Mechanically no different than its standard issue brethren, it’s materially where the Hermès Apple Watch is most conspicuous.
Seeking to attract a new audience of Apple Watch converts, and raise the bar on its fashion prowess (the tech giant was, this week, named the sponsor of next May’s Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala), Apple certainly rose to the occasion on several fronts with its Hermès collection of digital timepieces.
The attention to detail is spectacular. Beyond the digital incorporation of classic Hermès dial designs based on the fashion house’s iconic Clipper, Cade Cod and Espace mechanical watches (supposedly in development for as long as the Apple Watch itself), there’s the packaging. Because, let’s face it, when any product is being marketed toward a trendsetting crowd, presentation needs to be on par with product.
From the elegant Hermès orange shopping bag branded with the Apple Watch logo (a co-branding first for the fashion house) to the Hermès orange Apple Watch box to the “Designed by Apple in California and Hermès in Paris” placard to the inscribed Apple Watch Hermès logos in the storage case, the over-the-top branding was the equivalent of an Hermès orgasm. Did I mention even the Hermès brown ribbon was remade to include the Apple Watch logo?
Hermès does not mess around.
On October 5, the first day it launched, the Hermès flagship in New York City had a line around the block (a first that I’d seen in my 30+ years of living in Manhattan). It sold out in its 16 North American locations—with the Double Tour model by far the most popular. A note for those inkling for the 38mm double leather twist model: no man I witnessed could fit it around his wrist; in fact, unless you had Kate Moss-sized appendages, even the ladies had difficulty. And it’s a shame that the Double Tour wasn’t offered with the 42mm model. Lost opportunities there, Apple.
As for the watch itself, which is etched Hermès on the back of the stainless steel case and features the series of three aforementioned dial fonts that will amaze any Hermès fan (it become the center of attention at nearly event I attended), it does look remarkably handsome with the the fauve Barenia leather strap with white contrast stitching.
Fashion types and creative directors that inspected my Hermès Apple Watch were almost all in agreement that the price points were fair—and that Apple could have easily sold it for three times as much. Ranging from $1,100 for a 38mm Single Tour to $1,500 for a 42mm Cuff that sat comfortably on the wrist, they were some 50 percent less expensive than their mechanical Hermès counterparts. But therein lies the rub.
At an appointment not too long ago, I ran into a friend who was wearing his mechanical Hermès Cape Cod. “Ah, the Hermès watch,” he cooed, grabbing my wrist. “You’re an early adapter.” I wasn’t quite sure how to respond. I looked longingly at his stunning watch, though, whose dial mirrored mine save for the chronograph functions, and found myself in disbelief when he told me he’d been wearing his for 13 years.
So while the novelty of the Hermès Apple Watch had us both intrigued at the present, what, pray tell, will become of it 12 months from now? No doubt Jony Ive already has that worked out. But, until then, I’ll have my orange box to console me.