in The Business of Jewelry on February 27, 2015
It’s here!! We’ve been talking about the Apple Watch for over a year. Just in case you missed those past posts, you can read them here and here. In one of those posts I explained that Apple had hired the best and the brightest in an attempt to break into the global fashion and luxury watch market. Well, the watch is finally ready for it’s fashion debut. This post was prompted by an advertising inlay in the March issue of the U.S. edition of Vogue. More about that later.
First, a little history. On September 9, 2014, in the middle of New York Fashion Week, the Silicon Valley based company invited a group of fashion editors and bloggers to the unveiling of the Apple Watch, held at its headquarters in Cupertino, California. Then, during Paris Fashion Week, Apple successfully squeezed itself into a hectic show schedule, staging an exclusive showcase of the new Apple Watch at Colette, an upscale, one of a kind, Parisian boutique. Both Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld attended.
Later that evening, Apple organized a high profile dinner for 250 fashion insiders, co-hosted by Azzedine Alaïa, Marc Newson and Jonathan Ive. The watch was displayed right in the middle of the dinner venue which is normally Mr. Alaïa’s showroom. Guests were given exclusive images of the product shot by Davis Sims and styled by Karl Templer, the very duo behind the Apple Watch’s fashion editorial debut on the wrist of Chinese supermodel Liu Wen in Vogue China.
Which brings us to the cover of the November 2014 Vogue China issue. See the watch?
“When Jonathan Ive and Tim Cook talked me through how they developed the concept of the Apple Watch from the beginning, I was impressed by their thoughts and passion for the project,” said Angelica Cheung, Vogue China’s editor-in-chief. “Then I saw the watches and thought they looked rather good. Some are sporty and others are very classic and elegant. At the same time, they all have so many functions that would be useful in our daily life. I just thought that they combined technology, style and functionality and were very modern and, therefore, perfect accessories for the modern-day woman which is what the Vogue China woman is about.”
Why choose a Chinese fashion magazine for its editorial debut?
“Chinese people are actually very digitally minded and we embrace new technology and digital products more easily than perhaps people elsewhere,” said Ms Cheung. “We are an ancient country but at the same time a very young country when it comes to fashion and new products. We love to embrace everything that is new, modern and positive,” she added. “All these convince us that the intersection of fashion and technology is a natural progression, not something alien.”
In July, Apple reported that Chinese iPhone sales had risen 48 percent in the first quarter of 2014. The October reveal of Vogue China’s cover, featuring the Apple Watch (which must be paired with an iPhone to function), also coincided with the start of pre-orders for the company’s new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which went on sale in China on Friday October 17, 2014.
Apple has already tapped into China’s love of luxury products with the success of its gold iPhone 5S, which sold out immediately in mainland China and Hong Kong. Apple Watch’s high end range, dubbed Watch Edition, which includes a model in rose gold, may prove to be a particular success in the Chinese market.
The decision to work with a women’s fashion magazine no doubt reflects Apple’s understanding of the growing purchasing power of female luxury consumers in China. Tides are shifting in China. While women dominate spending across the personal luxury market globally, it is men who have long accounted for 90 percent of China’s luxury sales. It is estimated now that women drive about half of total luxury sales in the country, according to Bain & Company.
Which brings us to the Apple Watch U.S. fashion magazine debut. On the March issue of Self magazine, model and Victoria’s Secret Angel Candice Swanepoel is wearing the Apple Watch Sport with a white fluoroelastomer band on the cover. Self also has more in-depth coverage on the device, highlighting its accelerometer, heart rate sensor, GPS and WiFi.
Very smart, calculated marketing…the Chinese luxury market and the U.S. fitness and fashion market? Well done Apple! These are the latest in a series of activities that puts fashion and fitness at the focus of Apple’s communication strategy.
Which brings us to the whole reason I wrote this post, I was reading the March edition of Vogue (Karlie Kloss and Taylor Swift are on the cover) and lo and behold, there is a twelve page advertising centerfold in the middle of the magazine featuring several different fashionable styles of the Apple Watch! Perfect timing before the watch’s April release (no pun intended)? I think so!
Below are the watches that are featured in the Vogue spread.
Apple Watch Stainless Steel Case Milanese Loop
Silver Aluminum Case Green Sport Band
Space Black Stainless Steel Case Space Black Link Bracelet
18 Karat Rose Gold Case Rose Gray Modern Buckle
Stainless Steel Case Bright Blue Leather Loop
18 Karat Rose Gold Case with White Sport Band
What sayeth you? Do you like the watch? Plan to own one? Too digital Casio for your tastes?