back to article $17k solid gold Apple Watch goes from Beyoncé's wrist to the obsolete list

If you're still wearing an original Apple Watch, we have bad news: the Series 0 is being moved to Apple's "obsolete" category, meaning owners will no longer be able to get service of any kind for their eight-year-old wrist computers. That includes the $17,000 solid gold Edition release that appeared on the wrists of …

  1. steviebuk Silver badge

    No doubt

    The peasents will be shafted, the celebs will get special services otherwise they'll cost more in negative publicity.

    Also, not very green is it. How long do normal watches last? Fucking years with regular servicing and guess what, you can take them to any independent repair shop.

    Obsolescence needs to fucking stop and kit needs to be repairable again BY ANYONE!

    Back in the late 80s our backroom TV failed. Family friend came round, laid it on the floor, took back off. Schematic was inside the case. He traced where the fault was and fixed it. Why have we gone backwards!

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: No doubt

      Because there's more money in selling than in fixing.

      This is the consumer's fault. We all accept that Apple decides, arbitrarily, to define a date after which something is obsolete and refuses not only to fix it any more, but even deprives other providers of parts to do so.

      This will last until people get fed up of buying things that are declared obsolete when they are still perfectly fixable and maintainable. We have all been led down the path of the new shiny, and enough of us have run stright down it that I don't know if we'll get back out of it any time soon.

      1. VicMortimer Silver badge

        Re: No doubt

        This is NOT the consumers' fault.

        The fault lies squarely on the manufacturers for doing this and the legislators for allowing them to get away with it.

        Consumers have NO power in this situation. There is no choice when ALL products are like this.

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Yes, there is a choice. The choice of not buying.

          The choice of only buying things that can be fixed.

          We did not make that choice, so now we have the long, hard slog of getting the law involved. And that means fighting the lobbyists, which are still doing their damndest to fight the right to repair.

          If we had just not bought, it's the manufacturers that would be begging us to buy their fixable stuff.

          1. Stork Silver badge

            Does the average consumer (not the average ElReg reader) realistically have a way of knowing what is repairable?

            As an aside, I am trying to replace a cable on a MagSafe2 charger which sustained rabbit damage. I have done it before with success on an older MagSafe2, had bought a replacement cable, but Apple has changed the solder to something that doesn’t melt. Can’t get the old cable stump out, grrr

            1. MachDiamond Silver badge

              "but Apple has changed the solder to something that doesn’t melt. "

              That's likely the lead free crap. Try to infuse the new with some old and often that can get the unleaded stuff to melt so you can wick it off or get it with the solder sucker.

        2. karlkarl Silver badge

          Re: No doubt

          > This is NOT the consumers' fault.

          > Consumers have NO power in this situation

          Consumers shouldn't buy defective (by design) hardware. It really is that simple.

          > There is no choice when ALL products are like this.

          This is entirely not the case. Very few watches are Apple landfill-ware. Actually, that is quite unique to the Apple brand only.

          However, I do feel there should be better education. For example in many places in Asia, it is seen as a gluttonous embarrassment to own an Apple device.

          1. 43300 Silver badge

            Re: No doubt

            "Consumers shouldn't buy defective (by design) hardware. It really is that simple."

            The problem is, that applies to nearly all hardware now so you don't have alternative options for many things. With a watch you can buy a mechanical watch if you simply want it to tell the time, but with anything specifically containing computerery the options mostly aren't there. And often its software which effectively kills it off, as they stop issuing security updates which makes devices (especially smartphones) increasingly risky to use.

          2. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

            Re: No doubt

            I own no Apple products, I strongly dislike how Apple runs its affairs, I can’t understand who in their right mind would pay the price of an heirloom mechanical watch for an iPhone accessory, and I hate how much waste is generated by our society’s relentless pursuit of peer-approval, but blaming people because they didn’t know at the time everything that you, with the benefit of hindsight, now know..?

