Apple Watch no longer includes range in gold

Apple’s Watch new line, unveiled this week, includes models with leather bands made by French handbag maker Hermès. But Apple scrapped the 18-karat gold versio that sold for as much as $17,000, replacing it with a ceramic piece that starts at $1,249. It is also collaborating with Nike Inc. on a co-branded timepiece aimed at runners.

After an initial pitch as a fashion accessory, Apple has increasingly sought to market its watch as a fitness device, showcasing the risk in marketing gadgets as luxury items. Apple’s gold version was derided by industry bloggers as a gimmick, and rarely spotted in public beyond the wrists of Beyonce and fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld. The pullback could also buoy Switzerland’s watch industry, whose leaders have said that centuries of craftsmanship will not simply disappear because a technology player enters the fray.

“Apple is making an admission that it’s not a luxury product in watches,” said James Dowling, co-author of “The Best of Time: Rolex Wristwatches.” “In fact, it’s making a declaration that it’s no longer in the watch business, but that it’s in the health-tracking business.”

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