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Apple has made the 18-carat gold Apple Watch Edition model "almost invisible" on its website
Apple has made the 18-carat gold Apple Watch Edition model "almost invisible" on its website

Death knell for gold Apple Watch?

Apple appears to be deliberately diverting attention away from its 18-carat gold smartwatch, which may come as a relief for those who feared the high-end model would steal market share from the traditional watch sector.

According to technology news website 9to5Mac, Apple has started “downplaying” the Apple Watch Edition both online and in physical retail stores.

A report from 9to5Mac noted the Apple Watch website had been altered so that the most expensive Apple Watch model, Edition, was “almost invisible”.

The Edition has seemingly been removed from the main Apple Watch landing page, is not featured in the website’s interactive gallery, and the ‘Personalization’ section of the website indicates there are only two watch case materials to choose from – aluminium or stainless steel – with no mention of an 18-carat gold option.

The model is still available for purchase via the Apple Watch ‘Buy’ page, although it has been given less prominence compared with the lower priced Watch and Sport models. While these are displayed at the top of the page, the Edition is positioned near the bottom, beneath the watch band section.

“It’s also notable that while the Sport and stainless steel ranges saw significant changes, the Edition didn’t see any update love from Apple,” the 9to5Mac report stated, adding that there had been rumours the gold smartwatch was being removed from physical retail store displays as well.

Market share climbing or declining?

The introduction and subsequent 'rise' of smartwatches has raised concerns about how the wearable technology will impact the traditional watch – and jewellery – market.

These fears were arguably heightened when it was revealed the highly anticipated Apple Watch would be available in an 18-carat gold model, with media reports indicating Apple stores would start to adopt jewellery retailer display techniques and security measures.

Since the Apple Watch launch in April 2015, however, there has been speculation that sales of the smartwatch have not been as robust as expected, despite Apple’s claims to the contrary.

The fact that Apple has reduced the price of its cheapest model, Sport, from an initial US$349 (AU$455) to US$299 (AU$390) lends credence to these rumours. The 9to5Mac report also suggested Apple’s “removal” of the Edition from the Apple Watch website might be because the model was “selling in even more limited numbers than Apple had expected, and the company has merely decided to stop pushing something that isn’t moving”.

Regardless, Apple’s presence within the watch sector is likely to continue to be closely monitored by traditional watch manufacturers.

As previously reported by Jeweller, global smartwatch shipments outpaced Swiss watch exports for the first time in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to statistics released by research company Strategy Analytics.

The report ranked Apple as number one in the global smartwatch market, capturing a 63 per cent market share during the fourth quarter.

The 'Personalization' section of the Apple Watch website only mentions two case material options

More reading
Smartwatches outpace Swiss watch exports
Apple Watch behind Swiss watch exports decline?
Apple remains mum amid poor watch sale rumours
Apple pick-pocket Watch – the real 'game'
Apple learns from jewellery stores
Jury is out on Apple Watch

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