Let’s get one thing straight: I’m not an overly wealthy person. I’m not about to buy the $24,000 Apple Watch Edition I had on my wrist earlier today, but I loved the experience of being in The One Per Cent, even if it was just for 15 minutes. Here’s how rich people buy their Apple Watch Edition, and why it’s probably going to be a sticking point for them.
After doing a guided hands-on of the Apple Watch on the ground level of Sydney’s George Street Apple Store last week, I sheepishly asked if I could give the Edition a go. It costs more than a new car and is made out of 18ct gold, so I figured there was no way I was going to be allowed to touch it.
I was wrong.
Minutes later I was whisked upstairs and talked through the process of buying a gadget worth tens of thousands of dollars. Those minutes were spent waiting for a handsome man in a handsome Burberry coat with a handsome leather tote bag to complete his appointment with the Watch Edition.
You can’t just saunter into an Apple Store and walk out with your fancy wrist computer. Instead, Apple would prefer you make an appointment to check it out in-store and then order the thing online.
While the entire sales process is friendly and luxurious and makes you feel like a beautiful and unique snowflake for buying an expensive gadget, there’s a bit of a problem, and I feel really terrible mentioning it. The problem isn’t with the product, or the demonstration or even the very friendly service. It’s all the other people you have to hang about with while you do it.
As I tried on the watch, chatted to the Apple staff about it and considered my purchase like a fashionable, wealthy person might consider an investment, I became consciously aware of all the people around me buying iPods, MacBooks and getting help setting up their email. It almost feels like that if you’re going to buy such an exclusive, expensive and elite product that you should probably be ushered behind a velvet rope to do it.
Look at every single luxury jeweller and watch vendor on the High Street and you notice they all have one thing in common: they’re exclusive. They have security guards in velvet jackets and they’re quiet and peaceful. The only other person you’re likely to bump into in there is a an oil baron or the distant relative of royalty spending their money on shiny things. In an Apple Store you’re likely to bump into a dude in flip flops buying a new iPhone cable or a granddad who can’t set up his MacBook.
Like I said: I’m no one-percenter, but if I was about to drop a new car’s worth of cash on a single gadget, I wouldn’t want to be gawked at while I did it. The Watch Edition itself is awesome, it just needs more velvet rope in the buying process.