            Your assertion is nonsense: so, customers should be able to predict policy changes eight years in the future before buying a device made by a company that at that point had a good reputation for long-term support? If you actually have a time-machine to hand, there are better uses for it than checking warranty cover.

            Also, rapid obsolescence is not “unique to the Apple brand only” - how you can have any connection with the technology industry and make a claim like this baffles me. Go on Amazon, type “smart watch”, then come back and explain how only Apple is to blame for making landfill smart-watches.

            One last thing: As a European, I get tired of Americans referring to Europe as if it’s a single country; I imagine people in other parts of the world feel the same. Novosibirsk, Doha, Singapore, Hyderabad, Chengdu, Jakarta and Osaka are all “places in Asia”, so it’s hard to make anything of your comment on attitudes to Apple products... But, I suspect you might be referring to China, and the Communist Party’s long-running campaign to wean its citizens off foreign products and turn to domestic replacements instead: Chinese social media had a flurry of posts a couple of years ago from celebrities extolling the virtues of Chinese phones, and hinting that to buy a foreign brand was unpatriotic. Results have been mixed, although sales of iPhones have fallen in the Middle Kingdom.

      2. EricB123 Bronze badge

        Re: No doubt

        Ohhh, so it's all my fault! Well, then, I must be punished, mustn't I?


      3. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: No doubt

        "This will last until people get fed up of buying things that are declared obsolete when they are still perfectly fixable and maintainable. "

        I have electronic repair in my background so I look to see if something is serviceable before I buy it. Sometimes there is little choice, but I'll take something old that's built well over something new with a load of features I'm unlikely to ever use.

        A watch phone has zero appeal for me. I got out of wearing watches a long time ago since I play drums and the two things are incompatible. I have a couple of nice dress watches that might still work I keep just in case, but everything has a clock on it these days so I'm never out of sync. I ignore my phone quite frequently unless I hear a ringtone that I like (friends and family and good customers). A phone I will ignore mated with a fashion accessory that I never wear is a combination of wasted money. Given the price of an iPhone and iWatch, I'd suggest people give them both a miss and pay off the car/home faster.

        Does anybody have any plans for a compact EMP generator that can disable a Harley? Dickweed across the street with a lack of mufflers and a penchant for going on rides in the middle of the night is at it again. He already thinks They are microwaving his brain and telling his doctor to deny him more pain meds so I'd love to zap his bike with a ray gun and really give him something to be paranoid about.

      4. darklord

        Re: No doubt

        Actually now its cheaper to replace than repair, that's the issue. A lot of manufacturers make it difficult by not releasing parts to the public or repair community. Sony are especially renowned for that and always have been.

        By the time you factor labour in at 100 pounds an hour it suddenly becomes cheaper to replace with new.

        But i agree this obsolescence issue is getting out of hand as it feeds the component counterfeiters and grey markets. even right to repair is a thorny issue as even the IIOM recognise works if there's new parts available but not when its from the far east and eBay to keep 10 year old computer going fine if your home user but not if you rely on the beasty for your lively hood.

        For years components were readily available for prolonged periods but i can t believe some core components are no longer available such as caps, resistors chips etc, but that is occuring.

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: No doubt

      I'm guessing that anyone who bought a solid gold first generation product has enough money and obsession with Apple that they've already bought a newer one and don't care that this one has become worthless. I'm sure someone will buy it for the gold value, though I don't know how much gold they can have put in it without making it a bit too heavy. Either way, Apple isn't going to need to make them functional.

      I have to disagree a bit about your comparison to a simple watch. These things aren't the same kind of product, so it's not surprising that one lasts much longer than another. A watch that only tells the time doesn't use as much power as one that has a WiFi radio and GPS receiver in it, so purely for battery reasons, the smartwatch will last a shorter time. Apple should have had more software support than they did, but I don't think anyone was expecting it to be working usefully in 2050 when WiFi will look very different and the things we used to use with the device no longer exist.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: No doubt

        "I'm sure someone will buy it for the gold value"

        I'm not sure just how valuable the gold is or even if it is gold.

