Why Apple Watch Edition Gold Would Make Scrooge McDuck Cry

By Gerald Lynch on at

It's cliche to point out, but Apple's gear costs a lot and, even for a company that has no qualms with selling computers worth a month or three's wages, the Apple Watch is expensive even by their standards. Estimated to launch today at £350, the most pricey "Edition" version is likely to cost around £8,000.

Why? It's made from gold. "Apple Gold", even. Yes, as Apple detractors are often keen to take a pop-shot at, the company is claiming to have invented something that in essence already exists. But in this case it's sort of true -- the gold in the Apple Watch Edition is formed in such a way as to be unique, and most importantly (according to a patent that lines up nicely with Apple's description of the Edition gold), will keep the actual amount of gold that Apple uses to a minimum. 18 karat it may be, but a clever metal matrix composite, using ceramic particles in the construction, reduces the amount of valuable metals used.

As Dr. Drang of Leancrew.com explains, based on the patent:

The karat measure of gold is based on the mass fraction. One hundred grams of 18k gold has 75 grams of gold and 25 grams of other material. If that “other material” is a low-density ceramic, it takes up a bigger volume than if it’s a high-density metal. Because the casing of a watch is made to a particular size (i.e. volume), not to a particular weight, the Watch will have less gold in it than an 18k case made of a conventional alloy.

It's not all cost-cutting though. Gold is one of the softer metals, and the inclusion of ceramics into the Apple formula should make it a little more scratch resistant and durable. So while your £8,000 may technically buy you less gold than you may expect, at least it'll be safe from scrapes and bumps. Still, Scrooge McDuck may want to think long and hard before throwing these into his infamous pool of bling. [Leancrew via Cult of Mac]