When we heard about a company that could take your Apple Watch Steel and plate it with real 18k gold for $399, we couldn’t resist to try it out and see how it compared it to the real Apple Watch Edition that costs $10,000.
Here’s how the process works:
After you order on Watchplate.com they email you a prepaid Fedex ground label, which is included in their price and also insures the package up to $700. If your watch is more valuable for example with the steel link, they will bump up the insurance. You can also upgrade to $60 2-day shipping both ways.
When it came time to ship… we simply put the watch back into the original box that it came in, slapped the label on, and dropped it off at Fedex. WatchPlate gives a turnaround time of 4 days, plus a couple extra days for shipping.
We did our research prior to testing the service and spoke to their customer service as well. They made us feel comfortable about us sending our watch and said their process has been thoroughly tested and they take many measures to protect the watch while plating it. You have the option of plating it in 18k Yellow Gold or Rose Gold, and we decided on the yellow gold.
We were pleased to get our watch back quickly, in less than a week. As we unboxed our watch for the 2nd time, we were happy with the results of our now gold Apple Watch. At first inspection we don’t see any defects and the plating is perfect and looks flawless. The watch powers on perfectly fine and everything still works as expected. The microphone and speakerphone still work perfectly and the digital crown is still just as smooth as when we shipped it out to them.
It's important to note that WatchPlate can only plate your Steel Apple Watch and not the Apple Watch Sport. This is due to the simple fact that aluminum is not a metal that can be plated with this gold plating process.
They will also gold plate your band which is included in the $399 price, in our case we only had the white sport band to send and they still plated the little pin gold, which is a nice touch and matches the band just like on the real Apple Watch Edition. You can also send them a second band and they will plate for an extra $100.
We do plan on sending them our Steel Link bracelet as soon as we receive it, since WatchPlate has already started plating them and it looks great. While the solid gold link band isn’t even available from Apple, a few celebrities like Kayne West and Beyonce are already rocking the Edition with the gold steel link bracelet, and it probably cost them a pretty penny. Watchplate can give you the same look for $400, so long you buy the Apple Watch with Steel link band first.
Gold Plated vs Apple Watch Edition
Now it’s time to see how our Gold Plated watch stacks up against the $10,000 Apple Watch Edition. We scheduled an appointment for an Apple Watch Edition try-on and made our way to the Apple Store. On the way, some guy even stops us on the street to ask if we have the gold Apple Watch. As we get to the store and walk around, we chat with some of the employees, their reactions were priceless as they thought we had the real Watch Edition. After having a little bit of fun we finally got to sit down and have a chance to try on the Watch Edition and compare it to our new gold plated Apple Watch.
At first glance, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference — the two watches are nearly identical. When analyzing them more in detail we did notice the gold plating had a slightly more yellow color, however we don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing.
Before you get any ideas — like trying to pawn off one of these as a $10,000 watch Edition on eBay — there are a couple key differences. The Edition watch is made out of solid gold and you can certainly tell the difference in weight, ours was much lighter. Not to mention the engraving on the back and the unique the charging box that's included with the Edition.
However even the Apple employee who gives the Watch Edition demos was impressed by our gold plated steel watch, but he did warn us that by doing this service we most likely voided our AppleCare warranty. We still think it’s worthwhile if you want a gold Apple Watch and don’t want to drop 10 grand.