There are quite a few different models of Apple Watch, but perhaps the most confusing is the Apple Watch Hermes. Since it looks like every other model, but costs twice as much. So what makes the Hermes version so expensive? Well, it actually has nothing to do with the watch itself, and everything to do with the band. They only use full-grain leather, with a hypoallergenic type used on the backside to prevent skin reactions.
Types of Hermes Bands
The Circuit H Single Tour leather bands
Inspired by the classic chain Hermès bracelet, the Circuit H Single Tour leather bands feature a modern chain motif available in three dynamic color combinations.
The Gourmette Double Tour band
The Gourmette Double Tour band pays homage to iconic Hermès dog collars from the 1930s. Links weave fluidly together in supple Fauve Barénia leather.
Leather and woven nylon bands
Fall brings new colors to Hermès classics with a sophisticated palette of energetic brights and subtle seasonal tones on leather and woven nylon bands. Available in a wide range of styles and colorways in Double Tour or Single Tour.
The exclusive Hermès Sport Band
Light, flexible, and water resistant, the Sport Band in signature Hermès orange is perfect for exercising. Included as an additional band with every Apple Watch Hermès silver stainless steel case. And space black stainless steel cases come with a matching black Hermès Sport Band.
Why Hermès bands are so expensive?
Since Hermes operates their own tanneries across France and Italy, they can meet demand for products like the Apple Watch, which sell in much higher volume than their own leather goods. And because of that high volume, their Apple Watch bands are actually some of the cheapest products Hermes sells. Coming in at about a third of the price of their small leather key rings. But still, 340 dollars could buy you a second Apple Watch.
What makes these leather bands so special?
Well, it comes down to materials, labor, and expertise. You’re paying for some of the finest leather in the world sourced and tanned by a specialty company. But how those materials are designed and assembled are another matter. There’s no outsourcing to textile factories in China, or automated sewing machines that quickly assemble these bands en masse. They’re completely handmade by artisans that have developed these skills through years of training and experience.
This leads to tangible benefits in the end product. For example, Hermes not only doubles-up on the last three stitches for durability, but they’re also cross-threaded for additional reinforcement. That way, if a thread eventually breaks, there’ll be a backup stitch to keep the band together. On average, it takes an hour for each artisan to put the finishing touches on a leather band. This includes stitching, hammering, sandpapering, dyeing, highlighting, polishing, smoothening, sealing, shaping, and assembly. Requiring precise manipulation on such a small scale that a machine just isn’t capable of.
Why Apple collborated with Hermes?
Apple’s logic behind their collaboration with Hermes was that they could provide the highest-quality smartwatch, while Hermes could provide the highest-quality band. And that merging of modern technology and timeless liberal arts is what Apple has always been about. Even if it comes at a premium price.