Hands on with the $10,000 Apple Watch Edition

When Apple announced the unique 18-carat Rose Gold Apple Watch Edition, the company faced criticism and ridicule from the world of social media. Following the announcement, the company then announced a unique try-on preview experience for all Apple Watch models with the Apple Watch Edition coming with a separate VIP experience.

The Apple Watch Edition is only available in a few selected Apple Stores in selected countries and with Apple's Regent Store in London around the corner, I decided to take a look at the Rose Gold Apple Watch Edition and see what the fuss is all about.

The different models

The Apple Watch comes in several models: the entry-level Apple Watch Sport, the more expensive Apple Watch that comes in stainless steel and the premium Apple Watch Edition, which is available in either Yellow Gold or Rose Gold. These models are then available in either 38mm or 42mm sizes and a range of watch strap lengths - personally, the 42mm watch is my favorite as it's a slightly larger display but still easy to use when on my list.

The pricing for these models varies but the Apple Watch Sport starts at $349, the Apple Watch ranges from $549 to $1099 and the Apple Watch Edition starts at $10,000 before rising up to $17,000

The VIP try-on experience

Trying on the Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch takes place on the Apple Store shop floor but trying on the premium Apple Watch Edition requires a separate appointment. When I turned up for my appointment, I was whisked off upstairs to a separate cordoned-off area specifically for those who wanted to try on the Apple Watch Edition.

The cordon was manned by two in-store security guards and initially, the Apple expert showed me the different models on an iPad screen before asking which I'd like to try on. I initially picked the 42mm 18-carat Rose Gold Case with White Sport band and the expert had to then request the watch was bought up to the demo area.

When it did arrive, it came in the same retail box that it will ship in and the member of staff bringing the watch up was accompanied by another security guard. While I was in the VIP try-on experience, there were two members of staff always present (including the gentleman giving me my hands on experience).

Later, when I wanted to try on a different watch, the staff had to request the replacement was bought up and before the replacement could be handed over, the previous Apple Watch Edition had to be handed back. This one-watch-per-experience method is designed as such to ensure that there are no security concerns with having multiple watches in the demo area.

Now to the watches themselves:

18-carat Gold Apple Watch Edition

The 18 carat Gold Apple Watch Edition is available in two colors: Yellow Gold and Rose Gold. There are a total of eight different variants available, ranging from $10,000 for the 38mm 18-carat Rose Gold Case with sports band to $17,000 for the 38mm 18-carat Rose Gold case with either Rose Grey Modern Buckle or Bright Red Modern Buckle.

The first thing I noticed when Apple brought the Watch Edition out to me was the case - the Rose Gold versions come in a light pink leather charging box while the Yellow Gold comes with a navy blue leather charging box. The box doubles up as a charging station with a single lightning port on the rear and a built-in inductive charger providing the power.

Both the Yellow Gold and Rose Gold versions feature 75% real 18-carat gold with the other 25% made up of a combination of metals to provide even more stability and durability. Up front, the Sapphire Crystal display is incredibly vibrant and having used smart watches for the past 18 months, I can safely say the display is one of the finest on a wearable.

In either color, the Apple Watch Edition comes with hallmarks on both, the rear of watch and the clasp itself. The crown and the bezels around the sides and back of the watch are also gold and the color of the crown is unique to the strap you buy it with; pick a black leather strap and it's a black crown and with a white strap, it's a white crown.

Apple Watch - am I smitten?

Like most people, I was very critical of Apple's decision to charge so much for the Apple Watch Edition but there's a certain beauty and style that leaves a lasting impression. For me personally, the Yellow Gold Apple Watch Edition is more pleasing to the eye than the Rose Gold but this is likely to be a very personal decision and everyone will have their own opinion on which is nicer.

If I had the money to spend $10,000+ on a smart watch, I would probably buy the Apple Watch Edition and only because it's likely to be quite rare. Given a month or two, you're likely to see quite a few Apple Watches in the wild but it's highly unlikely you'll walk down the street and run into someone wearing the Apple Watch Edition.

That being said, I'm not buying the Apple Watch Edition. I am, however, buying the Apple Watch in Steel; it arrives next week. The reason for me buying the Apple Watch is two-fold; I want to see how it interacts with the iPhone and from a first hands on with the watch, I'm intrigued by the interesting user interface and design.

Overall, the Apple Watch Edition is a thing of beauty and even if you have no plans on spending $10,000+ on a watch that has an 18-hour battery life, it does leave a lasting impression on you.

I'll leave you with an Apple Watch Edition hands-on gallery:

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