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Apple Watch Edition Series 3: Is The Ceramic Case Worth It?

Apple Watch Edition Series 3: Is The Ceramic Case Worth It? Featured Articles

The first Apple Watch Edition was in hardened 18k gold. The second Apple Watch Edition was in white ceramic. The third Apple Watch (Series 3) comes in both white and gray ceramic for the Apple Watch Edition variant. This particular case material appears to be a preferred choice for Apple and I believe we will continue to see the world’s most popular smartwatch available in ceramic for the time being – even though it will remain part of Apple’s more “premium” Apple Watch products. I wanted to take an opportunity to write about not only ceramic as a watch case material, but also discuss my predictions for the material’s importance to Apple, smartwatches in general, and any other wearable smart technology that will be available to consumers in the near future.

Why does Apple offer a $1,000 USD plus version of the Apple Watch in ceramic ($1,349 in the 42mm long case) when for $359 (for the 42mm long model) you can have the same connected technology in aluminum? For $649 (again, 42mm model) you can get the Apple Watch Series 3 in steel (either naturally polished or in black) that is a durability step up from aluminum. It takes double your money again to pay for the Apple Watch Edition Series 3 and it is important to answer the question of “why?” On the most basic level a more expensive Apple Watch is a status item. Seeing one in white or the harder-to-notice gray ceramic does imply that your watch isn’t steel and thus something different, which has a personal status-defining element to it (especially because it costs more). But is Apple just offering a luxury version of the Apple Watch so some people can brag?

Apple Watch Edition Series 3: Is The Ceramic Case Worth It? Featured Articles

Apple Watch Edition Series 3: Is The Ceramic Case Worth It? Featured Articles

While a “look at me and be jealous” argument may apply more to a gold Apple Watch, ceramic as a case material is a lot more practical. My argument is that ceramic as a watch case material for the Apple Watch offers very definable benefits for the consumer – which I will distill down to “ceramic watches will look newer, for longer.” It might not be in your budget to spend double on durability, but I think it is important to take a close look at ceramic as a material for smartwatches, as well as how important it is in the traditional watch industry.

Ceramic as used for watches is often referred to as “high-tech ceramic.” That’s because companies don’t want you to mistaken these sophisticated ceramic materials for pottery or toilet bowls. Ceramics are basically a category of non-metal materials which come in many forms. The form normally used for watch case materials is zirconium oxide which is sometimes referred as “zirconia.” This is the term that Apple uses when referring to their ceramic case material. Zirconia – like other ceramics – needs to be formed, then baked, and then machined. An oven-baked block of ceramic is formed in roughly the shape of the final product, but it then needs to be carefully cut and polished using multi-axis computer-controlled cutting (milling) machines (CNC machines). This machining process is where a lot of the value comes in compared to metal.

Apple Watch Edition Series 3: Is The Ceramic Case Worth It? Featured Articles

Apple Watch Edition Series 3: Is The Ceramic Case Worth It? Featured Articles

While metal can be bent and is to a degree pliable, ceramic is a much more rigid material. That means it doesn’t have the elasticity of metal given that it is a more dense material. In some respects this is where ceramic’s principle weakness comes in, because given severe impact/shock it can shatter. If you drop a metal plate on the floor it might bend or deform but it won’t shatter. Everyone knows that if you drop a ceramic plate on the floor it either retains the exact same shape or physically cracks.

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This hard property of ceramic does work to its benefit when it comes to intense levels of scratch resistance. While the surface of a ceramic watch case isn’t as hard as diamonds or sapphire, it is several times more scratch-resistant than steel (which itself is much more scratch-resistant than bare aluminum). Ceramic material colors also don’t fade. So a ceramic watch case will effectively resist scratches and will also remain the same exact color despite wear, exposure to elements, etc…

Apple Watch Edition Series 3: Is The Ceramic Case Worth It? Featured Articles

Apple Watch Edition Series 3: Is The Ceramic Case Worth It? Featured Articles

Apple didn’t decide to use ceramic as a case material in a vacuum and they are hardly the first watchmaker to do so. Swiss Rado has been using “high-tech ceramic” since the 1980s and in the early 2000s Paris-based Chanel confirmed ceramic as an important watch case material with the popularity of the Chanel J12 collection. Available in black or white, the J12 took a classic sports watch design, made it for men or women (mostly women) and rendered it in ceramic. The J12 was (and still is) an incredibly popular watch that introduced an entire generation of luxury seekers to ceramic.

Over the last 15 years I’ve personally watched a timepiece industry initially skeptical to ceramic quickly start to adopt it as an important material for watch cases. Some watches (such as a few produced by Omega) have ceramic cases, ceramic bezels, and ceramic dials. In some instances watch brands are even experimenting by putting ceramic materials inside of traditional mechanical watch movements. The biggest area of innovation in ceramics is color and finishing (how surfaces are polished). Traditionally it was only possible to reliably produce ceramic case materials in a few colors such as white, black, and various darker colors like deep blue, brown, or gray. Lighter colors were challenging because the high-temperature baking process would burn or otherwise deform coloration pigments.

Apple Watch Edition Series 3: Is The Ceramic Case Worth It? Featured Articles

Apple Watch Edition Series 3: Is The Ceramic Case Worth It? Featured Articles

More recently colorful ceramics are becoming available, although they are still limited in their availability. For 2018 red ceramic is perhaps the hottest tone and until recently it was simply not possible to get a red ceramic watch case. This year Swiss Hublot debuted the over $25,000 Hublot Big Bang UNICO Red Magic, and Rolex introduced a $9,000+ “finally in steel” GMT-Master II with a red and blue ceramic bezel.

