Tag Archives: Apple Watch

Shape Your Time: Exploring Square and Form Watches of 2017

 

 

Square watches, or in industry parlance: form or shaped watches are a fairly sizeable segment (given that Cartier produces AND sells so many of them, but more on that later). That is to say, even though there’s a preponderance of round watches in the industry, the belief that square or shaped watches only have a niche appeal is fundamentally unsound. However, significant conversations with retailers and brands alike all indicate that the round watch, if anything, will dominate even more than it already does. For our part, we find this very disappointing indeed.

The much-reported preference of markets (apparently everywhere) for round watches seems like a self-fulfilling prophecy that no brand has seriously challenged. Well, one brand is challenging it but because that brand is Apple, watchmaking firms have only expressed tepid interest. More often than not, the companies have expressed aggressive disinterest.

Shape Your Time: 2017 Resurgence of Form Watches

This will mean that square watches will indeed be scarce, as we will illustrate here, and that fact represents an opportunity for the most consummate of collectors. The important thing is of course to see if there is enough demand to create the right sort of imbalance. Of course, we will be steering clear of making predictions as to investment value and such. Our purpose here is only to highlight an opportunity.

Designing Time

Before getting into that, let us look at the design situation at the turn of the last century, when the taste for wristwatches was still nascent. Louis Cartier was a jeweler with a penchant for what former Cartier CEO Franco Cologni called square surfaces. It was at the turn of the previous century that Cartier entered into its famous partnership with Parisian watchmaker Edmond Jaeger, who himself was tied up with the LeCoultre watchmaking company in Switzerland. This partnership prefigured the commercial launch of the Santos watch in 1911, a move that heralded the arrival of all sorts of new shapes in watchmaking.

The Panthere de Cartier is the major form watch release for 2017 that carries the codes of the Tank and the Santos, as seen below and right.

The Panthere de Cartier is the major form watch release for 2017 that carries the codes of the Tank and the Santos, as seen below and right.

At this time, before watchmakers and the public had any idea of what the ideal wristwatch would be, it was truly a free-for-all in terms of design. According to Cologni, in his book Cartier The Tank Watch, Louis Cartier was moved first and foremost by form, believing it to be more important than function. Arguably, this is the beginning of an idea that has an inherent weakness for the development and future of wristwatches– that function should follow form.

In contemporary times, the late Apple impresario Steve Jobs redefined this with his products, recognizing that “design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” As far as watchmaking goes, the idea that design is how the object itself functions speaks to why so many watches today are round. Our daily time is indeed circular because that is what happens when you track the hours and minutes with hands. This powerful idea then shapes a powerful commercial argument.

Audemars Piguet is one of the few with a strong oval watch collection that also comes with a shaped movement

Audemars Piguet is one of the few with a strong oval watch collection that also comes with a shaped movement

The Audemars Piguet Millenary Quadriennium brought to life from the sketch before

The Audemars Piguet Millenary Quadriennium brought to life from the sketch before

Fragmented Collections

When asked about the new IWC Da Vinci being round despite the 2007 version being a refreshingly complex tonneau-tortue shape, here is what then-IWC CEO Georges Kern said: “The point is, 70 percent of the market is round watches. And the shaped segment is very limited and further segmented: square, rectangular, baignoire, tonneau… At the size IWC is today, with our reach, you need to be round because that’s what the market is.”

Kern was heading up watchmaking, marketing and digital for the Richemont Group overall so what he says carries weight far beyond IWC.

By virtue of its contrast bezel, the Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 PAM684 is a form watch hiding in round clothes.

By virtue of its contrast bezel, the Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 PAM684 is a form watch hiding in round clothes.

Despite predictions to the contrary, the Apple Watch Series 2 stuck with the rectangular shape and is water resistant to 50 metres.

Despite predictions to the contrary, the Apple Watch Series 2 stuck with the rectangular shape and is water resistant to 50 metres.

Franck Muller enjoyed a peak in the 90s and the early 2000s giving tonneau shaped watches a boost in popularity, pictured here, the Vanguard Fullback

Franck Muller enjoyed a peak in the 90s and the early 2000s giving tonneau shaped watches a boost in popularity, pictured here, the Vanguard Fullback

In fact, Kern’s estimation is generous considering that most informed sources consider round watches to be closer to 80 percent of the market. Before proceeding though, the market itself requires some definition because it does not only include the high-end market, meaning watches above US$1,000. In a 2015 article on the then-upcoming Apple Watch Series 2, no less than Forbes predicted that Apple would abandon its signature look in favour of the more conventional round shape. This prediction was based on the input of industry insiders and the like, and no doubt also took Jobs’ own philosophy into account. Of course, Apple confounded these expectations, illustrating again the hazards of journalists predicting outcomes. Considering that the Apple Watch 2 is both a status symbol and below US$1,000 (it is available for as little as $398 from the Apple Store), its very existence threatens the narrative that the market is overwhelmingly interested in round watches.

