Apple x Hermès : fashion or luxury?

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When a friend tagged me onto a photo of what appeared to be a new Apple Watch x Hermès watch it took me aback. Was it real? Well it turns out that it is. Collaborations are the thing now, after all.

As if their Milanese strap watch wasn’t enough, Apple has announced the Apple Watch Hermès in which the latter has supplied not just faces based on their existing models but also hand-made leather straps similar to those made for their own watches, not to mention their leather bracelets – Single Tour, Double Tour and as they call it, Cuff.

If I was going to guess a leather strap option for an Apple Watch, this wouldn’t have been it.

Their press release includes this quote –

“At Hermès, we strive to provide our clients with elegant, creative and functional objects for their everyday lives,” said Pierre-Alexis Dumas, Hermès’ executive vice president in charge of artistic direction. “What more contemporary and relevant expression of this principle could there be than this collaboration with Apple. We are strongly united by the same deeply held ideas and principles. I see it as the establishment of an alliance in excellence; like horse and carriage, a perfect team.”

The Single Tour with the 38mm stainless steel case comes in Fauve Barenia leather, noir box leather and capucine Swift leather, and the Single Tour on the 42mm stainless steel case comes in fauve Barenia leather and noir box leather. The Double Tour pairs with the 38 mm stainless steel case and is available in fauve Barenia leather and Bleu Jean, Capucine and Etain Swift leather. The Cuff pairs with the 42 mm stainless steel case and is available in Fauve Barenia leather only.

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Each version will have an etching of the Hermès signature and includes a customisable face with three exclusive dial designs inspired by Clipper, Cape Cod and Espace Hermès watches.

The Apple Watch Hermès starts at $1,100 (US) for the 38 mm stainless steel case with the Single Tour, $1,150 (US) for the 42 mm stainless steel case with the Single Tour, $1,250 (US) for the 38 mm stainless steel case with the Double Tour and $1,500 (US) for the 42 mm stainless steel case with the Cuff. The collection will be available at select Apple retail stores, select Hermès boutiques, specialty stores and department stores from October 5, 2015 in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Korea, Russia, Singapore, Switzerland, the UK and the US.

For more information on Apple Watch Hermès go to this link.

It looks good with an Hermès strap, which adds some ‘luxury value’ to the Apple Watch in addition to making it an aesthetically more attractive object. I have little doubt that these will be popular, but a few thoughts :

  1. Why not just buy the Hermès leather bracelets (here are links if you want to know pricing) and wear them in addition to your Apple Watch? That way, when your watch reaches its inevitable obsolescence you can still wear the bracelet when you can’t use your gadget/ watch any more. Unless you have other watches with the correct lug size and thickness for the straps, that is … the straps can be removed, right? Or perhaps the strap system will not change for subsequent Apple Watches, and you will able to transfer them … ?
  2. Hermès is a luxury brand and prides itself on exclusivity. Apple is a mass market brand in first world countries and a masspirational brand in many others. To what extent will this collaboration into what is essentially a fashion gadget, affect perceptions of the Maison of Hermès as a luxury brand? It may elevate perceptions of the Apple Watch as an expensive wrist object, and perhaps broaden the idea of of it beyond an electronic gadget/ smart watch for the wrist into a fashion item, but for Hermès?

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Oh and if you’re wondering, yes they will come in orange boxes. I am assuming that you will only get the orange bag if you buy it from an Hermès boutique or concession.

So, who’s queueing?



Categories: Hermes, Industry news, Smartwatch/ wearable tech, Straps, watches

1 reply

  1. Surely both Apple and Hermes have considered all angles of the deal.
    I think it is a brilliant move from both sides. Apple Watch is the future of the wrist watch and their market segment has just increased…..

    Like

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