Even seriously traditional (and more more high-end) Swiss watchmakers are jumping on the ceramic bandwagon. Conservative Audemars Piguet released a black ceramic version of the Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar that costs almost $100,000. What can easily be said is that the majority of serious traditional Swiss watchmakers are incorporating ceramic materials into at least some of their products – with many products featuring ceramic cases similar to that used on the Apple Watch Edition. I say all this to demonstrate that Apple continues to closely follow the traditional watch industry and take its lead in regards to important design and material trends.

Unlike precious metals such as gold, zirconia is not itself inherently valuable. It does not use expensive materials and the value comes not from the material makeup, but rather in the production techniques themselves. The post-Chanel J12 world had watch companies both large and small investing in ceramic materials for their watches – not all are created equal. To say that all ceramic watch cases are the same is to say that all steel watch cases are the same. In addition to small differences in the alloy (in reference to steel), how steel is machined and polished makes a huge difference.

Apple Watch Edition Series 3: Is The Ceramic Case Worth It? Featured Articles

Cutting and polishing ceramic is where things can get complicated – and Apple’s deceptively simple Apple Watch case has a large number of complicated angles. In addition to polishing the ceramic Apple Watch case for aesthetic considerations, the case is also carefully machined in order to have all the right holes, connection points, and other features that a hardware casing requires. Unlike most other ceramic materials, zirconium oxide is strong and smooth enough to be connected to metal, which matters a lot. For smartwatches ceramic is also very useful because unlike metal, ceramic (as far as I know) doesn’t dramatically inhibit the transmission of communication signals. The metal Apple watches use an antenna under the screen (which isn’t metal) so there are ways around having a metal case on a smartwatch. Having said that, as designs continue to evolve, having a case material that is not unfriendly to the transmission of radio signal communication frees up designers in many ways that we can’t fully anticipate right now.

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  • Mikita
    • BJ314

      Apples to oranges. I’d prefer an Alfa Romeo Giulia to a loaded Toyota RAV4, which cost about the same. What point does that prove?

      • Mikita

        I have no problem if someone prefers Giulia to RAV4.

        • BJ314

          So you don’t really grasp the idea of apples to oranges. Got it.

      • Gokart Mozart

        Why have an Apple watch when it is just a smaller and less useful version of the mobile phone. Why do you need it when you have a mobile phone?

        For fitness etc use a proper fitbit etc.

        Wear a proper watch on the wrist, rather than paying again for the thing sitting in your pocket so that you can strap it to your wrist.

    • Gokart Mozart

      Great choice, but I would go for the one with the slate non-guilloche dial.

      • egznyc

        They call that one “granular grey” I think – and it is quite attractive (and a few hundred dollars less). But I wonder what exactly is the material and how is it finished to look as it does?

    • egznyc

      Such a lovely piece … but to be fair it’s more like $2K (or maybe 2,000 Pounds?). Nonetheless, I’m with you.

      • Mikita

        My personal favorite – Granular Grey – costs 1,650 euro 🙂 excellent value in my opinion.

        • egznyc

          Not sure if you and I already had a discourse on this particular item, but I am curious how they achieve the “granular grey” – what material they’re using and how they’re finishing it to get that look. I’d love to see these in the metal – would make it hard to resist, if they’re as spectacular as I want to believe!

          It just blows me away, how this little watch (and yes, it’s not a big watch) can be sold beautiful, front and – in particular – back, while supplying five days of power reserve. This is no off-the-shelf movement.

  • aWtchslvr

    Nice inmate tracking bracelet.

  • Shiiiiter

  • Horum Positivium

    It’s not so much the upgrade cycle that bothers me – everything gets regularly upgraded now; it’s the obsolescence cycle. Patek doesn’t get to decide when your watch should no longer function, but Apple really does get to decide everything about how your Apple Watch operates. If it’s no longer in Apple’s interests to,keep the servers running for your watch to phone home to, then your watch will go dark. Even at $1,400, the Apple Watch is supposed to be disposable. In thee years time, you’ll be expected to buy the newest shiny version. If you can live with that, go for it. We do this with cars after all.

    But the biggest problem I have with the Apple Watch, in all its guises, is that it looks horrible. It’s got the form factor of a Casio calculator watch without the innate retro charm that Casio has. The Apple Watch, like the man who oversaw its genesis, is dull, dull, dull; truly a beancounter’s vision of the future. A cold, empty slab on a tacky strap. No thanks.

    • MeaCulpa

      The upgrade and obsolescence cycle for phones is manageable from a personal perspective as the $1000 is a business expense. I would never, on principle, buy a $1000 phone with money that i’ve payed tax on. Paying more than that for a worse version of a phone would never ever enter my mind, especially when it will be ready for the bin in two years.

  • Marius

    If it looks like a shitter, feels like a shitter, and smells like a shitter, then it most likely is a shitter.

    Archibald Chesterfield Ill, circa 2013.

  • IG

    Ceramic cases are nice but the innards must be non-ephemeral (i.e. hand-wound mechanical movements).

    • Omegaboy

      They’d make cool looking pill or Tic Tac caddies.

  • “Why does Apple offer a $1,000 USD plus version of the Apple Watch in ceramic when for $359 you can have the same connected technology in aluminum?”

    Because that’s Apple’s sole business model. Did you know they have a new phone model out again and it’s $800? Because its’s red. And people are going to buy it just so that everyone else can see that they have $800 to spend on a primary color.

    Next year, they’ll machine a case out of carbon fiber, and then the year after that, cubic zirconium, and then, why the hell not, adamantium. And a thousand tech sites will carefully analyze Apple’s motives behind the material choice, carefully dodging the fact that as long as grown adults are willing to stand in line for a toy, Apple doesn’t need any reason beyond “Because they can”.

