeannie Shen:

Thoughts on the Apple Watch?

Apple has a history of designing products to cultivate desirability: They inspire customers’ sense of longing by marrying utility and aesthetics. In this way, we see Apple following in the footsteps of great houses like Hermès and are excited to see how their luxury edition is received.

Hermes-Tortiseshell-1960s-Apple-Watch

What would you get instead?

Hermès launched its first collection of watches in 1928 and worked with the finest Swiss manufacturers until opening their own facility in 1978. This 1960s Hermès gold and enamel wristwatch ($17,000) has a casual elegance, and the large faux tortoiseshell enamel links are curved for comfort.

Like what you see?

Get photos of the world’s most beautiful interiors delivered straight to your inbox.