Exploring Form and Shaped Watches

Despite being, in the official lingo “timeless”, watches certainly mirror the era they are made and released in. This is what makes vintage watches from some periods – particularly the Art Deco age – so distinctive. Given the importance of heritage to the core of Swiss watchmaking – fine and otherwise – the brands have done a good job of retaining certain aesthetic touches across the ages. We have already gone into why Jaeger-LeCoultre shares the rectangular watch crown with Cartier. Both these firms maintain and champion in the 21st century a look that was already classic in the 1950s. But form watches – which are otherwise known as shaped watches – are not just rectangular of course

Patent drawing of the original Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso

Patent drawing of the original Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso

The 2017 Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Duo owns the form space in classical styling

The 2017 Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Duo owns the form space in classical styling

In official parlance, any watch that isn’t round is called a “form watch.” So that means everything from cushion-shaped Panerai watches to every collection from Cartier other than the Drive de Cartier, Cle de Cartier and Calibre de Cartier; we would argue that the popular Ballon Bleu is actually a form watch because it has a tactile appeal arising from its pebble shape. To look at the number of models in the form watch segment itself, we can only reference other magazines. Armbanduhren, a specialty German watch catalog, lists more than 1,000 models of watches (and has done since we began paying attention, in 2011). Of these more than 900 are round, meaning that form watches are roughly 10 percent of the annual offering.

If we take these numbers to base an extrapolation on, then we have roughly 10 percent of the watch models in any given year vying for potentially 30 percent of the market. Of course, we have no way of knowing just how many pieces are made and sold directly but it seems a good bet that only Cartier will be selling form watches in significant numbers.

Drive de Cartier pushes the cushion-shaped aesthetic, here in extra flat form.

Drive de Cartier pushes the cushion-shaped aesthetic, here in extra flat form.

This brings us to sales, briefly. Forbes ranks Rolex as the top-selling brand of high-end Swiss watches and Omega as the third. Guess what brand occupies the second rung? Yes, the standard-bearer of form watches itself, the Panthere of fine watchmaking, Cartier sells the most watches annually, other than Rolex.

Square and Rectangle Watches

The Tank is probably the most famous form watch in the world, rivaled only by the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso. If one throws in the very popular and aforementioned Santos, also from Cartier, as well as the Twenty4, Nautilus and Aquanaut from Patek Philippe, and the Cintrex Curvex from Franck Muller, these are probably the most widely known form watches on the planet. Leaving all these aside and returning to just Cartier, this powerful brand has sought to increase its market share by unleashing an array of round watches but of these, the Ballon Bleu is so rounded that it resembles a sort of magical pebble that tells the time. The shape of this watch is, arguably, what made it an unqualified success. Nevertheless, Cartier clearly feels like its best shot at gaining market share lies with round watches, lending no small amount of credence to Kern’s statement.

Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5168G

Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5168G

The Bulgari Octo Tourbillon Sapphire shows off its form with a sapphire case middle

The Bulgari Octo Tourbillon Sapphire shows off its form with a sapphire case middle

 

In the early days of wristwatches (pocket watches were almost universally round and so are contemporary executions, Tom Ford’s attempt to transform the Apple Watch notwithstanding), firms experimented with wildly differing shapes, only a few of which remain well known today. In the era of properly water resistant watches though, most wristwatches are round and that is just because it is much simpler to achieve ISO water resistance standards when the case of the watch is round. Once again, function keeps interfering with the notion of the form watch

The reason for this water resistance bit could very well fill another article but, to cover it briefly and intuitively, just think of how easily a rubber gasket would work with a round watch as opposed to a rectangular one. It is for this reason that even brands with a yen for specific shapes (or even just one shape in particular) opt for the round shape when necessary.

Bell & Ross makes a point about exceptional water resistance (300 metres) with the BR 03-92 Diver

Bell & Ross makes a point about exceptional water resistance (300 metres) with the BR 03-92 Diver

Function versus Form

An excellent, if obvious, case in point here is the Richard Mille diver watch while the equally obvious counterpoint is Bell & Ross. In fact, Bell & Ross raised the roof at BaselWorld this year by releasing a diver’s watch that maintained the brand’s signature square look. It is important to note that in this case, no pun intended, the display of time is round allowing Bell & Ross to package both form and function into the mix; obviously, the brand had to work hard to achieve exceptional water resistance in this unusual shape and that should only increase its appeal.