    Therefore, Betteridge’s Law of Headlines.

    • Tempvs Mortvvs

      Well, why would those ‘analysts’ would like to tell the simple truth, when they get well paid for telling long, verbose and convoluted lies. Just ask the guys who run this site.

      Btw, i wrote these lines on my pocket watch.

      • Just to be clear, the guys who run this site will tell you (with honesty) that they don’t get paid to write about Apple or any brand’s watches. They cover them because for better or worse, the public wants to read about them. As for the “analysts” you mention (whoever they are), well let them speak for themselves. Cheers.

        • Tempvs Mortvvs

          I respect you Mark, both your opinions and watch designs and productions. But, please. To mention that they do not get paid… well. Perhaps they do not get openly paid for their “opinions,” but it is painfully obvious they have financial incentives and interests in connection to brands, in one way or another, and what and how they state said “opinions.” And these incentives and interests aren’t openly disclosed to readers. Please, that is the elephant in the room of the watchblog/site industry. Or at least one of them.

          • Ariel Adams

            There is a lot of shady stuff in this and other industries that goes on all the time related to media. So it is understandable that cautious consumers err on the side of skepticism. Your assertions that we take money for review or opinions is without merit and false. We don’t need to be guilty just because others engage in these practices, and to be honest it feels not particularly pleasant as a media owner when you are trying to be the “transparent actor in the room.” This leads to a much larger conversation about the greatly diminished ability for media (of most types) to be supported by traditional (transparent) advertising and thus have chosen to find alternative revenue models. Some of which are distasteful, unethical, or worse.

            What disappoints me about your approach is assuming that if we disagree with you it is because we are being paid to do so. I feel very strongly about the importance of smartwatches and the Apple Watch to the overall industry and the consumer experience of wearing a watch for the foreseeable future. I’ve long championed such products and was probably the only “watch writer” to support smartwatches when the category was more nascent. If anything I see smartwatches as eventual gateways to traditional watches and I’ve articulated that opinion here:

            http://ablogtowatch.com/smartwatches-highway-high-end-watches/

            Is aBlogtoWatch about entirely neutral journalism? No, and we never said it was. This is a place where we see ourselves as responsible voices for a range of wrist watch lovers. We are editorialists and watch lovers ourselves. Each time we offer an opinion we strive to back it up with reasoning. We both answer questions and responsive to patently false claims such as those made by you in comments such as this which I’ve noticed you’ve published more than one. If you see an advertisement on aBlogtoWatch it is labeled as such. If you disagree with our opinion on something in editorial, then I don’t see why you need to jump to the conclusion that anything contrarian to your personal ideals needs to be secretly funded else it lacks merit.

          • Tempvs Mortvvs

            What you call patently false statements, are not so to me. I suppose you can, or would say then, that these are differing opinions. So, my opinion or statement is that you are patently biased not only as a matter of taste, aesthetic inclinations or similar preference considerations. But biased as well due to financial considerations, i.e. “what and how much can I say about some brand, watch and industry trend and person that will affect me and this company favorably or adversely, and how much it will do so.” So, yes, I understand that your really don’t take “pay for play” in other shape than your clearly advertised “sponsored posts,” but your site’s opinions and coverage are affected by financial considerations in the sense of profit, nonetheless. This, whether you accept it or not. Self-delusion is more common than deception by others,to be sure.

            Consider this about the previous, if you care at all to consider it. Several years ago, you were never accused of being financially vested or financially partial in your opinions. Or at least I never saw a single accusation in that regard for several years as well. In contrast, notice the number of accusations that have been brought up against your and your site in recent years,. I am not the first, nor the only one having noticed your increasingly obvious financial biases. Surely you can say that there are now more trolls on the site, or in my case, some dude just seeking to make you fit into my ideals. But I’ll say this, that you do not follow the more egregious practices of the industry, does not mean you are exempt of the underlying and essential problem. Partiality in opinion for the sake of money, not just for the sake of otherwise different preferences.

            BTW, I do not care favorably or unfavorably about smart watches. I just think they are a misnomer. Be well.

          • Ariel Adams

            You are casting a net so wide with your accusation that content is biased by pecuniary interests that even a pure academic would fall into your meaning. aBlogtoWatch is a business which supports the livelihoods of our team. In that regard yes, the purpose of writing consumer-useful articles has a monetary component. We also have an interest in enthusiastically covering those topics which interest us and we are never shy about telling you what we like.

            Your worry seems to be that of many others that reviews online are less about the quality of an item and more about the compensation a publication has in promoting that item. Do you really sense that here? Do you really feel that you as a watch lover are somehow routinely steered away from products you’d love for others that would be harm you to purchase? Because that is what it sounds like you are worried about.

            The volume of comments on this topics has increased in my opinion because in general there is a strong sentiment of distrust on the internet when it comes to media. It is not my belief that it is due to policy changing at aBlogtoWatch. I am a consumer just like you and regret that so often online reviews are not in my interest but that of an advertiser. I hope you’ll agree that we are an ally and not a foe in the fight for more useful content online so your continued focus on trying to assert an untrue and misleading assumption about our business practices only serves to undermine the considerable behind the scenes effort we as a publication have endured to bring you honest and valuable opinions on wrist watch products.

          • The more popular any media website is, the more critics there are. Simple math unrelated to the quality/integrity of the content. Compared to 5 years ago, the average number of comments on any given post on ABTW has at least doubled. Are watch lovers now more vocal? Or just there are more eyeballs on the web pages of ABTW? I think the latter. Cheers.

          • Berndt Norten

            ABTW is morphing into a veritable salon! I digs it.

