What Will Make the Apple Watch a True Luxury Fashion Accessory?


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The Apple Watch in Gold:  Image courtesy of James Martin/CNET

Apple has gone a long way in melding fashion and technology over the past decade. The tech monolith redefined the industry it created by introducing higher-end materials like sleek metals and toughened glass into the smartphone ethos, an industry that has long suffered and unfortunate love affair with black plastic. Those materials have since become the de-rigueur across all tech brands. For Apple’s next trick, the company is moving is make portable technology a true luxury fashion accessory. Silicon Valley will truly meet Savile Row.

The new Apple Watch will be undeniable game-changer in the young smartwatch business, offering numerous options for personalized customization. According to reports, buyers will have a choice between six metal cases for the watch, including two gold options 18-carat yellow and rose gold options. There will also be six band designs, two face sizes, and 11 face designs. The watch will be “a move away from what is traditionally understood as consumer electronics,” says Apple design chief Jonathan Ive.

Image courtesy of The Guardian/Richard Levine/Demotix/CorbisD

Ive, a British designer, has quickly become the face of the tech brand in the wake of Steve Jobs’ death, and has stewarded the tech company’s move toward a more designer fashion-focused direction. He hired industrial designer Marc Newson to work on the Apple Watch, an asset with experience and connections to the fashion industry. Newson recently headed the initial unveiling of the Apple Watch for fashion designers and editors during Paris Fashion Week in September.

“The fashion industry has an enormous amount to offer in what we do in industrial design because fashion is fast, fashion has its finger on the pulse,” said Newson, “There are very few creative industries that work on that rhythm.” Further proving its dedication to the world of fashion, Apple has also scooped up industry veterans from brands like Yves Saint Lauren and Nike.

While Apple is likely aiming its sights more towards the fashion watch market rather than the luxury watch market (haute horlogerie brands like Rolex and Hublot can rest easy), the big players in the timepiece industry are definitely taking notice. Tag Heuer and Swatch Group, the company that owns luxury watch brands like Breguet, Blancpain and Omega, are looking to introduce their own smartwatches that will likely target an even richer demographic than Apple’s.