This example aside, function is arguably the strongest reason explaining why the watchmaking trade has doubled down on the round shape in recent years, The aforementioned standard bearers of form watches such as Jaeger-LeCoultre and Cartier are both betting big on round while Omega – once a stellar producer of shaped watches – now only features the odd bullhead and Ploprof for variation. Omega is the third largest maker of high-end mechanical timepieces in Switzerland and it has no other shape in its regular collections but round.

Richard Mille RM50-03

Richard Mille RM50-03

As for the number one spot, Rolex reintroduced the world to the rectangular Prince in 2005 in what was then considered to be yet another of the brand’s calculated surprise moves. It followed up by proposing the Cellini as a brand new tuxedo-friendly family in its collection. Unfortunately, Rolex unceremoniously ditched the rectangular Prince, with the model not even worthy of a mention on its website. If you have never heard of the Rolex Prince, it is as if it never existed…

What is particularly unfortunate here is that this is Rolex, a brand unafraid to go its own way. Perhaps no other major brand would take a chance on something major that would require some getting used to, such as the Sky-Dweller and the Yacht-Master II. If the rectangular Prince can’t make it here then the majors are truly closed for business on the form watch side. On the other hand, there are still pristine examples of the Prince available and this quirky little dressy number may yet have its day.

 

Chameleons: A Case in Between

All this points to the obvious truth that few brands care enough about the form segment to flood the market with options, making what’s available all the more precious. This is what Officine Panerai so smartly trades on, even resolving professional tool watch issues without compromising on the shape of the watches. Brands such as this are few and far between, and bring this story to a special class of offerings.

Audemars Piguet leads the way in disguising round watches as form watches... or is it vice versa?

Audemars Piguet leads the way in disguising round watches as form watches… or is it vice versa?

Another great chameleon in this arena is Audemars Piguet, the maker of the highly idiosyncratic Royal Oak and Royal Oak Offshore watches. The shape here feels distinctive yet it maintains a sort of amorphous state, being perhaps close enough to being round that the unsuspecting eye accepts it as such. Of course, it might also be a round watch masquerading as an octagonal one. Indeed, case, bezel and crystal all come together in masterful fashion to surprise both eye and hand. In short, it is a rather beautiful ambiguity that Audemars Piguet shares here with Panerai.

Other brands too have their place here, including one collection from Patek Philippe with a shared progenitor as the Royal Oak – the Nautilus, and by extension the Aquanaut. Speaking of the great Gerald Genta, it would be remiss to ignore the current Bulgari Octo collection. Bulgari’s determination to convince the world of the virtues of its Octo shape is remarkable, making this brand one of the leading lights of the form watch segment.

Engine of Demand

Taken together, the brands that champion form watches because that is what they must do to survive and, further to that, thrive, perform an invaluable service to watchmaking as a whole – and to collectors by extension. They serve to drive the engine of demand, which is a far more difficult beast to understand than supply.

To put it another way, if while pushing their own goals and growth targets, these corporations also happen to create a little demand for gems of the past such as the A. Lange & Sohne Cabaret or the Rolex Prince, so much the better for collectors, especially those who are already moving in this direction. For those on the sidelines, the success of a particular model can lead to the brand reviving the model in its current collection or increasing its offering, thus building even more cachet and demand. There is actually a proper example of this, which brings us back to Audemars Piguet and Cartier.

The original release of the so-called Series A of the Royal Oak numbered only 1,000 watches yet the ensuing popularity of the model translated to innumerable iterations over the years. This collection – and the Royal Oak Offshore – probably contributes the lion’s share of the brand’s reported figure of 40,000 plus watches sold annually. Finishing our tale at Cartier, where we started, the success of the Tank watch might arguably be correlated to the success of Cartier as a force in high-end watchmaking. While the Royal Oak has just the Royal Oak Offshore as an offshoot, the Tank has quite a number of descendants. The popularity of the Tank with collectors inspired Cartier to create extensive options here, with no less than six different families of Tank watches available, with multiple references in each family. Not bad at all for a watch that started with just six models for sale in Paris in 1919.