        Caratage is the measure of the purity of gold, usually referred to as Carat(s). According to the article, the Apple "gold" watch is "18 Karat gold". So is it real gold? Or, is it like Krispy Kream doughnuts, which are neither crispy nor cream, even if the name sounds like it.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: No doubt

          People can melt that down to get at the 75% of it which is supposed to be gold, and I'm sure that if it wasn't, we'd have heard the story by now. What I don't know is how much gold there really is in the case, because they only said how much of the gold-colored metal is gold, not how much of that metal is on it. It could be a thin shell around the rest of the obsolete unit. Then again, we're talking about the people who spent $17k on a newly released product that wasn't expected to last for decades, so those people probably don't care enough to get full value from their junk.

        2. Sherrie Ludwig

          Re: No doubt

          "I'm sure someone will buy it for the gold value"

          No,it won't be melted down for the gold, it now has "value" because it was owned by a celebrity. Put it up for auction, and it will fetch far more than either its worth as a watch or the gold in its case.

        3. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: No doubt

          18 carat is real gold. About as real as you normally buy.

          24 carat is too soft for most applications. Hence the old test of biting to check the gold (seen in various movies, mostly of the Pirate kind).

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: No doubt

            True, but the real question is, as per the article, what is "18 Karet gold" as used in the iWatch :-)

          2. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: No doubt

            "24 carat is too soft for most applications."

            Not for bullion which is what the prices quoted on the financial news are charting.

            I found a pile of old ic's with lots of Gold (damn things have some heft), but it might still not be enough to process for the Gold content. Buyers will also only offer a percentage of what the Gold scrap might be worth to cover their backside. Without precise knowledge, the Gold could be worth less after being made into a useful item than it was worth initially.

        4. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

          Re: No doubt

          “Karat” for metals is a unit of purity. 1 K = 1/24th part. 24K gold is almost pure (it must be 99.9% pure to be rated 24K ).

          “Carat” is a unit of mass 1 ct = 0.2 gramme.

          British English (like wot I speak) used to use the spelling “carat” for both units (relying on people to know that 18 carat diamonds are not a likely thing to see in the Argos catalogue), but the abbreviation “K” for gold is now commonplace on this side of the water too.

          Anyway, to attempt to answer your question using the internet and sums... Published specs say the 18K Gold Apple Watch weighs 69 g (the rose version is 1 g lighter, but let’s ignore that). The same size watch in steel weighed 30 g. For easy sums, let’s assume that the steel casing weighed 11g, which means the 18K model had maybe 40g of 18K gold in it (30g-11g = 29g excluding case, 69-29 = 40g excluding case).

          18K gold costs around €40 per gramme, so if that watch has 40 g of gold in its case, then it’s worth €1600. Or, €250 at your local Cash-for-Gold shop..

          As a return on a $17,000 investment in a timepiece it’s not exactly a Patek, is it?

      2. Joobloo

        Re: No doubt

        Obviously you'd get a Casio if wanted longevity. Apple is just throw away fashion for cult fans.

        1. BebopWeBop

          Re: No doubt

          Actually you would buy a vintage mechanical watch.

          1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: No doubt

            buy a vintage mechanical watch

            I've inherited 3 Victorian pocket watches (all came with a chain :-) ). Sadly, I very rarely wear a suit or waistcoat these days so don't get much opportunity to use them.. And one of them (inherited from my Dad) is huge and weighs down the weskit pocket a bit too much. Still, it came with the original velvet-lined case/stand so it can be used as a (small) mantel clock. The others came from my wife's grandparents - a mans pocket watch and a more highly decorated ladies watch. I use the mans watch when I wear a waistcoat.

            I *like* clockwork clocks.. (we also have an old car clock - A Watford 409 from the 1920's/1930's that my wifes' great-grandfather had mounted into a stand - he owned a garage in Plymouth).

            I also have an Apple Watch. Horses for courses..

