The Apple Watch may have helped popularize the idea of smartwatches, and the tiny wearable gadgets continue to be a big part of Apple’s product lineup. But one thing the company gave up on years ago? Luxury watches that sold for as much as $17,000.
And now the company is really giving up on them, because word on the street is that all first-gen Apple Watch models have been added to Apple’s list of obsolete products, which means you can no longer order spare parts of have them repaired at at an Apple Store or authorized dealer.
Apple hasn’t actually updated its obsolete product list yet, but according to an internal Apple memo viewed by the folks at MacRumors, it will do that pretty soon. And it makes sense, because right now 1st-edition Apple Watch models are listed as “vintage” products, meaning they were released between 5 and 7 years ago.
But the original Apple Watch actually launched more than eight years ago, in April of 2015.
At the time there was a lot of discussion about whether the company’s decision to sell some luxury “Apple Watch Edition” models for $10,000 to $17,000 made any sense. On the one hand (or wrist, I guess), luxury watches are definitely a thing and people regularly spend that kind of money on a high-end watch with premium design and materials.
On the other, those luxury watches are usually meant to last for decades, and if they stop working, you can take them to a shop for repair. Luxury watches often increase in value over time.
An Apple Watch, meanwhile, is the kind of electronic device that generally decreases in value over time. Newer models tend to have better processors, improved wireless capabilities, and perhaps most importantly, fresh batteries.
Not only might an older smartwatch struggle to run the latest software, but if your battery dies and you can’t buy an official replacement, it may not run at all. So you may find yourself wearing an expensive watch with premium materials and a screen that doesn’t turn on at all.
Of course, it’s not just the $10,000+ models that are obsolete now. So are the lower-priced models that started as low as $349. But it’s probably a lot easier on most people’s wallets to replace a sub-$400 smartwatch every 5-7 years than it would be to replaces a luxury smartwatch that’s turns into a piece of jewelry later in life.
Apple does still sell some premium smartwatches. They’re just a lot cheaper than they used to be. The latest Apple Watch Hermès, for example, starts at $1,249, while the Apple Watch Ultra 2 starts at $799. the Apple Watch Series 9 starts at $399, and the Apple Watch SE goes for as little as $249.
Or if you’re not locked into Apple’s ecosystem, you could just spend $69 on Nothing’s new CMF Watch Pro or some other cheaper wearable smartphone companion.