Greubel Forsey Double Tourbillon 30 Degree Asymmetrical

Greubel Forsey Double Tourbillon 30 Degree Asymmetrical

Minor Leagues: Where Independent watchmakers stand on Shaped Watches

Where the big brands have circled the wagons, so to speak, it is quite a different story at smaller outfits such as Azimuth, Bell & Ross, MB&F, SevenFriday, Urwerk and others. Certainly some, especially classical names such as Philippe Dufour and Laurent Ferrier, trade on a certain inner beauty but even here, some are not afraid to bust out of the circle. This is most obvious in the watches of Greubel Forsey, where the cases literally bulge in odd ways when the function calls for it. Obviously, when one makes very small numbers of watches it is possible to take certain risks. Here’s how Max Busser of MB&F puts it:

“It’s a question of horological integrity; I’ve said from the beginning that MB&F is not going to put round movements in funky shaped cases because we’re not designers. We’re mechanical artists. This is what separates marketers from creators; If you want to please the market you probably won’t take creative risks. The bigger the company, the more you will be inclined to please the market.”

Busser’s point here extends to watches at many different prices points, as evidenced by Kickstarter notables such as Momentum Labs, Helgray and Xeric. Obviously, Kickstarter projects are defined by the marketplace so the vast majority of projects there are round watches but there are significant alternatives, which one can discover by looking at the offering from those three names.

 

Form Watch Movements

Proportionally, it is rewarding when watchmakers equip a rectangular watch with a movement with exactly the right shape. In first half of the 20th century, it was quite normal to expect form watches to come with movements in the corresponding shape. The idea was to have the mechanical movement function as a sort of kinetic sculpture, one where function followed form. Today, form movements are the exception rather than the rule, even within the increasingly limited area of form watches. Given that form watches as a whole are like an endangered horological species, this story concerns itself with the shape of the watch as a whole rather than the shape of the movement.

The Tank Louis Cartier and Jaeger-LeCoultre calibre 944 are both examples of kinetic sculptures

The Tank Louis Cartier and Jaeger-LeCoultre calibre 944 are both examples of kinetic sculptures

Nevertheless, an entire class of collectors follows this segment and connoisseurs of mechanical watches are always pleased when watchmakers make an effort to match the shape of the movement with the shape of the watch so in this section we will look at the history of such efforts and suggest why they have fallen out of favor, although the simple answer as to why your cushion-shaped watch comes with a round movement is not hard to fathom: it makes sense from a cost and reliability perspective.

With apologies to Louis Cartier and to play devil’s advocate, what value does it really speak to that function should follow form? It is by no means a recent development that we consider function more important than form. To reference the main part of this story, this speaks to why the Apple Watch is rectangular.

Jobs’ design ideology finds its spiritual cousin in the watchmaking philosophy of Jaeger-LeCoultre, at least when it comes to the Reverso. Other than the Squadra, the Art Deco icon has always been equipped with a form movement and its case shape was dictated by function. The Reverso has the shape that it does to facilitate its defining reversible function. Function though is where form movements run into trouble, for one obvious reason: automatic winding, or rather the lack thereof.

The newly launched Tiffany Square Watch comes with its bonafide form, square shaped movement. A rarity even amongst specialist watchmakers.

The newly launched Tiffany Square Watch comes with its bonafide form, square shaped movement. A rarity even amongst specialist watchmakers.

Since at least the 1960s, the watch buying public has sought out automatic models. Once again, you can look to Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso models over the years to see how this played. For the most part, the Reverso has been equipped with manual-winding calibers, all form ones of course. For self-winding models, in the Reverso Squadra and elsewhere, the Grand Maison uses round movements. Cartier sidestepped the issue though because Edmond Jaeger designed and equipped the early Cartier form watches with round LeCoultre movements.

Check out the latest Tiffany Square Watch which joined body (and movement), the pantheon of shaped watches.

 

Apple Watch Series 2 by Hermès

Apple Watch Series 2 By Hermès

While the launch of the new iPhone has got many talking, it is the Apple Watch Series 2 by Hermès that has caught our eye. With a range of new styles and colours, the timepiece is the perfect blend of design and sophistication in one. To find out more about the new Apple Watch Series 2 by Hermès, visit Men’s Folio. For our part, we are still of the opinion that Apple has given up on creating the luxury watch for everyone…at least for now. It is item four on our list, if you are in a rush.

5 Highlights From Apple Media Event

Apple knows how to put on a good show— and orchestrate a media circus around it. You, like us, have probably been waiting for the Apple media event in San Francisco even if you care so little about Apple that you think a lightning connector is a kind of lightning rod. You can admit it even if you are an Android lover or if you just love to hate Apple (despite shrinking sales, the iPhone is still the best-selling smartphone in the world). Apart from rolling out the expected new generation of products, CEO Tim Cook is hoping these clever — and perhaps brave— introductions are set to jumpstart growth at the tech company. Here are five key things to note from the announcement, although really we are mainly interested in the Apple Watch, which is why that part has the most meat in this tale…