          • Tempvs Mortvvs

            Yes, regarding your question. Yes, I sense that here. But not so much that I am routinely steered away from products in the sense that you state it, because i don’t really trust your site, or anyone else’s, to base by purchasing decision upon its content. But I feel that I am constantly presented with opinions, reviews and coverage of products that more and more, serve pecuniary interests rather than honest, consumer-serving interests, as differing as those may be.

            Look, I think i understand your position. You think you work for the customers (or readers of your site) but at the end of the day, you and your team’s livelihood depends not really on your readers, but on the watch industry and its advertisers. They’re the ones who ultimately provide your income. So, it is a balancing act for you. But i am struck almost everytime that i visit this site by the fact that you seem to believe that you are solely serving your readers (and, yes, partially you do, you must present to them with articles that somehow interest them in order to have a large reader base and, thus, an attractive advertising platform), when in fact you are not. You are also catering to your income-providers: the watch industry, whether you like it, want it or not. The readers are the means, the industry is the end. Now, does the industry really care about its consumers (your readers?) Well, yes, insofar as they can fleece them (us). And they stop at that, regardless of what they say and their so-called philanthropic endeavors, which really are just PR. I understand that is the way of the world, though. I don’t hold it against you in particular. What does annoy me, is the pretense of truly and solely caring for a group of people, when that is not true.

            Regarding academics. Yes, in that field there is so much going on regarding studies and research done for the sake of getting grants, funding and prestige and whose ultimate value is, well, questionable at best. False, falsified and misleading (but of high profile) at worse, but very common nonetheless. It’s another can of worms. But like I said, that is the way of the world. And I also think, we just won’t agree on this.

            Be well.

          • Ariel Adams

            We probably agree on more than might be gleamed from this discussion. A healthy exchange with the community always help expose important issues that merit discussion. For me the point is that these topics are actually discussed.

            Oh, and let’s clarify that my might be articulated as helping to get more cool watches on people’s (the community) wrists. We try to present interesting options and hope each consumer has the tools to make an educated decision for themselves .

          • What you suspect is no doubt true in many print magazines (few that there are left) and some watch websites (and I know this to be true personally). However in contrast to this, aBlogtoWatch.com and WristWatchReview.com are both very straight arrow about NOT being “pay for play”.

            Do watch brands sometimes offer some benefits related to factory visits and such – sure they do. But the blatant “Here is how much a 1000 word ‘review’ will cost you’ does not exist at BTW nor on WWR – and it does elsewhere.

            Ariel has told me that it has taken the 10 years that he has been doing this to gain the level of access to watch brands that he enjoys today. And if all you do is shit on a brand’s watches you will lose that access. But that doesn’t really matter because Ariel simply says that for the most part, he just does not review watches he hates – unless the watch reading public really has in interest in it. In which case he covers it as the news that it is.

            In summary, yes payola does exist in the watch press/watch brand world – but not here and on WristWatchReview.com. Cheers.

  • Lucifer Luv

    Hello,
    Thanks for the review but I would go for a smartwatch when the autonomy will last at least two or three days without power supply with the toughest apps ( regardless of the brand of this kind of watches , they all face the same issue). I think there is some toolwatches available ( casio, suunto,…) but I won’t put 1000$ in a gadget watch when , with the same amout of money , I can purchase a trendy automatic/high end quartz watch reliable and 100 meters waterproof. I would rather go for a high end smartphone for the same amount of money then.
    http://www.tech-boom.com/apple-watch-battery-autonomy-official-data-revealed/

    • Plus (beyond the battery life you mention) it would be nice if they didn’t look like bar of hotel soap strapped to your wrist.

      • Lucifer Luv

        Yes, I think it has been made for brand addicts and not for watch addicts like us. It’s purely a profit logic behind it and not a high skilled hand made product.

      • egznyc

        Ah, but these ceramic models at least are certain to be less scratch-prone, and won’t leave a soapy residue.

  • Bozzor

    The Apple watch is something that now takes up my “wrist real estate” simply because I have grown used to and appreciate all the extra functionality it offers that I really need / really like / really enjoy. Fitness tracking, notifications, remote control, plus various other apps on top of every timekeeping complication ever invented and then some, topped off by incredibly flexibility in how info is provided / displayed – it simply has spoiled me for choice. And if someone wants to jazz things up with a ceramic case, why not? Sure, it’s a technology that will be superseded in 12 months (maybe longer), but in the meantime, you get incredible real world utility.

    Citizen and Seiko quartz guys, here is the next stage of the normal watch evolution…and Swiss mechanical luxury guys, you’ll be OK for a while yet as long as the marketing teams do their jobs…

  • SuperStrapper

    I’m sorry but if you offer a watch on a rubber band that IS NOT a RubberB, you aren’t actually trying.

  • IanE

    One has to say that $1,000 ceramic cases are perfect for iPhoneys!

  • ncgh

    A little off topic, but a question that comes to mind on the fully graphic smartwatches: How readable are they in sunlight? Most smartphones (and cameras without eye-level viewfinders) are gawdawful to read outdoors.

  • BNABOD

    But but but mine is in ceramic….yeah good for you. Every “trendy” person and their dog wears an Apple Watch these days and when I look at them staring at that micro screen every time they get a new email I can’t help to feel a little sad for them. We are already hooked to our phones and the conversation in cars, airplanes, coffee shops….is now reduced to zero. Just take a look at what folks do when they are at a red light…immediate reach for the cell phone to see if they didn’t miss that precious whatever in the last 12 minutes. Sad really.
    I try to disconnect whenever I can and wearing a mechanical watch forces me to breathe and appreciate the value of time and that I find priceless.
    a 1300 hunk of ceramic ? is not in the cards for me

    • Omegaboy

      Very well said. I see parents walking their 6 year olds to the bus stop, and they’re looking at their phones instead of being with their children. What are those kids being taught about what and who is important?

