Unless you’ve been living in the mountains for the last several months, you’re aware that Apple once again shook up the tech world with a new product. There were other smartwatches on the market of course, but nothing really matters until Apple has had its say.
It was the same for the freemium music arms race and will continue on for the foreseeable future as long as Apple maintains its staggering brand loyalty. However, while Apple may be the king of the smartwatch market, it cannot say the same thing about luxury watches.
Some believed that the introduction of the Apple Watch would spell doom for the mechanical watch market. That couldn’t be further from the truth though. If you’re a watch enthusiast, you’re probably intimately familiar with the Rolex Submariner.
The Submariner has been the diver’s watch of choice since 1953, and remains the only one that is classy enough to be worn with a tuxedo. The Rolex is an institution. Those timepieces have been established in our culture as not only art, but one of our most celebrated status symbols. Now obviously both watches are far beyond merely devices used to tell the time.
In fact, most of what the Apple Watch does can already be done on your smartphone. Buying either one of these pieces is a statement, and if you want that narrative to read you’re a person of means with a timeless sense of style, stay clear of the Apple Watch.
While a Rolex Submariner is a luxury watch, the Apple product is quite simply a computer. As such, it is subject to Moore’s Law, which states that computing power will double every two years, and the hardware and cost will inevitably become more efficient.
This means that every day that goes by, that expensive smartwatch will continue to lose value until it becomes obsolete. That time will be sooner than you think because Apple is reportedly already prepared to roll out the Apple Watch 2 either early next year, or in the fall.
In contrast, luxury mechanical watches don’t depreciate. Similar to a fine wine, they gain more value as they age. Rolexes are often passed down from generation to generation, like a family home. An Apple Watch, or really any new technology, is often replaced 6 months to a year after its original purchase date.
However, if you’re choosing between the two, you’re probably thinking about style, and the Rolex Submariner blows the Apple Watch out of the water in that regard. The most aesthetically pleasing Apple Watch in my opinion is the stainless steel version with the leather strap. It’s light years behind the Submariner. It’s not built as tough as the Rolex so scratches will be a lot more visible on the Apple Watch than on the Submariner’s brushed stainless steel case. Apple just can’t compete with the durability and timeless look of a Rolex.
I can only recommend the Apple Watch if you’re on a bit of a budget and are okay with a low-brow status symbol. Otherwise, stick to the classics.