The Apple Watch hasn’t even hit stores yet, but already some people are coming up with inventive—and crazy—ways to customize the timepiece. The starting price of $350 may be enough to discourage some potential buyers, but if the sky’s the limit, one designer has already created several dazzling options for blinging out your smartwatch.
Swiss watch designer Yvan Arpa is know for his unique and sometimes quirky take on the luxury timepiece so it’s no surprise that he has been turning his creative energy toward the modificaton of smartwatches, most notably the Apple Watch that will go on sale next year. For the average Apple fanatic, just being able to plunk down $350 for the privilege of wearing the latest gadget from the land of overpriced toys will be the high point of the year, but for the conspicuous consumer who must advertise his bank balance (or credit card debt) to the immediate world, a simple smartwatch isn’t nearly grand enough.
That’s where the expertise of Arpa comes in, since the designer has announced his plans for re-casing the Apple Watch with gold and scads of pricey jewels. While Apple is expected to offer its flagship smartwatch in an 18-karat gold version selling for several grand, Arpa plans to give luxury-loving owners even more ways to spend their money by re-casing the device in exclusive custom cases. One mock-up from the designer shows the Apple Watch sporting a new case made from 150 grams of gold adorned with eight carats of baguette-cut diamonds.
So what’s the tab for this blinged-out smartwatch? Arpa estimates that a customer seeking the one-of-a-kind Apple Watch experience can expect to pay anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 Swiss Francs, but one model called the “PineApple” will carry an estimated price tag of $65,000 USD.
There’s one rather obvious thing bothering me about this whole bling-your-smartwatch thing. While a diamond is forever, a mobile device has a life span of about two years, the usual length of your wireless contract—or the point where you just get tired of the gadget and trade it in on something new. What happens to that fancy diamond-studded smartwatch when Apple releases the new-and-improved model a few months down the line?
The obvious answer would be to pop out the old works and insert the new one, which makes sense for a regular watch but may not be feasible for a smartwatch. Also, knowing the history of Apple and its policies, won’t allowing your smartwatch to be opened by anyone other than an authorized repairperson invalidate your warranty?
Not that any of these concerns will matter to the type of customer that will fork over thousands of bucks to sport a diamond-studded Apple Watch on his or her wrist. Being the first with a lust-worthy items that no one else has (yet) will make the expense all worthwhile. At least, until the next hot new goodie goes on sale.