  • Playboy Johnny

    I’d rather wear a watch.

    • palettj

      I agree, I have my iPhone literally 2 feet away at all times. I do not see the need to have a redundant device on my wrist.

  • BJ314

    LOL. No.

    Ariel, give it to us straight. How much is that check looking like for 2-3 articles a year?

  • Sheez Gagoo

    Still a fan of smartwatches, still a fan of Casios still a watchmaker, still impressed, when other companies reinvent watchmaking, still tired of “this is not a watch” people, still bored by “only mechanical watches are real” ignorants. Bite me.

    • Mikita

      This is not a watch! This is shitter!

      • Sheez Gagoo

        Come on…

        • Mikita

          🙂

      • AC3 is that you?

        (no, I don’t like Apple watches either).

        • Sheez Gagoo

          A smartwatch is a watch, like a Casio, I don’t wear but they deserve my deepest respect.

          • I won’t argue that smartwatches aren’t watches (’cause they are). But the Apple Watch doesn’t appeal to me. I’m not against smartwatches but I never liked the way Apple treats their customers since the earliest Mac days and the design of the Apple watch doesn’t do a thing for me. Cheers.

          • Sheez Gagoo

            Ok. I never owned an apple device except of a weird computer in the early nineties as a very young teenager. I just used it for playing a game, where a tower shots another tower.

          • Sheez Gagoo
          • My condolences. I started work at a company in 1989 which was using Macs like that for word processing. I didn’t have to use it much but when I did I truly hated it. Tiny monochrome screen, one button mouse, toy keyboard without function keys, Apple Talk Network, etc.. And every 6 months Apple introduced a slightly better computer – the previous ones were largely not upgradable. So my dislike for Apple is long and deep. They are a powerful money making machine these days (after Microsoft pumped a hundred million or more into them when they were about to go under) but I’m happier with a PC (much as I dislike Windows) and an Android phone and tablet. I don’t mind that people use Apple products and I hope they don’t mind that I don’t like using them. To each his own. Cheers.

          • Sheez Gagoo

            Thanks for your condolences. I got this when my parents bought a better computer to do unundersandable stuff with. Due to the fact that I had no Idea what to do with it, it was on my desk, useless for homework, porn or similar activities at the time. When I got a game boy I thought it must be able to perform at least this task, what it did.And it had a kind of drawing program I liked. Later I had a printer, that used green and white lined paper with a perforated line on the left with holes. Good old ties but to each his own as you said.
            Cheers.

          • egznyc

            Well the problem with the computer back then was just as much a problem with the era we were in. As an example, pre-internet, what were you going to do for your porn fix? Probably had to go to the magazines or if you were feeling adventurous, buy some VHS cassettes.

          • Sheez Gagoo

            I didn`t buy the VHS. I stole it from a friends dad. I was a renegade. I kept that precious good for long time. It was named “Biggi, ein ganz superreifes Früchtchen”. A French classic. It`s about sex.

          • egznyc

            Might have to search for that title. Always good to appreciate the classics. And you know, I’ve always had a soft spot for vintage, too. They just don’t make them like they used to.

            I’m talking about watches, aren’t I? 😉

          • Sheez Gagoo

            Of course we are! Good ol`time. 😉

  • Raymond Wilkie

    This is not a watch. Only mechanical watches are real. Get over it.

    • BJ314

      A watch is actually supposed to be the most technologically advanced way to tell time during any time period. By that definition, a mechanical watch is no longer a watch. Just like a sundial is no longer a clock.

      • Raymond Wilkie

        With all due respect ( just to be polite) you’re talking nonsense. You’r definition of a watch makes no sense and given the right climate a sundial is still a pretty accurate way of telling the time.

        Moving on™ …

        • BJ314

          With all due respect (just be polite) I suspect that you’re unemployed, which is why you have time to post nonsense everday. LOL

          • Raymond Wilkie

            Firstly, impersonation is the most sincerest form of flattery, so thanks for that. As for your psycho profiling, needs some work.
            Good day Sir.

          • wolverbilly

            HE SAID GOOD DAY.

          • Raymond Wilkie

            Keep it down Billy!. You having a little browse?

          • Berndt Norten

            An attack on Raymond is an attack on us all. Repent!

          • egznyc

            Seems a little like NATO … and I’m not talking about the ubiquitous straps …

          • Berndt Norten

            Article 5, baby!

          • egznyc

            ;-). Not sure if “casus foederis” could also refer to watch alliances, whether among brands or enthusiasts. “Hey, you attacked Seiko, so we will attack you,” or “hey, you attacked Hublot … well, they’re not a Treaty member …”

      • palettj

        You are forgetting that mechanical movements are benefiting from technical advances as well. Look at all the achievements in materials, power reserves, accuracy, and so on.

        • BJ314

          Watches were like planes. Incredible feats of technological wizardry. I’m not saying I want a box full of digitals. I’m just saying that we’re waxing romantic about what the definition of a watch is.

          This ceramic thing would have made Antoni Patek cream his pants. He would laughed at the idea that a watch needed to be mechanical to be relevant.

      • wolverbilly

        By design, a Smartwatch is a limited accessory. It has to have outside connections (either the phone or internet via cellular) to function fully. After a couple of days, it dies unless plugged in to recharge. This makes it technologically advanced junk, or an unusually unattractive bracelet, when the battery dies. The mechanical watch continues to function at 100%, even if in a jungle, a desert, or 50 meters below the surface of the ocean, far away from a cell tower or power outlet. I find this design technologically superior when one needs to know the time, or measure it.