            1. Peshman

              Re: No doubt

              I bought a Cartier Pasha automatic in 1996 when I first started consulting.

              I told my self that old "I'm going to get one of those one day" lines when it was just a pipedream.

              Servicing costs aside it's the best 11k I've spent on the one and only luxury item I could justify buying since I know I'll hand it down eventually.

            2. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: No doubt

              "I *like* clockwork clocks.. "

              I'm still looking for a mechanical clock that goes in the "gun camera" of a Mig 15. I was given the camera and bought some extra film canisters to go with it, but it's missing the watch that gets it face projected on the film. The whole thing is super clever and very straightforward.

      3. LybsterRoy Silver badge

        Re: No doubt

        I downvoted you because of this "A watch that only tells the time doesn't use as much power as one that has a WiFi radio and GPS receiver in it, so purely for battery reasons, the smartwatch will last a shorter time."

        Ever heard of replaceable batteries?

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: No doubt

          Yes, they can replace the batteries, but I'm referring to the stresses that that might place on the unit compared to the smaller ones placed on a mechanical watch or one that uses very little power. Opening the case much more frequently to replace a battery that drains every day is going to add to the maintenance cost, and if you ever get a battery that swells, it could cause damage that's much harder to repair.

          However, maybe it would be better to talk about the fact that that watch only has 2.4 GHz WiFi, and we will eventually get to a point where that is not as often used. I already didn't bother having a 2.4 GHz signal for my home network, so it wouldn't be able to connect if I had one, and I doubt I'm the only person to have done that. Of course, when it stops being able to connect to the internet unless you set up a connection method you otherwise wouldn't, it's not entirely useless then either, but it's a bit less functional. This is pretty common when it comes to devices whose main point is to be a computer.

      4. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: No doubt

        I'm guessing that anyone who bought a solid gold first generation product has enough money...

        But not enough clue. It's one of those odd marketing things that's crept into our language that doesn't really make sense. A solid gold watch would be a lousy time keeper, but may be an interesting sculpture of a watch. But it is an interesting collision of two industries notorious for imposing sucker taxes, tech & jewellry.. Both known for ludicrious and lucrative markups. Fun thing about 'luxury' or 'designer' watches is most of the money goes on the case and branding. Many use standard IWC movements, so if you know the movement a watch uses, you can figure out what the branding costs. With the iWatch, it's even easier. It's the same 'movement' as the regular watch, so suckers are paying a very hefty premium for a few grams of gold.

        Plus bling watches come complete with a 'mug me!' feature. So I'll stick with my tatty old 1939 Rolex bubble back, in stainless steel and a plain leather strap. If nothing else, that provides some amusement when I go watch shopping and get a double-take from assistants that recognise it :p

      5. garwhale Bronze badge

        Re: No doubt

        Agree that the battery is mainly the part that will wear out first in personal electronic devices. An 8-year-old battery is probably already dead. It's possible to replace the battery in most appliances, albeit with differing degrees of difficulty. Waterproofing may also not be the same after. Thus, the EU regulation that batteries must be consumer replaceable on smartphones should be applied to other devices. Another problem is that ancient devices may not have the computing power for newer apps and OS, as well as manufacturers of Android smartphones not offering OS upgrades.

      6. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: No doubt

        " I'm guessing that anyone who bought a solid gold first generation product has enough money and obsession with Apple that they've already bought a newer one and don't care that this one has become worthless.

        I'm wondering if the ones named got theirs for free or heavily discounted as a shadow advertising ploy. It gets the people that really can't afford them to buy anyway to be like their hero. It's just like the $250 trainers named after some sports figure except the shoes will last much longer.

    3. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: No doubt

      The peasents will be shafted

      I don't think anyone dropping $17K on a smartphone everyone knew would be replaced by a better model in a year and not be supported for decades like a Rolex could be classed a "peasant". I doubt many (if any) Reg readers ever saw a gold Apple Watch in person, since most of us don't hang out with Hollywood celebrities or rap stars.