Water-resistant iPhones

The event saw Apple introduce two new upgraded versions of the flagship smartphone — but still at the same price. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, which will be slightly larger, pretty much look the same as the iPhone 6 and 6S Plus. With a powerful processor called the A10 Fusion chip, improved camera technology and even water resistance, it is all set to lord it over other new models in the industry. Seriously, that A10 chip is a big deal, bringing more power to the table, without consuming more power, and calling attention once more to Apple’s proficiency with processors. For the selfie lovers, the new dual cameras will allow for pictures with better quality. The most controversial move, however, is the removal of the headphone jack. There is nothing in its place; the proprietary Apple “lightning” connector will function as a headphone jack, with the help of an adaptor. Apple however isn’t encouraging the use of the lightning connector for this purpose. Instead, Cook, Ive and co are inviting you to cut the cord…

Cutting the Cordairpods-apple

Forgoing the plug-in headsets that usually end up entangled, Apple has introduced a new pair of wireless headphones. Using a new wireless communication chip called the W1, the new AirPods (we recall the days Apple made another product called the AirPort — similar sounding but totally different — but we digress) can detect if a user is listening to music or not, staying ready for action in standby mode. The AirPods connect automatically to all devices linked to a user’s iCloud account. As you can see, the AirPods are tiny so you can expect to lose them frequently. Then again, Apple has never made the best headphones for its own products so this is merely par for the course. Also, they have a company that happens to make headphones, as you may have heard…

Super Mario on iPhonesuper-mario-apple

In collaboration with Nintendo, Apple announced the launch of “Super Mario Run” that was designed for mobile. The iconic game featuring everyone’s favorite plumber will be available on the App Store this year. Alongside SuperMario, Apple announced that users of the Apple Watch will be able to enjoy the popular game Pokémon Go later this month.

Apple Watch Series 2watch_nike_hero-93ec8182802-h0

Speaking of the Apple Watch, the brand will be introducing the upgraded Apple Watch, which boasts a water resistance of up to 50 meters. Fitness junkies will welcome the GPS that allows users to track their workouts without having to bring along a smartphone. Just so you know though, your watch needs to be water resistant to at least 100 meters before you can safely swim with it. Apple will also be introducing new designs in collaboration with Nike that will be targeted at runners. For those favoring something more fashionable, Apple is also working on new styles for its Hermes edition and here is where things get interesting because observers are not buying it. For the record, neither are we.

The Verge — and others — have noticed Apple’s nod in the direction of utility, meaning its dream of conquering the Swiss fine watchmaking business might be over, or at least on hold. Basically, there is only one watch brand that is truly for everyone, middle class and up: Rolex. The Apple watch was meant to be all things to all people, whatever their station, and that was probably foolish — at least for now. Even mighty Rolex did not arrive as the King of Watches overnight, though it was born with a crown. Well, Apple will have to content itself with being the world’s most valuable brand and largest publicly traded corporation (by market capitalization).

iOS 10 Release

The new mobile operating system is aimed at working with the new hardware, on September 13, including upgrades to its maps and news applications. A test version of the software, which helps accelerate Apple’s efforts in home automation, was released earlier this year.

Apple Watch Hermès – Bands Sold Separately

One of the best traits about the Apple Watch is its ridiculously easy-to-swap out band. It seems that specially designed bands, as well as band adapters, have turned into their own kind of market. Easily interchangeable straps have are nothing new so it is not surprising to learn that the Apple Watch Hermès has special edition wristbands to be made available for purchase from Apple and Hermès stores, as well as select luxury retail locations.

The whole package for the watch and strap retails between $1,100 (38mm watch, single tour band) and $1,500 (42mm watch, wide cuff), but the strap alone will go for $340 (single tour), $490 (double tour), or $690 (wide cuff). A range of new colors will also be introduced, with peacock blue, sapphire blue, orange, and white joining denim blue, brown, gray, black, and red.

For more information on the product, you can check out Apple’s site over here.

Apple Watch Hermes

The Apple Watch Hermès is now available

Apple Watch Hermes

After teasing the collaboration last month, Apple has released the Hermès edition of its watches in select stores across North America.

The tie-in adds a touch of French luxury to the latest technological gadgetry. The amped-up version of the Apple Watch features a leather band and sports the Hermès logo on the watch face.

Bands are available as single or double tour, and as a cuff.

The watches are being sold at stores in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco and Toronto. Prices start at $1,100.

Apple Watch Hermes Double Tour

Airbnb Apple Watch app

Airbnb creates app for Apple Watch

Airbnb Apple Watch app

 has launched its first smartwatch application, exclusively for the Apple Watch, with features for both guests and renters.

