Apple Uses “As Little Gold As Possible” For Its New 10,000 “Gold” Watch

Maybe invest in a Rolex instead

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Apple filed a patent to produce 18-karat gold that was indeed stronger than the usual standard of gold, but only because it used less actual gold per volume.

Now that Apple’s Spring Forward Apple Watch event is over, we know the price. For the basic sport design, you are looking at a $379 price tag, and if you want the Apple Watch Edition which features 18-karat gold, you’re range is anywhere between $10,000 and $17,000.

To be sure, there is little point is discussing whether or not the Edition wristwear with “worth” the price. It is luxury technology, in the form of a wearable, but targeted to customers that can afford a five-figure price tag for their watch. However, last week in the Financial Times, in an interview with Apple’s design magician, Jony Ive, he stated that, “the molecules in Apple gold are closer together, making it twice as hard as standard gold”. For those wondering just exactly how Apple managed to make its gold “closer” than any others companies gold was an interesting distinction. Twitter and tech blogs seemed to think so as well, and Leancrew.com managed to discover that Apple filed a patent to produce 18-karat gold that was indeed stronger than the usual standard of gold, but only because it used less actual gold per volume.

18-karat gold is an alloy, not 100% gold, but instead a mixture that must have ¾ of its total mass being gold. Usually though, the remaining ¼ consists of another metallic element. The tech blog explains, “Apple’s gold is a metal matrix composite, not a standard alloy. Instead of mixing the gold with silver, copper, or other metals to make it harder, Apple is mixing it with low-density ceramic particles”.

 

Basically, Apple combines gold with much more durable elements that take up less weight, but take up a larger amount of space than traditional metallic elements.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So when the mold is poured to create the Apple Watch Edition, the other materials take up much more of the room, and Apple manages to use one less gold per cubic centimeter - and still call it 18-karat.

Basically, Apple combines gold with much more durable elements that take up less weight, but take up a larger amount of space than traditional metallic elements. This allows the gold to be much lighter and scratch-resistant, whereas normal gold is much heavier, softer, and prone to damages. When the product is complete, however, it still technically is 75% gold. So when the mold is poured to create the Apple Watch Edition, the other materials take up much more of the room, and Apple manages to use one less gold per cubic centimeter - and still call it 18-karat. The graph shows how gold can be ¾ the mass, and only 28% of the volume.

The patent says, “In addition to using as little gold as possible while maintaining a specific karatage, a gold metal matrix composite can be formed that has selected aesthetic properties well-suited for providing a favorable user experience”. So, I hope that those buying the Apple Watch Edition aren’t doing it for the gold value, because they’d be happier with a Rolex.