      What I wonder is how many of those were sold, and how many are still in active use? I wouldn't be surprised if the latter number is zero. There are some third party companies that will sell you a new model Apple watch that's been gold plated or blinged with diamonds. The people who bought one of the original gold ones have probably had it in a drawer for years, and if they are still wearing an Apple watch some of them will have paid even more than $17K to get one blinged out to ridiculous proportions.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: No doubt

      "the celebs will get special services otherwise they'll cost more in negative publicity"

      Service? That old thing? Haven't worn it for years. It's so yesterday I'm not even sure where it is. It might be in a drawer somewhere or maybe I left it in an hotel.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: No doubt

        And besides, what makes you think I paid for it?

    5. DrValvepunk

      Re: No doubt

      I remember helping my Dad install a new tube on our 26 inch colour TV. There was a place locally that refurbished and exchanged TV tubes. It was quite a delicate procedure and we had great "fun" setting up the convergence afterwards . That TV last many more years.

  2. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    In the meantime my 20 year old Citizen Ecodrive is still beating it's little heart, albeit with one new battery (energy cell if you must) and a new crystal to replace the old one, heavily scratched from working on cars and sundry building works.

    1. VicMortimer Silver badge

      And my grandfather's 46 year old Seiko M158-5009 is still going too.

      But that's not the watch I wear the vast majority of the time. And that's because all it does is tell you the time, date, GMT, and time at various airports around the world. Sure, it's a beautiful watch, but that's all it is. My 36 year old Timex Ironman (same kind Bill Clinton wore to his inauguration) also still works, but doesn't do much more.

      My Apple watch, on the other hand, does that plus calculator, calendar, phone, lighting controller, compass, blood oxygen, ECG, thermostat control, finds my keys, texts, pays for groceries, tracks my mileage, lets me know if there's too much noise, finds EV chargers, identifies songs, lets me know I need to take meds, lets me read email, and tells me how much I've walked in a day.

      Until this Apple watch I'd mostly stopped wearing watches at all, because something that just tells me the time isn't all that useful. But this thing really is.

      (Don't get me started on how much I despise analog watches in general and mechanical watches in particular.)

      1. ICL1900-G3


        @vm - I won't. Neither will I tell you how ludicrous I find it that people seem happy to be conned into buying what they know will soon be worthless landfill.

        Delighted to be wearing my dear old dad's Rolex, now in its 81st year.

        1. MiguelC Silver badge

          Re: Ok

          A friend of mine has inherited his grandfather's Patek Philippe wrist watch made in the 1920's and he can still get it serviced if ever there's need to.

      2. probgoblin

        If my Seiko Flightmaster did that to me*, I'd kill it with a rock.

        *Except the calculator part, it has a slide rule on the bezel.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Isn't this the point, though? You decide what features you want to have and select a device that meets those requirements, including any tradeoffs required to get there. For instance, my wrists are devoid of any kind of watch, because I've considered the options. I don't need a watch to tell me the time because my computer's right in front of me and it has a clock and my phone is nearby and it has one. The traditional time-only devices aren't useful to me. The list of features in smartwatches are also not that useful to me because, as before, my phone can do most or all of that and I don't mind getting it if I decide I want to talk to someone or I have a calculation that I don't want to do in my head.

          I find the comments comparing smartwatches to time-only watches a bit confusing, because people appear to be comparing things only on where you keep it during use, not what it does. On the same basis, I should tell anyone who has a mobile phone that they're stupid because it gets much less battery life, even if it's one of those that last a week, than my solar-powered pocket calculator. Sure, you can call people with that one and my calculator only has four arithmetic functions and that percentage key for those who don't want to type /100, but they're similarly-sized devices that are both stored in the pocket, so they must be comparable and expected to work the same way for the same amount of time.