      • If a watch was only about technology (not “art” and ergonomics) and accuracy then these cesium watches would be the for this period in human history. Fortunately, I don’t think this is the case.
        http://ablogtowatch.com/bathys-cesium-133-atomic-wrist-watch-hands-prototype-carbon-fiber/
        http://ablogtowatch.com/hoptroff-16-atomic-wrist-watch-1000-year-accuracy/

      • Mikita

        I think he meant analogue watches.

        • I know but the hate for anything non-mechanical gets old at some point.

  • Very good article… Embrace Smartwatches.. They are here to stay and defeat traditional watches… In a few years wearing a regular watch would be like driving a classic car… Very rare

    • Raymond Wilkie

      Goodness, what a grim outlook.

    • ncgh

      Not necessarily so (though my wife has a classic Mercedes roadster as her daily driver))

      A smartwatch is a poor substitute for a proper smartphone, as a smartphone is a poor substitute for a computer. It’s bad enough navigating a 4.5″ screen, do you REALLY want to do anything functional on a 1″ square surface?

      For a lot of years, it’s been observed that some people have stopped using watches and just used their phone for the time…. those people are largely the ones now buying smartwatches (as well as the ones who ‘really truly’ intend to get into physical shape). But the problem is that it’s so damned small that it’s really a tech toy.

      While I admire fine mechanicals, I’m not at all a mechanical purist.. indeed I spend much of my time with a G-shock or a Luminox. If I wouldn’t want a small screen phone, why would I want a microscreen phone-watch?

  • Matthew Rowe

    It would be a more compelling buy if one could change out the electronic guts every few years. But since this is basically a throw away item, why bother?

  • Raymond Wilkie

    ” APPLE WATCH EDITION SERIES 3: IS THE CERAMIC CASE WORTH IT? ”

    No.

    • And the Raymond dis-approved “clunk” ™ will shatter this one when it hits the bottom of your trash can.

    • Kuroji

      Betteridge’s Law of Headlines strikes again.

      • Raymond Wilkie

        Yup, no messing about. 🙂

  • SPQR

    As others have said the answer to the question is the Apple Watch in ceramic worth it – no. But Ariel’s suggestion that it exists for other reasons than bragging rights is nonsense. That is all it is for. As for spurious reasons for it being more complex to manufacture than a steel watch thus justifying the massive price increase is also utter rubbish. The Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon is massively more complex in shape and construction than the Apple Watch but it does not cost over twice as much as the steel version o the Cal.9300 Speedmaster on a strap. Also in 2 years a DSOTM or a steel Speedmaster will not be useless due to software that slows its functions to force you to upgrade to the next Big Thing. Pure greed by Apple.

  • Ross Diljohn

    As a child I would have been all over the Apple iwatch. As an adult I can’t stand it.

    • Mikita

      Apple iwatch is too boring looking for a child.

  • Kurt Klimisch

    The Apple watch is really not for anyone who reads this blog. If you really care about watches beyond the fact they are a fashion accessory then it’s not for you. It is for the masses – those for whom the only status watches are Rolex, maybe Omega and wait for it – Apple Watch. I get more comments in a couple of weeks on my Apple Watch than I ever got on my mechanical watches. The fact is to most people – they know Rolex and Apple Watch. And most think that every Rolex they see is fake. I got the aluminum since I know I will upgrade it in less than a year. It’s a fantastic tool watch – the promise of Dick Tracy realized. I can see the time, track my exercise, play music on my AirPods, take phone calls when I don’t have my phone and find my phone when it is lost. It’s a really a great product.

  • Still no threat to my wrist real estate! My phone is annoying enough…

  • Bozzor

    OK, just had a big fight with my girlfriend (and on the losing end, naturally), so going to throw a few grenades here just to prove myself a man again not a cuck…

    1) Many of us see watches as engineering porn, a testament to man’s skill in a difficult art. Mass produced circuits and screens are “the easy way out”. They have no challenge in their creation, are simply “too good” at their core function, so they are immediately discounted.
    2) Watches are the only piece of jewellery most men can get away with, unlike women. It is a way to flaunt wealth. For the most part, Apple democratizes performance and wealth. If you accept the iPhone X is the best phone possible, it is as accessible (mostly) to the average American accountant as it is to Jeff Bezos. Similar to the Apple Watch. That’s not the case with Patek Phillipe. The iPhone is simply too common, too accessible, even though it is excellent in what it does. We may accept that in Phones, but not our watches.
    3) There is emotion in the difficulty of making something mechanical perform well and look beautiful doing so. We appreciate that, which is why we stare are immaculately turned out dials ogle and the miracle of what the balance spring does through sapphire casebacks. The Apple watch? Like watching paint dry, despite the capabilities it offers.

    Our heads tell us the Apple Watch is the future.

    Our hearts scream in horror, never to accept it.

    • Gokart Mozart

      Plus it is another nail in the coffin to being not available and unreachable.

      Not to mention what it will do the social skills of our kids and future generations

      • commentator bob

        Some say autism is evolution.

        • Mr. Snrub

          Where? 4chan?

    • commentator bob

      You’re supposed to bang her friend.

      Commenting on a watch blog is never the way you prove you are not a cuckold.

      • Bozzor

        The problem is I am better looking than most of her friends…

        Anyway, probably not enough penicillin to make it a safe bet! And my Apple Watch now tells me it’s time to stand up…

        • Time to stand up? Yes that sitting to pee thing gets annoying, ha ha. Just joking with ya 🙂

          • Bozzor

            Actually, the toilet seat issue was brought up during the “animated discussion”…

      • egznyc

        That was pretty funny!

