It was never clear who the $10,000 to $17,000 18-karat gold Apple Watch was for, beyond celebrities and the ultrarich, but I hope whoever bought one way back in 2015 expected Apple to stop supporting them at some point. That day has come. Apple has now internally listed all first-gen Apple Watch models, including the solid-gold Edition, as “obsolete,” MacRumors reports.
Apple’s obsolete label doesn’t just mean the end of software support. That ship has sailed; the original Apple Watches (widely referred to as Series 0) never updated beyond watchOS 4.3.2 in 2018. It means the end of hardware support: the company will no longer provide parts, repairs, or replacement services.
The solid-gold Apple Watch Edition was something of a passion project for Apple’s former lead designer, Jony Ive. When it launched, it was seen on the wrists of influential celebrities, including German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, who, like Beyoncé, wore it with a gold link bracelet that was never available to the public.
The Edition was Apple’s first attempt at competing with the luxury watch market, and the solid-gold version only lasted a year before Apple dropped it in favor of much cheaper (but not cheap!) ceramic and, later, titanium Editions. Most people don’t have Beyoncé or Lagerfeld money. Even folks who do drop five figures on watches tend to want something that’ll still tell time (and hold its value) in a couple of decades.
You could spend $10,000 to $30,000 on a Cartier Tank, still get a square watch, and not worry about whether you could get it serviced eight (or 80) years later. As long as luxury watch manufacturers like Cartier exist (or Patek Philippe, Rolex, etc.), you can get first-party repair service. If your $17,000 Apple Watch needs to be repaired, you can try your luck with a third-party repair shop, DIY a battery replacement, or, if you have the necessary panache, just wear it anyway. Karl Lagerfeld didn’t even set his up!