14 Reasons Why Apple Watch is So Expensive

Ever wondered why Apple watches always cost so much more than the competition? Here are some reasons why

By Dave Johnson - Senior Staff Writer
8 Min Read

The Apple Watch is a smartwatch that has been popular among tech-savvy consumers since its launch in 2015. While it has gained a significant following, there is no denying that it comes with a hefty price tag. The cost of an Apple Watch can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars depending on the model, and this has left many people wondering why it is so expensive. In this article, we will discuss fourteen reasons why the Apple Watch costs so much.

Three Apple Watch Ultra devices are shown from behind to feature their three different bands, including a gray-and-yellow Trail Loop, orange Alpine Loop, and black Ocean Band.  

Before we delve deep into why Apple Watches are priced as they are, let’s dive into some history. The first generation Apple Watch was released in April 2015, and it was designed to be a companion device to the iPhone. It had a rectangular face with a digital crown on the side, and it offered a variety of features such as notifications, fitness tracking, and the ability to make and receive phone calls.

Over the next few years, Apple released several updated versions of the watch, adding features like cellular connectivity, GPS, and water resistance. They also introduced new models, such as the Apple Watch Series 2 and Series 3, which included improved performance and battery life.

In 2018, Apple released the Apple Watch Series 4, which featured a larger, edge-to-edge display and new health features such as an ECG monitor. The Series 5, released in 2019, added an always-on display and a built-in compass.

In 2020, Apple introduced the Apple Watch Series 6, which included new features like blood oxygen monitoring and an improved always-on display. They also introduced a more affordable option, the Apple Watch SE, which offered many of the same features as the Series 6 but at a lower price point.

In 2021, Apple unveiled the Apple Watch Series 7 with a more durable and larger display, now with 41mm and 45mm options. The Watch is more crack-resistant and can charge faster than previous models. It has the same processor as the Series 6 and maintains the three finishes: aluminum, stainless steel, and titanium.

In 2022, the Apple Watch Series 8 alongside Apple Watch Ultra and Apple Watch SE (2nd generation) were announced. Apple Watch series 8 features a new body-temperature sensor focused on sleep health and cycle tracking. It has the same processor as the Series 6 and only two finishes: aluminum and stainless steel.

These newer models have come at a premium cost, with the latest Apple Watch Series 8 costing $399 for the base model, and up to $749 for the highest-end model with cellular connectivity and stainless steel casing.

So why is the Apple Watch so expensive? There are several factors that contribute to the high price tag.

Apple often claims that the cost of its products is rooted in the quality and superiority they offer against other brands. But, is there any truth to these claims or is this even more spectacular marketing?

Top 14 reasons Why Apple Watches are so expensive

1. High-Quality Materials

One of the primary reasons why the Apple Watch costs so much is because it is made with high-quality materials. Apple is known for its attention to detail when it comes to design and the Apple Watch is no exception. The watch’s casing is made of durable materials like aluminum, stainless steel, titanium, or ceramic, which ensures that the watch is both sturdy and long-lasting.

Additionally, the screen of the Apple Watch is made with high-quality materials like sapphire crystal or Ion-X glass, which are scratch-resistant and offer excellent clarity. These materials come at a higher cost than traditional glass used in other smartwatches, which contributes to the overall cost of the Apple Watch.

2. Advanced Technology

Another reason why the Apple Watch is expensive is that it contains advanced technology that is not found in other smartwatches. The watch includes sensors that can track a user’s heart rate, body temperature, blood oxygen level, and even their ECG. It also includes an accelerometer and gyroscope, which can detect a user’s movement and help with fitness tracking.

The watch also has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities, which allow it to connect to other devices and access the internet. Additionally, the watch has an advanced operating system that allows users to download apps and customize their experience.

All of this technology comes at a cost, and the Apple Watch’s advanced features are one reason why it is more expensive than other smartwatches on the market.

3. Brand Reputation

The Apple Watch is expensive because of the brand’s reputation. Apple has built a reputation for producing high-quality products that are both aesthetically pleasing and functional. The company is known for its attention to detail, and this is reflected in the design and functionality of the Apple Watch.

Additionally, Apple has created a loyal following of customers who are willing to pay a premium for its products. These customers are willing to pay more for the Apple Watch because they trust the brand and believe that they are getting a high-quality product.

4. Extensive Research and Development

Apple invests heavily in research and development (R&D) to create innovative products, and the Apple Watch is no exception. The company spent years developing the watch, researching new materials, sensors, and features to make it stand out in the market. This R&D investment comes with a high cost, which is reflected in the price of the watch.

For example, the crash detection feature on Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra took years of research and machine learning to ensure the software is smart enough to distinguish between a crash impact and, say, a hard bump. According to Apple, Crash Detection was trained on more than "one-billion hours" of crash and driving data to create a profile to know when a crash has happened, be it a front, side, or rear impact or rollover. This R&D investment comes with a high cost, which is reflected in the price of the watch.

5. Marketing and Advertising

Another reason why the Apple Watch is expensive is the extensive marketing and advertising campaign that the company uses to promote the product. Apple is known for its high-profile advertising campaigns that generate hype and buzz around its products.