The new app will feature a messaging service to help hosts and guests connect easily and quickly before, during and after a stay.

APPLE WATCH PROJECTED TO SELL 20 MILLION

Hosts with an Apple Watch will be able to receive new booking requests, including traveler name and photo, and requested dates, right on their wrists. They can also read and send messages as well as save pre-recorded responses to quickly communicate with guests.

Users with Passbook can still access Airbnb to receive reservation notifications or booking information.

Apple Watch store France

The Apple Watch is no longer by appointment only

Apple Watch store France

For shoppers hoping to try on the new Apple Watch before buying, the process has just become simpler. Starting this week, instead of making the required appointment and providing personal details, customers can walk into stores and try on the watch, according to 9to5mac.

The new policy will streamline the retail experience for those hoping to purchase the product and offer more hands-on time with the device to a larger range of shoppers.

Since the product came out four months ago, customers have been required to set up an appointment ahead of time and provide their name and Apple ID to store employees.

Customers still have the option of providing their email address and preferred Apple Watches in order for the Apple Online Store to keep their preferences on a wish list for future purchases.

eBay for Apple Watch

eBay launches Apple Watch app

eBay for Apple Watch

Online auction marketplace eBay has announced the release of an app for the Apple Watch, allowing users to stay on top of their bids, purchases and sales on the new smartwatch.

Using the app, buyers and sellers can get overviews of their eBay activity as well as more detailed information via push notifications.

Quick summaries of Notifications, Buying, Selling and Watching are available, as is a comprehensive view of all eBay activity and a seller summary view.

Buyers can perform quick bidding directly from the watch, and voice recognition allows you to dictate responses directly.

Beyonce Apple Watch Edition

Beyonce Has a Gold Apple Watch You Can’t Buy

Beyonce Apple Watch Edition

Beyoncé has uploaded a photo to her blog showing off an unusual version of the Apple Watch Edition, Apple Insider reports.

In place of the standard leather or flouroelastimer strap, it has a link bracelet like the less expensive Apple Watch. Unlike the standard Apple Watch, however, this link bracelet looks like it’s made of gold.

Lagerfeld apple watch

While Apple is supplying Apple Watch to big names in entertainment and fashion, only Beyonce and Lagerfeld are known to have gold link bracelets.

This Apple Watch Edition probably goes for even more than the most expensive Watch, which costs around $17,000!

Apple Watch Sport

A Guided Tour of the Apple Watch [VIDEO]

A little more than two weeks before the Apple Watch goes on sale on April 24, the Cupertino-based company has released a first series of “Guided Tour” videos for its smart watch. Pre-ordering begins April 10.

The videos available on the Apple website allow you to better understand how to receive and respond to messages, but also on how to personalize your screen and even share emotions and “tap” your friends.

There are two ways to order your watch: either by ordering it directly from the Apple website, or by reserving one at an Apple Store.

APPLE WATCH: THE CHEAT SHEET

Apple Watch Sport

Apple hopes to make appointments with every future buyer in order to best determine the precise model that corresponds to his or her needs and to provide a quick how-to tutorial before completing the order.

The first generation of the Apple Watch is available in three model lines: Apple Watch Sport, from $349 to $399, the “classic” Apple Watch, from $549 to $1,100 and Apple Watch Edition, from $10,000 to $17,000.

The Apple Watch Edition model comes in 18-karat gold version with a sapphire crystal display.

Apple Watch store France

London, Paris, Tokyo to get Apple Watch stores

Apple Watch store France

On April 10, Apple will open three dedicated stores-within-stores to sell its premium smartwatch.

DON’T MISS: APPLE WATCH: THE CHEAT SHEET

The stores, which will be situated in London’s Selfridges, Galaries Lafayette in Paris and Isetan in Tokyo, will be spaces where customers will get the opportunity to get up close with the devices, trying them on and even placing orders ahead of their official launch date.

GOLD APPLE WATCHES WILL BE KEPT IN SAFES

All three different versions of the Apple Watch will officially go on sale on April 24 in the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong and Japan.

Apple Watch Sport

Apple Watch: the cheat sheet

Apple Watch Sport

Now that Apple’s first smartwatch is official, here’s everything you need to know about the timepiece and whether or not it’s for you.

What does it do?

On one level, the Apple Watch is a second screen for the iPhone where notifications can appear and be glanced at quickly without fishing a phone out of one’s pocket. Users can ignore alerts or respond to them, either by dictating a message into the watch’s microphone or via a number of pre-written text responses.

However, like the Dick Tracy watch, an Apple Watch will let you talk into your wrist to make a phone call.

