Will The Strap Make The Difference?

Apple Watch Hermes Strap

Apple has just announced new products, but, as usual, there are few gadgets that one can truly be excited about. Apple’s not-so-big reveal in the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in downtown San Francisco yesterday (US west coast time), may thrill the die-hards, but for the rest of us, life goes on, unchanged. Apple has not produced anything earth-shattering for so long that the hopeful have long parked their money elsewhere for excitement. Kanye West would be running for president of the United States of America, and Apple would be releasing iPhone 9, and the device still wouldn’t teleport you to the moon.

Yet, we’d like to sieve through the offerings to see what could make it to the fashion hall of fame… or the lame. We found it not quite at the top of the pile—the iPad Pro took the spot. The new Apple Watch Hermès that was announced didn’t quite cause the heart to skip a bit. Since the launch of the Apple Watch, the company has been courting the high fashion fraternity for staff, ideas, and support. Suzy Menkes excitedly IG-ed the watch moments after its reveal; she even wondered if it is “born from the meeting of Jony Ive and Axel Dumas at our Conde Nast Luxury Conference in Florence in April”, an event Ms Menkes hosted. While it is not surprising that Apple would collaborate with Hermès (actually, we had thought it would pick Coach!), it does not negate the fact that they’re a latecomer to high-profile pairings.

Apple Watch Hermes with diff straps

The first thing that impressed us was how similar the watch is to Hermès’s own Cape Cod series. The strap is clearly Hermès, especially in that leather, in that colour, with that top stitch. It is vaguely equestrian, too. Like watches offered by Hermès, it comes with straps in versions that you can twirl round the wrist or snap on as a wide band around it: the Single Tour, Double Tour, and the Cuff, all telling of what the style of straps they are. Wearables score better with consumers if they have the style cred of an elegant, luxurious fashion accessory. Or, in the case of the Double Tour, a distinguished provenance traced to one of Hermès’s earliest designers, Martin Margiela. Apple is not in the dark about that.

The target market, too, is clear: whichever that causes the unrelenting spike in Birkin sales. It is, thus, not unimaginable that Apple envisions attendees of Birkin auctions sporting the Apple Watch Hermès on their dainty wrists. Win the acceptance of the rich, and the rest will follow.

But does a strap really transform the desirability of this smartwatch? At its core, the Apple Watch, even with a luxury strap, hasn’t changed. You could use a new face with the Hermès logo on it, but that doesn’t modify the heart of the timepiece, which still only pairs with an iPhone. The Watch OS2 is announced to be released next week. If you care about such things, chances are, straps are immaterial.

Apple Watch Hermès with silver face is expected to hit stores in Oct. The straps are not sold individually. Prices start from USD1,100 for the Single Tour. Photos: Apple

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