Welcome to This Month in Luxury, presented by Micah Singleton, The Verge's resident Luxury Director. In this monthly (or whenever we remember) column, I will take you on a completely superficial journey of opulence, pointing out one device, artifact, or service an upscale individual such as yourself would take pleasure in experiencing. Let the journey begin.
As part of its ongoing effort to convince people with trust funds and personal shoppers at Barneys New York to use its new wearable, Apple has partnered with reputed French luxury house Hermès to create the Apple Watch Hermès, the first standalone collection for its smartwatch.
While Hermès isn't exactly known for its watchmaking prowess, it is known as one of the premier leather goods manufacturers in the world. From the $1,675 compact leather wallets to $150,000 Birkin bags, Hermès has established itself as the leather goods supplier for yacht owners and leasers alike. Given Apple's dearth of skills when it comes to crafting leather — one watchmaker I spoke to described the leather loop band for the Apple Watch as "rubbery" and didn't believe it was even leather — having Hermès craft its watch bands is a shrewd move.
The question is do you want one? The Apple Watch Hermès isn't available in 18K gold like the Apple Watch Edition. (At least not officially, but that's never stopped anyone with bank accounts in countries they've never visited, has it?) It's your standard $500 Apple Watch, with Hermès' Single Tour, Double Tour, or Cuff watch straps along with special Hermès engravings on the buckle and on the rear of the watch case, and new watch faces featuring Hermès' custom font.
Keeping the Hermès collection away from the overpriced Edition is one of the smartest things Apple has done with the Apple Watch. For every $100,000+ Birkin bag it sells, Hermès moves thousands of sub-$1,000 scarves, bracelets, and fragrances. While the ceiling of its price range may afford you a small Mediterranean cottage to house your teacup Pomeranian and store your overflow of Louis Vuitton luggage, Hermès makes most of its sales in a more affordable price bracket.
Starting at $1,100 and topping out at $1,500, the Apple Watch Hermès is priced to sell, and with its limited availability — currently only available in 17 Apple and Hermès stores in the US — and stamp of approval from a legendary fashion house, it may just be the most luxurious watch Apple has made.