The company spends millions of dollars on advertising each year, including television commercials, billboards, and online ads. These campaigns are designed to create a sense of exclusivity and desirability around the Apple Watch, which can justify its high price point.

6. Supply Chain Costs

Another reason why the Apple Watch is expensive is the supply chain costs. Apple is a company that places a high value on ethical and sustainable sourcing of materials, which can add to the cost of production. The company also has a complex supply chain that involves sourcing components from various countries, which can result in shipping and logistics costs.

Moreover, Apple has a high level of quality control that ensures that every product meets its standards. This quality control involves testing each component and assembly, which adds to the production costs.

7. Manufacturing Costs

The manufacturing process for the Apple Watch is highly complex and labor-intensive, which adds to its cost. Apple’s manufacturing facilities are highly automated, but they still require skilled workers to assemble and test the watches. The process involves multiple steps, including CNC machining, laser cutting, and polishing, which require specialized equipment and expertise.

Moreover, Apple has strict quality control standards that require each watch to be tested and inspected multiple times before it is shipped. This quality control process ensures that the watch meets the company’s high standards, but it also adds to the manufacturing costs.

8. Software and Updates

The Apple Watch runs on a proprietary operating system called watchOS, which requires regular updates to maintain its functionality and security. These updates are free for Apple Watch owners, but they require a significant investment in R&D and software development by Apple. The company also provides ongoing support and troubleshooting for its products, which adds to the overall cost of ownership.

Moreover, the watchOS ecosystem includes thousands of apps, which are designed specifically for the Apple Watch. These apps require additional development and testing, which adds to the overall cost of the watch.

9. Warranty and Customer Support

Apple offers a comprehensive customer service and warranty program for its products, including the Apple Watch. This program includes free technical support, a one-year limited warranty, and the option to purchase AppleCare for extended coverage.

This customer service and warranty program adds value to the watch and provides peace of mind for consumers, but it also adds to the cost of the watch. Moreover, Apple invests heavily in training its customer service representatives and repairing or replacing defective products, which can be expensive.

10. Brand Value and Perception

One of the main reasons why the Apple Watch is so expensive is its brand value and perception. Apple is a well-known and highly respected brand that has built a reputation for quality, innovation, and design. The company’s products are often seen as status symbols, and the Apple Watch is no exception.

The high price of the watch adds to its exclusivity and makes it more desirable to some consumers. For these consumers, the price is not just a reflection of the product’s features and technology, but also a reflection of its brand value and status.

11. Security and Privacy Features

The Apple Watch has several security and privacy features that are designed to protect user data and personal information. These features include a passcode lock, encryption, and Find My. These features require additional hardware and software components, which add to the overall cost of the watch.

Moreover, Apple has a strong commitment to user privacy and security, which is reflected in its design and development process. The company invests heavily in security research and development, and it has a track record of responding quickly to security vulnerabilities and issuing software updates to fix them.

12. Environmental Sustainability

The Apple Watch is designed with environmental sustainability in mind, which can add to its cost. Apple has a strong commitment to reducing its environmental impact, and it has set ambitious goals to become carbon neutral by 2030.

The company uses recycled and renewable materials in its products, such as recycled aluminum and renewable energy sources for its manufacturing facilities. Moreover, Apple has developed a recycling program that allows customers to recycle their old devices and components, which reduces the amount of electronic waste in landfills.

13. Integration with the Apple Ecosystem

The Apple Watch is designed to work seamlessly with other Apple products, such as iPhones, iPads, and Macs. This integration allows users to access their messages, phone calls, and other notifications directly from their watch, without having to pull out their phone.

This feature requires advanced hardware and software components, which can add to the cost of the watch. Moreover, Apple invests heavily in developing and maintaining its ecosystem, which includes the App Store, iCloud, and other services.

14. Limited Supply

The Apple Watch is often in high demand, which can lead to limited supply and higher prices. Apple uses a "just-in-time" manufacturing process, which means that it only produces the amount of products needed to meet current demand.

This strategy helps to reduce waste and keep costs down, but it can also lead to supply shortages and long wait times for popular products. When demand outstrips supply, the price of the product can increase, as consumers are willing to pay more to get their hands on it.

Bottom Line

Apple products are undeniably more expensive than other smartwatch brands, and one can argue that these significant price differences are not worth the features offered by Apple Watch. However, there are plenty of reasons why you might find paying a premium worth it. The Apple Watch is more than just a smartwatch; it’s a status symbol, a luxury item, and an integral part of Apple’s ecosystem. It has become a sought-after accessory for many, and its features and technology continue to evolve with each new model. Apple’s investment in research and development and commitment to quality and customer service are some of the factors that have contributed to the Apple Watch’s success and high cost.

Ultimately, the decision to purchase an Apple Watch comes down to personal preference and budget. While there are more affordable smartwatches on the market, the Apple Watch offers a premium experience that is unmatched by its competitors.

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By Dave Johnson Senior Staff Writer
Dave Johnson is a staff writer for GeeksChalk based in New Jersey. He covers news, how-tos, and user guides for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch.
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