Joe O

Money Bytes

Joe O'Donnell

Joe O’Donnell, digital content producer, joined the Coin World editorial staff in 2014. Joe writes web content, manages Coin World’s social media accounts, compiles content for daily digital eNewsletters, and contributes on occasion to the print magazine. He has enjoyed interacting with Coin World readers while covering the sale of coins from the Saddle Ridge Hoard and the 50th anniversary Kennedy half dollar releases.

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Apple Watch's gold gets company more bang for its buck

Precious metals analysis entered the mainstream this week.

Apple’s ballyhooed new Apple Watch is set to be released later this spring, and the highest-end model, the Edition, features an 18-karat-gold-adorned face that leads to a retail price of $10,000. 

Quite a price. And it could create quite a margin for Apple considering the 18-karat gold used is less expensive than typical 18-karat gold. 

A BGR report published on March 9 cites a Leancrew analysis published on March 7 that explained the alloy used by Apple.

According to Leancrew, Apple’s gold is not a standard alloy but a metal matrix composite:

"Instead of mixing the gold with silver, copper, or other metals to make it harder, Apple is mixing it with low-density ceramic particles. The ceramic makes Apple’s gold harder and more scratch-resistant—which Tim Cook touted during the September announcement—and it also makes it less dense overall."

Less dense means less gold, according to Leancrew, and that means lower production costs. Apple filed a patent application for the gold-making method.

So if you were worried that the Apple Watch wasn’t going to make its company a lot of money, worry no more.

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Older Comments (1)
Since 18-karat is 75% gold by mass and it is less dense due to the 25% being low-density ceramic instead of a heavier metal. You get less gold for the same volume. Ceramic has about half the density of silver or copper so the volume of the alloy component can be doubled. The same weight of 18kt gold could be inflated by 25%. So they're charging a $9000+ premium for the gold watch and the new technology provides less gold. "makes it harder and more scratch resistant" you can do that by making it normal14 kt too. That would probably have the same amount of gold as this special 18 kt. Sounds like subterfuge to me.