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "My Apple watch, on the other hand, does that plus calculator, calendar, phone, lighting controller, compass, blood oxygen, ECG, thermostat control, finds my keys, texts, pays for groceries, tracks my mileage, lets me know if there's too much noise, finds EV chargers, identifies songs, lets me know I need to take meds, lets me read email, and tells me how much I've walked in a day."

        How much of that will it do if you leave your iPhone at home? Does the watch actually *do* much at all or is it primarily a slightly smart wireless terminal display for the phone?

        1. Atomic Duetto

          Mine (a gift), will do pretty much all of it without the phone anywhere near it. It has its own cellular/mobile whatsit. Indeed I’ve not noticed what it won’t do without the phone and often leave it (the phone and my wallet) at home when I go out. I note that it’s a gift as I wouldn’t have thought to buy it myself, initially thinking it an expensive new shiny tangent for retailers. But it has turned out to be a really useful apple shiny and will likely be placed on my Christmas list when obsoleted.

          Prior to this, I had avoided wearing a watch as I couldn’t stand (compete with) the one upmanship of corporate achievers comparing the size and heft of their Panerai to the executive Sinn and it’s superior Godwin past.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            "Mine (a gift), will do pretty much all of it without the phone anywhere near it. It has its own cellular/mobile whatsit"

            Thanks :-) Although my question was a bit snarky, it was actually a genuine question on the functionality as many Smart watches, especially down the cheaper "no-name" end of the scale are actually capable of very little as stand alone devices so it's good to know the iWatch is actually mainly useful even when "untethered" :-)

      4. LybsterRoy Silver badge

        -- And that's because all it does is tell you the time, date, GMT, and time at various airports around the world. --

        Wow a watch that tells you the time - how quaint next you'll be telling me that you have a smartphone that allows you to make phone calls.

        Now where did I leave that sarcasm tag.....

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          Well, my mobile now takes between thirty and forty seconds from selecting a callee on its 'recently used' list to actually changing the display to indicate that a call is in progress, and several seconds more before I hear the ring tone. Sometimes it even allows the buttons on the app (loudspeaker, mute etc) to operate; sometimes it doesn't.

          But this mechanical watch always knows the time and is dependent only on me moving my arm from time to time to keep working. Admittedly the mobile knows the time, but first I have to remember where I left it.

          Obviously peoples' needs and wants from any device will be different. I rather like the idea of three hundred year old engineering that still works today (though the one on my wrist at the moment is only a few years old, I have several others sixty years old and older).

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            "but first I have to remember where I left it"

            In my case that's usually at home and I'm not going back for it.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I bet you still need two hands to tell the time

    2. the.spike

      As is mine (25 years+) and no part has have ever been replaced. However I have in the last 5 years tried to get it serviced and guess what? None of the parts are available anymore. Yes I could pay the watchmaker to make them, but then it's probably easier and cheaper to buy something new if and when it stops working.

  3. DownTheAnalysisMines

    Easily avoidable PR disaster

    Given their gobsmackingly enormous market valuation lately, Apple could easily - EASILY - implement a legacy products initiative to support key items of older hardware, especially something as iconic as a Series 0 gold watch! It would maintain trust in their brand and would be good for the environment. The downside for them, of course, apart from the relatively trivial cost, is the hit to planned obsolescence, that naughty industrial policy that has always lurked so close to Apple brands (and others, of course) and is a significant driver of new sales. To do nothing and let these products slide into an avoidable demise smacks of cynicism, especially given their historic antagonism towards third-party support.

    Rather than treating older products like the red-headed stepchild that has to be walled up in the east wing of the castle and forgotten about, they should be allowed to stick around as a tribute to Apple's undeniable record of innovation and design. In the vast majority of cases, they'd live alongside current products rather than delaying their rollout and enter the era of viable collectibles that still live and breath and don't just languish, dead-screened and cold in some drawer or landfill. They say that 65% of Rolls Royce cars are still on the road. Come on, Apple. Stand behind your own legacy.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Easily avoidable PR disaster

      A few months back I saw a 1920s Rolls Royce sitting outside the local RNLI as part of fund-raising. I spoke the owner, they had it in their (wealthy) family for 3 generations AFIK and it had done 700,000 miles more or less. He recently flew it to Australia to drive around there before flying it back.