        I just wonder if the fight had to do with the question of whether mechanlcal watches are superior to smart watches or vice-versa; or something far more mundane, like, say, whether she’s been showing too much interest in a co-worker ….

        • Bozzor

          Nah, just the usual “You’re never around, you’re always travelling / when are we doing this that etc…” The kind of stuff that does not matter, unlike the important things like estimating the positive sales impact of frustrated Rolex SS GMT2 Master buyers going for a Tudor GMT as a (temporary) substitute…

          • egznyc

            I feel your pain …

            Also brings to mind the Who’s “Substitute” – whether it’s about a woman or a watch …

          • Bozzor

            Substitute my GF? Easily done with a flatulent tapir – and I’d be moving up in the world… 😉

          • egznyc

            Man, that’s harsh. Reminds me of Supertramp’s Breakfast in America, the line about his girlfriend. Respect. And if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with ;-).

          • Bozzor

            Agreed: I can’t be with the Henry Graves Jr. Supercomplication, so will make do with my Casio G Shock 5600…which is more of a woman than the female who will soon be out of my life 😀

          • egznyc

            That watch is special. No doubt.

            More than a woman
            More than a woman to me …

            Gotta love The Bee Gees. Well it’s ok if you don’t ….

          • Bozzor

            Actually I do like them a lot: the music was not bad, but they were one of the most defining and iconic acts of the 1970s disco era, as ABBA was to pop and KISS to hard rock…

          • Berndt Norten

            We’re we separated at birth? Were you born in Copenhagen?

          • egznyc

            Does this stem from similar musical inclinations or something much deeper? 😉

            Now my good hombre, I was born in the USA, but I wasn’t shipped off to a foreign land … to my knowledge. (They also don’t call me Bruce).

          • Berndt Norten

            I knew you wouldn’t let me down. Bruce!

          • egznyc

            Or maybe we both enjoy free associations to random pop cultural references? ;-). So useless but so much fun.

          • Berndt Norten

            True, but it really isn’t fun being an illegal alien.

          • egznyc

            What is the genesis of that comment?

          • Berndt Norten

            Me, Mike and Tony banged it out one day. Also our friend Gordon inspired us

          • Berndt Norten

            Hey you got game good hombre.

          • Berndt Norten

            That’s pretty funny. But it’s also back dated.

          • egznyc

            Yeah. (Or is that “years”?)

      • Why only real men, manly men, post on watch blogs! So say we all (and my wife told me I could say that).

    • egznyc

      What’s wrong with some huge gold chains around the neck, with some massive dangling stuff attached? 😉

      • Your dangling stuff is around your neck?

        • egznyc

          Nah, it’s not my style. Oh wait: you didn’t write what I thought you’d written! My dangling stuff – which may or may not be “massive” – is definitely a bit lower. That was “below the belt,” Mark.

          • egznyc

            And I am sure that was TMI …

          • Yes but it’s OK so long as there is no “film at 11”.

          • egznyc

            I am a man, but an ordinary man, not an exhibitionist (though I do like an exhibition back when there’s a good view ;-)).

    • wolverbilly

      Anybody who buys a watch to impress somebody is missing the whole point of a great watch. Probably the type of person that would use the word “cuck,” too. “It’s a way to flaunt wealth.” Yes, if you’re a total loser, that is true. Rolex became Rolex because of quality, durability and longevity. A lot of people would buy them because they like something that’s trouble-free and built to last, all while doing its job year after year. But, kidding aside, your point is well taken. Now with the proliferation of marketing yourself to the world and the selfie generation, apparently it’s more important than ever to portray an image and the WIS community sems to live for this crap. It wasn’t too long ago that no self-respecting non-diving individual would buy and wear a dive watch around the office, without feeling like a preening ass. Now it’s not only acceptable, guys actually get defensive about it and say “no divers even use dive watches anymore, so why shouldn’t I wear one?” Wow. That really does support the whole jewelry idea, that’s for sure. I guess this bugs me because I dive with a watch and computer, although I hate the latter as it’s a pain in the ass and yes, requires a battery that seems to quit when you’e in the middle of nowhere. But, I’m an mechani-analog sort of cuck.

      I think anybody that buys a smart watch has just another device to plug in, another device to pay cell service fees, another basicaly unnecessary bit of kit they’ll be done with in a year or two. I see a few around, but still I see far more conventional watches or no watch at all. Apple should sell more of them than the Swiss because you can buy the bloody things anywhere and they’re a lot cheaper. Comparing them to Rolex, et al is just silly.

      • Bozzor

        The whole thing is now about what is that piece of personal real estate on our wrists for? Many years ago in the pre-quartz era, pilots, engineers, divers and scientists aspired to and needed a Rolex, a tough, accurate, reliable and durable mechanical watch, which was not a luxury but a high tech necessity for many. But after the quartz era, when sub second per day accuracy became the norm at very accessible prices, the whole idea of the watch went through a shift. Suddenly image was the key, luxury, scarcity and “good enough” accuracy…was good enough. Now, smart watches offer a lot of real reasons to use them: no just time, not just notifications, but for health reasons with fitness tracking.

        And whilst I can’t say too much now, I want everyone reading this in the US to be aware of this: HMOs have taken a lot of notice about this technology, its adoption, its potential. Big moves are afoot and the way we perceive what that space on our wrist should be used for, the benefits to our health and our wallets, is about to be shaken up.

  • commentator bob

    Apple sells more watches than the entire Swiss watch industry, so they are worth keeping on the radar.

    • hatster

      But to a broadly different customer base, perhaps? And certainly to serve a different user requirement.

