Last year, Rolex did $4.5 billion in sales. A solid year for the premium watchmaker. Of course, it was no Apple Watch, which did roughly $6 billion in sales, if industry estimates are accurate.
The point here isn’t to compare the two devices — an Apple Watch is just about as comparable to a watch as an iPhone is to a phone. But it does provide an interesting context for Apple’s fledgling business — a new product category which has come under a lot of scrutiny since its launch a year ago. Many have called it a “flop,” which, again, is interesting in context.
The caveat here is that it has to get better than it is right now. But if history is any guide, this is always what happens with Apple products. I happen to believe Apple Watch is a bit more “v1” than a lot of other products the company has put out there. But that may just mean that it has more opportunity to grow into something truly unique, useful, and worth upgrading for as iterations come.
If this doesn’t happen, the Apple Watch may turn out to be an actual flop. Again, that’s clearly not the case right now. But if the value proposition isn’t consistently raised, this first year of sales may be the equivalent of a movie that opens to huge business, then falls 60% in its second weekend in release, then even more in its third weekend…
So let’s see what this fall has in store in terms of iteration. Then we should have a better sense of the staying power of the device.
Let’s give it… time.
The Apple Watch is far from a flop – nothing that sells millions of copies at $500+ a pop can be called a flop.