Apple Watch Beats Rolex in New Luxury Study

When it comes to luxury brands, the Apple Watch beats out some old favorites

Apple Watch Hermès. Apple

The Apple Watch just may be one of the biggest name in luxury watches, or at least bigger than Rolex. A new study by NetBase found that the Apple Watch is technically the biggest name in luxury watchmaking right now, ranking higher than Rolex, Tag Heuer, Patek Philippe, and Richemont. Still coming out ahead of the Apple Watch in the list was Chanel, Hermes, and Gucci.

The study was done by monitoring the social media mentions of each brand as well as consumer sentiment across 700 million posts made on social media between 2014 and 2015.

The Apple Watch was the only "smartwatch" represented in the study.

As far as luxury brands go overall, Apple came in fourth on the list. The iPhone also took its own spot on the list, the only product to do so, coming in at number 11.

Given the criteria, it’s not entirely surprising that Apple topped the list. Unlike brands such as Gucci and Hermes, Apple has a stronghold in the tech community, the same community that’s avidly using social media. What’s more, the Apple Watch, while considered a “luxury” watch, isn’t priced quite as high as some of the other luxury brands out there. So, while it’s technically in the luxury category, it’s also priced in such a way that a mainstream consumer could potentially own one. That pricing, and putting it within the realistic reach of the masses, makes the Apple Watch stand out against some of its competition.

Part of the reason behind Apple’s lead in the polls might also be its functionality.

Its something that Sarah Carlsen, the head of press for Cartier acknowledges.

"The showy buyers of a bull market are long gone," she told NetBase. "We are now selling to men looking to make an intelligent purchase; looking to be part of an unspoken club of those who know, understand, and appreciate the complications of an haute horology timepiece."

Of course in the case of Cartier, Carlsen is referring to the craftsmanship behind the watch. But the luxury smartwatch market is shifting. Rather than just looking for a name brand, consumers are starting to pay a lot more attention to how their watch is made, what materials go into the process, and what functionality they'll ultimately get from the timepiece. While those buyer who might have chosen a $10,000 traditional watch probably aren’t making the switch to an Apple Watch Edition, they are looking more closely at the market and making more educated buying decisions.

Beyond increasing its own number of mentioned, the Apple Watch launched actually propelled the discussion of luxury watches in general. In 2015, the category of “Watches” in the study saw a huge bump in general. Of the top 45 luxury brand conversations, watches accounted for 7% of the discussions.

"Consumers are passionate about their luxury brand choices,which often help define who they are" reads the Luxury Report. “We see that emotions are high for the brands they love, but we also see consumers fall out of love, too. A number of popular luxury brands dropped off the list over the course of our study. Is intense competition to blame?

Or is it the fickle nature of consumers?” 

Was this page helpful?