      • Sheez Gagoo

        …and?

        • commentator bob

          Exactly, when is a market of people willing to pay $650 – $1,350 (steel or ceramic) for a watch something to sneer at. I would like to see some data on how much of the Swiss watch industry revenue is >$5,000 watches, and how much is lower. Because the Apple Watch is a big threat on the low end.

          • Sheez Gagoo
          • commentator bob

            Interesting. The Swiss watch industry does $18 billion in exports annually, and $12 billion (67%) of that comes from the 1.5 million watches that cost over $3,000.

            Another interesting statistic is that the Swiss sold 5 million less watches in 2017 than in 2000, but still doubled their revenue over that time.

          • Sheez Gagoo

            Yes, but this is just an export statistic. The watches are not sold. Some of them come back here and others end on the grey market.

      • commentator bob

        I work in an office of professionals that 20 years ago would have been all Rolex, and now they are all Apple.

    • Horum Positivium

      …says Apple, a company known for never, ever exaggerating. Ever.

  • hatster

    I work for a tech company and among our UK folks (10,000+), you see plenty of these. Last week in our German offices I saw plenty of them too. They serve a very specific purpose and it is very different to a watch of any type of distinction that we would usually all disagree over, on this blog. Smart watches evolve and grow and become out-dated, as with many technological breakthroughs. Do you need a ceramic case? Not really. Will they sell – yes, because the geeks among us want to pay more for tech, be it a gaming-ready high-spec PC or the latest Galaxy model phone. However, spend any time with someone who uses one of these regularly and you will see how anti-social they can become. If you thought phone messages were intrusive, wait till you see someone hooked on emails with this and you will struggle to keep their focus for any length of time, in a work or social environment. As a side note, as many of our grads we recruit wear a traditional watch as they do a smart watch. So there is some hope….

    • It’s been a while since I worked in anything tech related, before smartwatches, but of my tech-oriented friends that have a smartwatch, 100% of them use it to be able to decide if they have to take out their smartphone or not.

      That’s not very smart.

      • Horum Positivium

        And I bet they use their smartphones in lieu of using their brains.

    • Horum Positivium

      These watches exist so that one nerd can spot another one from a distance. If no Apple Watch is visually locatable, a nerd will use the presence of a North Face jacket and corresponding over-filled backpack to home in on others of his kind. Super Dry jackets are a reasonable North Face substitute for the ‘edgier’ kind of nerd – that sort would probably wear the white ceramic version of the Apple Watch. They’d still be a nerd though.

      • egznyc

        How can you distinguish between an introverted and an extroverted nerd? When they’re conversing among themselves, the extroverted nerd will be staring at the other nerds’ shoes and not his own. I guess the extension to this joke would be the extroverted nerds are staring at others’ Apple Watches and not their own.

  • commentator bob

    Generally not a bad article, but:

    “For smartwatches ceramic is also very useful because unlike metal, ceramic (as far as I know) doesn’t dramatically inhibit the transmission of communication signals.”

    Not expecting original research here, but you know the PR person that lent you this $1,349 watch? They’re also there to field questions like this, and get back to you so that things don’t have to be “as far as you know.”

    • Well ceramic items do heat up a bit in a microwave oven, but they are clearly safer to be in there than anything metal. Not sure if that addresses electromagnetic radiation propagation or not. But heating up the cat’s dinner in an old ceramic Apple Watch case might be safer than doing the same with an aluminum or steel Apple Watch case (with all other metal parts removed of course). And with the half life of all tech items, there will be a lot of surplus smartwatch cases (from all brands) to be had in the very near future.

  • commentator bob

    What is interesting is that Apple targeted the historic inflation adjusted price of a Submariner with this watch:

    1957 Submariner: $150
    https://www.minus4plus6.com/PriceEvolution.php
    In 2018 dollars: $1,339.80
    Apple Watch Ceramic 42mm: $1,349

  • cluedog12

    Damn right they’ll be making all sorts of colourful ceramic watches in a few years. Hublot is leading the way in terms of both R&D and early adopter products.

    This is pretty much a full luxury product, but there is a subtle benefit of having a wear-free case. When the owner is ready to move on to the next Apple Watch, the owner can sell the watch and describe it as LNIB or BNIB or perhaps place it in storage for a long time. A near-perfect condition Apple Watch could be an interesting relic of history in fifty years.

    After all, when it comes to secondary value, the first scratch is the deepest.

  • Mr. Snrub

    I’m already more tethered to my phone than I care to be.

  • Juan-Antonio Garcia

    Why does Apple offer a $1,000 USD plus version of the Apple Watch in ceramic ($1,349 in the 42mm long case) when for $359 (for the 42mm long model) you can have the same connected technology in aluminum?
    Answer: Hipsters. Wannabes. Très petit nouveau riche. Kitsch collectors. And so on.

  • GregV8

    Durability is the key. My aluminum series 3 already has scuffs on it and it doesn’t look pretty. (I used to have a stainless steel series 1 and that held up much better.)

    However, all that may be overkill, since other components of the watch will neither survive nor will be servicable 3+ years down the road. Battery being the obvious issue.

  • Gokart Mozart

    Ariel, is there an official reason why Apple stopped the Gold version?

    Obviously the real reason would be that it was outsold by the Moser & cie apple watch.

    • Ariel Adams

      In my opinion Apple made the gold version of the first Apple Watch as a marekt statement about how serious it was as opposed to a real revenue generator. It is possible that one will return in the future but it was never meant to be a permanent part of the Apple Watch collection .

  • Kuroji

    “That means it doesn’t have the elasticity of metal given that it is a more dense material.”
    lolwut?

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