Touchy-feely

There are also some interesting new communicative features that the devices bring, such as being able to share your heart rate as a vibrating alert with another Apple Watch wearer, or to sketch an image on the watch face and send it to the face of another owner’s device.

The device’s screen also responds differently to different levels of touch pressure — Apple calls this force touch and it means that taps and swipes can unlock more functionality and features based on the weight behind the finger doing the touching.

Likewise, the watch has a digital crown for scrolling through text and menus without touching and therefore obscuring the screen.

Fitness

All Apple Watches also pack some serious health and fitness tracking capabilities, something that Tim Cook is incredibly passionate about.

In the weeks leading up to the official launch he described sitting as the new cancer and said how the watch would remind wearers to stand up and walk around if it felt they’d been sitting for too long.

Support

When the watch goes on sale it will do with a host of third-party apps from some very heavy hitters, from Twitter to BMW. However, there are also a host of integrated apps and features.

BMW WANTS YOUR SMARTWATCH TO PARK YOUR CAR

Wearers can adopt the watch face to show everything from the time to the phases of the moon, calendar appointments and location data.

Specs

The device’s battery will last for 18 hours’ normal use before it will need to be recharged but, if it’s put into ultimate power saving mode where it simply displays the time, Apple says that the watch will go for three days between charges.

All models of the watch are water resistant and can withstand being submerged in up to 1 meter of water for 30 minutes, so they’re shower-proof and you can leave your watch on when washing your hands.

On board there is 2GB of space that can be used for storing music and 75MB for storing photos locally — i.e., when not connected to an iPhone.

So with a set of Bluetooth headphones you can go for a jog and leave your phone behind and should have about 200 tracks to listen to and 100 images to look at and help to motivate you during your workout.

Availability

When it goes on sale on April 24 it will cost between $349 and $17,000 depending on the edition, bracelet choice and casing and screen size and will initially be available in nine countries — Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the UK and the US.

The watch is available in three collections — Sport, Watch and Edition — and in two casing and screen sizes to suit male and female wearers.

Sport models start at $349, the Watch collection at $549 and an 18-karat gold alloy Edition ranges from $10,000-$17,000.

Who is it for?

Apple’s biggest fans and, with a pricing system that goes right up to $10,000 and well beyond, those who would have considered buying a luxury Swiss watch if they’d been born in the pre-smartphone age.

It’s also for anyone who owns an iPhone 5, 5C, 5S 6 or 6 Plus as it will not work with older handsets.

Apple will be adding an online Apple Watch configurator to its site in the run up the smartwatch’s official release.

APPLE WATCH PROJECTED TO SELL 20 MILLION

Apple Watch Sport

Apple Watch projected to sell 20 million

Apple Watch Sport

Apple has reportedly placed an initial order of 5-6 million examples of the Apple Watch in the run up to its April launch.

However, according to research and analysis company CCS Insights, the first Apple smartwatch could sell four times that amount.

The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday reported that Apple’s Taiwan suppliers have been instructed to produce an initial run of 5-6 million watches, 50% of which will be the aluminum-bodied rubber strap Sport version and a further one-third of which will be the more substantial stainless steel Classic version.

This means that although the price hasn’t been confirmed, and speculation is that it could cost thousands, rather than hundreds of dollars, as many as 1 million 18k gold Apple Watches are also going into production.

CCS Insights is predicting that 2015 will be the year of the smartwatch and is forecasting an eight-fold increase in sales over the next 12 months.

The company believes that 75 million wearable devices in total — including clip-on cameras and health sensors — will be snapped up by consumers and that as many as 20 million of those devices will be Apple Watches.

Data published on Wednesday, February 11 from Canalys shows that only 4.6 million smart band devices shipped globally over the course of 2014 and that of that number just 720,000 were Android Wear smartwatches.

It too is forecasting that shipments and sales are posed for explosive growth once the Apple Watch goes on sale in April.

However, despite the initial excitement, there is a chance that Apple is still searching for its smartwatch’s ‘killer app’ and, according to the Wall Street Journal, the watch initially had an even bigger focus on health, but features such as blood pressure tracking were dropped because they were either too complex, weren’t sufficiently reliable or would have meant that the watch needed to gain FAA approval to go on sale.

As it is, Apple has invited a host of developers currently working on Apple Watch apps into the company to help get them finished and perfectly polished in time for the device’s retail launch.

Gold Apple Watch

Gold Apple Watches will be kept in safes

Gold Apple Watch

Sources claim that pro jewelry-store level strong boxes will be fitted in Apple Stores ahead of the company’s first smartwatch going on public sale.

Speculation is still rife regarding how much exactly Apple’s premium gold-edition smart watch is going to cost.

