The most recent announcements about the Apple Watch finally answered the two questions that had been casually brushed aside at the initial launch, those of battery life and water resistance.
For the former, Apple has reassured its customers that the Apple Watch battery will last for 18 hours on a full charge. That is, however, 18 hours’ worth of minimal use and other reports suggest that a more typical usage scenario could see this drop to less than 7 hours.
The watch that tells you how often you can tell the time
The good news is that you can still use the Apple Watch without a connection to your iPhone. In this case the watch becomes a not-so-smart watch and loses the high accuracy provided by the GPS signal from your phone. And while the battery can last for up to 72 hours, it does so at the expense of the watch’s sole purpose: that of telling the time. Below a certain power reserve, the watch enters a low-power mode that Apple happily refers to as “power reserve” mode, which only allows you to check the time four times per hour, making it little more use than a minute repeater in the dark.
Wash, but don’t swim
On the subject of water resistance, Apple certifies its watch under the IP classification used for electronic devices. The IPX7 certification offered by the Apple Watch means that it has been immersed in one metre of water for up to 30 minutes. Even Apple itself says that submerging the Apple Watch is not recommended.
Sorry, how much?
Another headline-grabbing fact from the latest trickle of information from Apple was the revelation of some rather staggering prices, with the Apple Watch “Edition” models in gold set to retail for between $10,000 and $17,000 dollars when they go on sale (probably only in carefully selected Apple Stores) from April.
Since these prices are clearly in luxury watch territory I think it is important to put them into context, so I used the WorldTempus watch finder to find a selection of watches that have a gold case, pressure-tested water resistance and a self-winding mechanical movement with a power reserve of at least a couple of days. Here is a small selection:
(Note that our Watch Finder searches for watches by price ranges to account for local currency variations)
Frédérique Constant Heart Beat Manufacture
Frédérique Constant’s own smart watch is set to compete head-on with the Apple Watch and offers compatibility with both iOS and Android operating systems. But for the price of the top-of-the-range Apple Watches you can treat yourself to the brand’s Heart Beat Manufacture model, which has a red-gold case, an in-house mechanical movement with a 42-hour power reserve and water resistance to 50 metres.
Longines Master Collection
Any watch in this collection, even with a full gold bracelet, will cost no more than the gold Apple Watches. What you get for this is a red-gold case, self-winding mechanical movement with 48-hour power reserve and water resistance to 30 metres.
Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback
A small concession on the case (which is a mixture of red gold and ceramic) takes you into high-end Swiss watch territory with the legendary high-frequency Zenith El Primero movement, 50 hours of power reserve and 100 metre water resistance.
Montblanc Bohème Date Automatic Jewellery
Still for less than the top-priced Apple Watch, ladies can treat themselves to a Montblanc watch in red gold set with diamonds on the dial and bezel. It is powered by a self-winding movement with 38 hours of power reserve and 30-metre water resistance.