Nope, I haven’t caved to temptation and bought a $10,000 gold Apple Watch (waiting for gen-2…kidding!) … that’s a $549 stainless steel Apple Watch that met WatchPlate’s plating service to create a rose gold version with stunning resemblance to the Apple Watch Edition.
Last month we unboxed the first 42mm Apple Watch “3rd-party gold-plated edition” with Link Bracelet, a yellow gold version that looks like the ones only celebrities like Beyonce have, and today we’re taking a look at WatchPlate’s rose gold plating on a 38mm Apple Watch with Classic Buckle and Sport band. Check out our hands-on photos below:
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First, here’s a quick recap of how WatchPlate, the service we first discovered in May, transforms ordinary Apple Watches into beautiful but affordable Edition-like timepieces. You buy a stainless steel Apple Watch (the gold plating doesn’t work with aluminum Sport models) and ship it to WatchPlate. For a flat rate of $399, the company plates your Apple Watch and band in 18k yellow or rose gold and ships it back within roughly 3-4 business days. Shipping is covered and you can pay a little more to have additional bands plated. Click galleries to enlarge.
The result is super impressive, especially considering the complexity of the Apple Watch being a miniature computer aside from metal casing.
Getting the details around the Digital Crown and heart rate sensor on the back especially concerned me before sending off the watch. WatchPlate’s application shows no signs of aftermarket plating upon careful inspection, though, aside from the absence of hallmarks and fineness marks found beneath the casing of actual Apple Watch Editions and bands.
WatchPlate covers both the casing on the Apple Watch and any metal on the band as well. For the Sport band, both sides of the clasp located on the top half are plated in 18k rose gold to match the watch’s casing. While solid rather than plated, this combination is priced at $10,000 for the Apple Watch Edition. WatchPlate achieves the appearance for under $999 if you want the gold look without the luxury price.
Aside from the price tag, creating yellow gold and rose gold watch and band combinations not offered by Apple is a major appeal of WatchPlate. Apple’s Edition collection is limited to just 8 models for purchase including rose gold and yellow gold versions. Apple’s Classic Buckle in the Edition collection is only offered in yellow gold and that’s for the 42mm casing, which makes the above rose gold 38mm Apple Watch with Classic Buckle unique to third-party plating.
While it’s still not pocket change (you can buy an Apple Watch Sport for $349-$399), WatchPlate’s gold plating service for $399 is an impressive solution for any stainless steel Apple Watch wearer that envies the gold models but not the Edition price tag.
Naturally, gold was my girlfriend’s Apple Watch preference (d’oh!) before the Edition prices were revealed this year — her iPhone, iPad, and MacBook are all gold — and it’s very awesome to have that look for less or about the same price as the Space Black Apple Watch. WatchPlate is a superb solution when the preference for gold is based purely on color and not on luxury price tag (and $1000 or so certainly isn’t a cheap watch). It’s also sort of fun to entertain the illusion of yes, actually having spent $10,000-$17,000 on an Apple Watch Edition when you go out. The difference is indistinguishable to the casual observer, and the illusion is even easier to pull off on social media.
Check out the rest of our hands-on photos in the gallery below, and have WatchPlate transform your Apple Watch into a gold-plated Edition-like timepiece here.