A $450 Watch Is Expensive But Not Overpriced

My buddy James tumbled on to the Withings Activité, which is a $450 watch that tells time, has an alarm, and is a fitness tracker.

And many people said that $450 is too much for a watch. Especially since there will be a $150 version and since the iWatch is estimated at $350 right now.

I don’t want an iWatch at the moment. I mean, I do, they look cool and I could be Sam Catchem to my Dad’s Dick Tracy, which would be awesome and nerdy. I like the idea. But at the same time, I don’t need to be connected to the world 24/7. I love taking a day off.

But that isn’t the point here. The point is people are confusing expensive with being overpriced.

Expensive means there’s a good reason for the cost. Overpriced means that the cost is far more than the item took to make, including a fair profit. Underpriced would be what most of my WordPress friends do with their services and products. If you don’t believe me, ask Chris Lema.

So how is Withings explaining the price difference between the Activité and the Activité Pop?

While Withings Activité uses the finest materials and bears the famous Swiss Made label, the Withings Activité Pop is all about keeping activity tracking fun and colorful. The price difference between these 2 models is due to the use of different materials and to the additional assembly costs of the Swiss Made Activité. Even at close range, not much separates Pop from its prestigious predecessor.

Source: Withings Blog

The $300 difference is in the watch face, the motions, the glass, the movements, and the fact that it’s Swiss made.

Movements are the dials and gears and stuff that we all take for granted when it comes to analog watches. They’re actually incredibly difficult and complicated. Take a watch apart and look at how much is in there. The weight of the hands has to be taken into account so using the lighter, aluminum, in the Activité means that the movements are different. An analog watch will always be more expensive because of that. Digital is easy because there are no moving parts. We also have to factor in the issues with analog watches loosing time. This is mitigated by the quality of the products. My Rolex doesn’t lose time. Ever. My Swatch and my Citizen watches do.

The glass is also important. If you don’t wear glasses regularly, you may not appreciate the value of good, lightweight, glass. I pay upwards of $1500 (pre-insurance) for glasses lenses because of the quality. They’re clear, they’re scratch proof, and they’re custom made for my eyes. At $400 they’re a bargain. The watch glass is also important. Your watch will be banged around a lot more than your glasses (even if you have a 2 year old), so they use quartz crystal. It’ll withstand a lot more and it looks cool. I will note, I did manage to crack my Rolex crystal once. I also chipped a bone in my wrist and had a scab the size of Montana when I did it, and nearly puked when they cleaned it out. So that’s expected.

Don’t forget this stuff is made by people. Robots can do a lot of this but there’s an aspect to good watches that all but requires handmade attention. Oh and yes, this is a good watch.

The extra money kicks in when you think about the development time, but also that that the watch bears the Swiss Made marker. Yeah, it matters. The quality is work it.

This is, of course, not a review, or an excuse, or even a real explanation.

The value of a watch is found in the person who wears it. I have always been a watch wearer, and I always quest for a watch that fits my needs and wants. It should tell time, accurately. It should fit comfortable, not be too heavy nor too large. It should look good based on how I think a watch should look on my wrist. It should feel good, which goes beyond comfort.

And for me, it should be a bit smarter.

But a review will come later.

2 responses

  1. Totally agree and you pay for the quality of the product.

    I’m really torn about getting an iWatch when they are available. First releases of any product tend to be dicey though as the Moto 360 demonstrated can sometimes be fixed with a code upgrade.

    But having a LG G watch (Google Wear) for a few weeks the gee whiz factor is huge. It’s just plain fun to have though I now have an iPhone and gave up that watch.

    1. @Jan Dembowski: Honestly, I don’t want an iWatch because I don’t want to be that connected. Also I don’t like digital watches and I can’t fathom liking a computer watch. 🙄 If I want to be techy, I have a phone, an iPad, and a laptop. My watch needs to fucking tell the time.

      And yes, I do use it.

      A review on this specific watch coming soon 😉

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