Technology

Jewelers will gold-plate your entry-level Apple Watch

Can't afford a gold Apple Watch? Have someone gold plate it for you

A gold edition Apple Watch may be the status symbol of the moment.

But with prices starting at $10,000, few can afford the timepiece flaunted by stars such as Beyonce.

Now third-party jewelers are offering a solution: Apple Watch fans can purchase an entry-level version of the device and have it gold-plated for a fraction of the cost.

That's what Watch Plate, a Los Angeles company, is promising. For $399, the jeweler will clad your Apple Watch in 24-karat gold in three business days. All you have to do is FedEx your device. They'll even give you a prepaid mailing slip.

“We will ship it back to you looking like a million bucks (well, more like $10,000),” the company's website said.

Meanwhile, a company called Golden Dreams is touting a marriage of cutting-edge technology and traditional Swiss watchmaking in its edition of the smartwatch.

Instead of you mailing an Apple Watch to the Geneva-based company, Golden Dreams orders the timepiece for you and covers it in your choice of 24-karat gold, 18-karat rose gold or 18-karat white gold.

It even offers 160 different straps to choose from made from alligator, python, ostrich or shark skin.

Though far cheaper than the official gold Apple Watch, the treatment will still set buyers back between $3,450 and $3,550, depending on the size.

That's still a bargain compared with what Brikk, another L.A. luxury design company, is offering in terms of modified Apple Watches: a diamond-encrusted version that sells for as much as $114,995. The deposit for the timepiece alone is the same price as the cheapest gold edition Apple Watch.

Apple released its new device last month to mixed reviews. Unlike the iPhone and iPad, the Apple Watch can be purchased only online or at select boutiques.

The difference speaks to Apple's new marketing strategy for the timepiece, which must resonate from a style and status standpoint to appeal to consumers beyond gadget geeks, analysts say.

Custom blinging probably will help the device transcend being just a tech tool.

In addition to charging docks and travel cases, accessory makers such as Casetify are jumping on the Apple Watch bandwagon by offering dozens of alternative watch bands, often in bright colors and graphics.

The independent Apple news website 9to5mac noted one more thrifty way to own an Apple Watch that appears to be made of the precious yellow metal: spray-painting the cheapest version gold.

Follow @dhpierson for tech news.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

update

6:20 p.m. Updates with additional details

Originally posted at 8:12 a.m.

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