Apple’s much-anticipated ‘Watch’ has already created plenty exuberance. What is more enthralling though is the radical shift in the way Apple is expected to maneuver its ‘Watch’ sales. The high-end ‘Apple Watch Edition’ versions comes in 18-karat Gold case, likely to be priced around USD 5,000 against the basic sport version for USD 349 only. This premium segment Wearable – ‘Watch Edition’ is not being handled like any other piece of technology product but is being given Jewelry treatment.
First, Apple is modifying the format of its retail outlets to what normally appears in Jewelry stores. To hold inventory and demo units, new safes equipped with chargers are being introduced. Special-locked Display Showcase on the floor and hands-on display will enable customers to closely browse through the different models and try out various bands and 34 different versions to get a unique experience. As a security feature, Apple stores will now have weight scales to check and weigh Gold in cases of replacements and returns.
Second, Apple is getting experts from fashion industry onboard for better marketing of ‘Watch’. Apple’s retail department is headed by former Burberry CEO – Angela Ahrendts, who is likely to revamp the retail store’s format to make Apple Watch at par with fashion and luxury items. Retail employees of Apple will undergo a special training program to equip themselves with product knowledge and sales methods. Besides, new ‘professional’ employee uniforms are being brought in to build a luxury image.
These steps embraced by Apple make it amply clear that it is not about a tech product interweaved with precious metals and gems but rather a comprehensive approach towards convergence of jewelry and technology. Wearables are blurring the line of distinction between the otherwise two seemingly disparate categories. Though, the trend is not just about one product or a company.
Several wearable jewelry products, also called as Smart Jewelry, in form of rings, bracelets, anklets, earrings, cufflinks, pendants, necklaces are now available in the market. These jewelry pieces contain some chips or tags and integrate with various electronic products including smartphones, enabling to receive notifications, send SOS alerts, track activities and locations, change display lights to match apparels and even act as USB drive, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi hotspots, RFID readers and UV sensors, among various other features. Most of such wearables are not repulsive and made of plastics and rubber but from precious metals and gems like gold, silver, onyx, rubies, sapphires etc.
Apart from names like Cuff, Ringly, Elemoon, Kovert Designs, Misfit, Netatmo June, Memi and so on, Intel has also ventured into the wearable jewelry market by partnering with Opening Ceremony and have announced plans for a communications bracelet – codenamed MICA.
Demand of new-age consumers and increasing uptake of the trend by more players may mean that wearables are the future of Jewelry. Whether the traditional jewelers are willing and poised to move in this direction is another question but convergence is only going to go north and its time is now.