The $10,000 Apple Watch Edition is obviously for the high-end consumer. Even with 18-karat gold (and with how little gold Apple is actually putting into the watches), the profit margins could be anywhere from three to seven thousand dollars per watch sold. Clearly, a cost-benefit analysis isn’t really factoring in with potential buyers. But how exorbitant could an Apple watch get if it was made with fictional/ridiculous materials?
First off, we would need to know how much gold Apple is using in each watch. Given that their 18-karat gold only needs to contain 75 percent gold, the amount might range anywhere from half a troy ounce to two troy ounces. That’s the weight we need to multiply with our material costs to get some kind of comparison.
So what if you need a watch that can absorb vibrations and totally make Agent Phil Coulson love you even more?
The main component of Captain America’s famous shield (it has a bit of adamantium mixed in), vibranium is an extremely rare and durable metal found in Wakanda. According to Fantastic Four #607, this rarity comes with a hefty price tag — $10,000 per gram.
An Apple watch made two troy ounces of vibranium would then cost around $620,000. You could buy 478 new Macbooks for that money.
In the film Avatar, humans are exploring and strip-mining whole worlds just to get at a mineral dubbed “unobtanium.” In scientific and engineering circles, the term is used to describe some extremely rare or even fictional material needed for a project or calculation. In Avatar, it’s a room-temperature superconductor (superconductors normally must be super-chilled). That’s a holy grail in modern physics, priced in the movie at $20,000,000 per kilogram, or $20,000 per gram.
An Apple watch that would make even Jake Sully jealous would cost $1,200,000.
Maybe Cap’s finest and Avatar‘s obsession aren’t good enough for you. Maybe you need a watch made with material that could bring Superman to his knees. According to Superman #331, radioactive pieces of an exploded planet cost less than radium, radioactive element 88 on the periodic table.
Radium was discovered by Marie Curie and Pierre Curie in 1898, and though it had almost no commercial use, the element was only available in infinitesimal amounts, which caused a price spike in 1908 to $88,000 per gram. Remember, a gram is about the mass of a paperclip. However, as radium fell out of favor in medicine (it caused serious health effects in patients looking for cancer treatment, like cancer) and mines opened up to meet demand, the price eventually fell to as low as $25,000 per gram.
Your kryptonite-infused Apple watch would run for a cool $1,500,000, or the theoretical profits for Apple on just 221 gold watches. But back at 1908 prices, that watch would skyrocket to $5,500,000. You could wear one and call yourself “Luxury Luthor” if you wanted to. I would want to.
The material that might cost the most isn’t fictional at all. Antimatter, basically regular matter with an opposite charge, is exceedingly expensive to produce. You need particle accelerators to do the work of smashing positrons (electrons with the opposite charge) and negatively charged protons together. Physicists have indeed created antimatter in the lab, but in atoms, not grams, at a time. One widely cited estimate puts antimatter’s value at $62.5 trillion per gram.
The Apple Watch (Antimatter) Edition would cost around 3.8 quadrillion dollars — 3,240 times the monetary value of all the US currency on Earth.
Oh, and the instant that amount of antimatter was put in contact with the watch during production (or any matter), it would annihilate with the energy of 1,000,000 tons of TNT. Nothing makes an impression like exploding the equivalent of 64 Little Boy atomic bombs for a timepiece.