      While some might be appalled by such wealth in our times of need, I was pleased to see that (a) he was helping the RNLI by being their at his own expense, and (b) it was being used, not in a museum. I applaud all of the craftsmen and women who built every part of it in the 20s that their skilled labour was still being enjoyed a century later.

      1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

        Re: Easily avoidable PR disaster

        And I bet it still looked bloody fantastic. Style seems on seriously short supply these days

        1. quxinot

          Re: Easily avoidable PR disaster

          Cars all look the same today due to crash laws and regulations. So it's not that they're without style, it's that they're not allowed to have style.

  4. tel2016

    It's not a watch

    It's a wrist-mounted gadget that can also tell you the time.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: It's not a watch

      Primarily it was a wrist-mounted display object whose prime function was to show, by having been purchased, what the owner could afford to by. Having been purchased and flashed about most of its utility value has been used up. Being a wrist-mounted gadget that could also tell you the time was its residual utility value (plus the melt price of the gold, of course).

  5. Ball boy Silver badge

    Phones, 'smart' watches and the like are all destined to be throwaway devices: if nothing else, the demands placed on them by the upgraded OS that comes out after the hardware means it'll eventually die even if the hardware itself were to magically keep working forever. Same applies - on a slightly slower timescale - to PC's (my daily driver is 14 years old, TYVM).

    On the plus side, I suppose these solid gold watches - like the diamond encrusted Nokia's of the 90's - are far more likely to be recycled than your run-of-the-mill Samsung simply because of the inherent value in the materials. Or they'll become collector-pieces that get traded for however many years Apple is still a 'thing', meaning their recycle value pales into insignificance compared to their perceived value (you could use the same argument for a van Dyke painting, I guess: worthless as raw material....but very valuable all the same).

    If we want to stop the e-waste then we need to design products that are built to last (replaceable components, active third party suppliers market, etc) AND do something to address the obligation to upgrade just because the OS/app suite needs newer/faster/more extension-aware hardware. Not sure how we do that, though. Imagine: would we all be happy with a i286 running at 8Mhz and all its inherent memory limitations because that's kind of what we should have stuck with if we're going to subscribe to the 'don't evolve' logic.

    I don't have the answer - I don't think anyone can square this particular circle.

  6. Joobloo

    Why is this a shock?

    Standard Apple playcard. Most people learnt their lesson with iPods and moved to Android. You snooze you lose.

  7. Omnipresent Bronze badge

    First off...

    She will claim it on taxes and collect the insurance. She's rich bitch!

    Secondly... If it's no longer a viable data collector, best thing to do is melt it down. Data is the gold.

    Thirdly... great article.

  8. EricB123 Bronze badge

    I have the permanant solution


  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. Boo Radley

    My Watch

    I, too, always have my phone either at my side or in my hand, but I wear a very nice Tag Heuer chronograph that was a birthday gift years ago, which I usually use to check the time. It's the only jewelry that I wear or even own. For years I had a beautiful ID bracelet that was also a birthday gift, which I somehow lost. And my Tag was actually a re-gift, a friend had received it as an engagement gift but the engagement was broken off before the wedding, and he, not being a watch wearer, knew that I'd appreciate and treasure it for many years to come. Win-win for each of us, right?

  11. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    Vintage after 5 years? Lol!

  12. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    Someone will come up with a neat way to repurpose the casing for another type of watch.

    Or it will be memorabilia sold for $$$ at auction.

    BTW, I never owned an Apple Watch, but supposedly it will still work even after being obsolete?

  13. BebopWeBop

    Those vintage

    mechanical watches are looking rather good after this...

  14. garwhale Bronze badge

    I'm sure that Beyoncé can auction the watch off for more than 17K $.

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