And this revelation from insiders, who spoke to 9to5 Mac, suggests that the device could well be the most expensive product in Apple’s entire range.

As well as serious safes, fitted out with wireless chargers to keep the watches going, the gold edition of the Apple Watch will also be sold to potential clients differently, with an even bigger focus on individual service, underlining the watch’s premium status and customization options.

The Apple Watch is available in three variants (Watch, Sport’ and Edition) and in two different sizes. Prices in the US will start at $349 but it’s not clear if that price is for the stainless steel Watch edition or for the lightweight anodized aluminum Sport edition.

Apple Watch on display in Paris

The Apple Watch Is on Show at Paris Fashion Week

Apple Watch on display in Paris

, a high-end retailer located near the Louvre, showcased the new Apple watches on Tuesday as part of Paris Fashion Week.

The day started early with a try-on event for fashion VIPs – including Karl Lagerfeld and Vogue editor Anna Wintour – hosted by Jony Ive, Apple’s head of design, and Marc Newson, its newest high-profile design hire.

WHAT DO THE TOP WATCHMAKERS THINK OF APPLE WATCH?

Karl Lagerfeld and Anna Wintour

Though the smartwatch couldn’t be touched, this one-day showcase at Colette marks the first time that the Apple Watch has been displayed outside of an invite-only event.

Members of the press had the opportunity to see the Watch up close when it was unveiled a few weeks ago, but the experience was not extensive, given the watches on display at the time were not working models.

Apple Watch pop-up

The boutique had devoted its entire window display to the Apple Watch in a display that was inspired by the device’s multiple circle operating system.

No word yet as well if the smart watch will be sold in Colette, although the idea was considered interesting by  representatives.

biver

What Do The Top Watchmakers Think of Apple Watch?

jean claude biver caviar hublot

The Apple Watch looks “too feminine” and its design will not stand the test of time, luxury giant LVMH’s watch guru has told German media.

Jean-Claude Biver, who heads LVMH’s luxury-watch division, said Apple had made some fundamental mistakes designing the Apple Watch.

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This watch has no sex appeal. It’s too feminine and looks too much like the smartwatches already on the market,” Biver said in an interview with daily Die Welt.

“To be totally honest, it looks like it was designed by a student in their first trimester,” added Biver who heads up ,  and

Apple Watch

Biver predicted the much-anticipated device, with its square face and curved edges, would soon be outdated.

Luxury always has something timeless, it’s rare and conveys prestige,” he was quoted as saying, adding that the same could not be said for Apple Watch, which is expected to be bought by millions of customers and will likely be beyond repair in a few years’ time.

Biver is not the first watch chief to be dismissive of Apple’s efforts. Swatch CEO Nick Hayek earlier told Swiss media that the world’s biggest watch group was “not nervous” about Apple’s foray into the market.

Apple Watch, which comes in several colours and links to the iPhone, will start at $349 when it is released early next year.

The Apple Watch collection

Apple Unveils the $349 Apple Watch!

The Apple Watch collection

Apple has introduced three collections of the new Apple Watch just after revealing the new iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus.

And as expected from any device that was developed under the watchful eyes of Jony Ive, it’s as stylish as it is potentially useful.

But good looks alone do not guarantee a device is going to be any good, so how does it stack up to the competition?

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The Apple Watch can track motion, health, fitness and well-being, monitor heart-rate, can be used to make phone calls and send single touch messages, as a replacement for a physical wallet when paying for goods, as an iPhone camera remote control and as a standalone mp3 player.

But all of the features have been carefully and intelligently integrated in a way that makes the device as simple to use as an iPhone.

There are also intelligent touches like a digital crown wheel that can be pushed or turned to navigate the watch face and interface with apps without obscuring it with your fingers and which Apple is hailing as its most revolutionary navigation tool since the click-wheel on the iPod.

Apple Watch

But perhaps most importantly, the company has avoided taking the ‘one-size-fits-all” approach.

The watch is available in three different styles, or ‘collections’ — Watch; Watch Sport; and Watch Edition — and in two different watch face sizes.

Watch comes with a polished or space black finish stainless steel case and a choice of six different straps ranging from stainless steel bracelets to leather bands.

Watch Sport swaps stainless steel for lighter aluminum and a tougher display for those that want to make the most of its activity-tracking capabilities.

Meanwhile the Edition collection is for those that want glamour. The smartwatch is plated in 18-karat gold and owners will be able to choose from six styles each with their own specially designed band.

The Apple Watch is set to go on sale, initially in the US only, in early 2015 and will cost $349.

It is compatible with the iPhone 5, 5C, 5S and the iPhone 6.