First images of a gold plated Apple Watch

Gold Plated Apple Watch

IMPORTANT MESSAGE: Apple Watch Plating: Five Questions You Need To Ask

It’s been eight months since Apple revealed their intent to market a smart watch to the world.  During that time, our team at Metal Arts Specialties (owners of Artisan Plating) formed a joint venture with The Time Preserve team to research the proposed Apple design. Once we were certain that Apple was in fact serious about offering a 18kt gold watch, we decided to offer a 18kt gold plated version for the stainless steel watch cases and bands.

Several of our customers contacted us to see if we could gold plate their stainless steel Apple watch once they received them. Since Metal Arts Specialties electroplates more stainless steel watches than any company in the U.S, our base technical knowledge and the talented team of from The Time preserve plating could combine our skills and successfully gold plate the new Apple Watch.

However, we never assume anything and needed to be prepared.

stainless steel apple watch before gold plating
Before: Reverse side of stainless steel Apple watch.

Gold plating Apple watches: “Victory loves preparation”

Like everyone else over the last several months, our joint venture team collected and evaluated as much background on the Apple watch including all of the conjecture, rumors, alleged bootleg drawings and exploded views from credible and dubious sources on the web.

We reviewed and evaluated the information from a perspective of precious metal plating onto a 316L stainless steel metal.  We already understand how to safely electroplate 316L stainless steel, so our primary focus was to achieve a good color match to the 18kt yellow gold and 18kt rose gold watches being offered by Apple.

We sent a small team from the Time Preserve and Metal Arts Specialties to visit a few of the Apple stores. We all wanted to get an accurate look at the 18kt gold alloys being used on the watch case. We also got some of our team members to order their Apple Watches during the wee small hours of the morning it went on sale online.

Stainless steel Apple Watches are beautiful but not cosmetically perfect, yet….

We received our first Apple stainless steel watches early afternoon on 4-24-15. As you can imagine, the packages were eagerly opened in our inspection area by our team members. Everyone noticed the special packaging and care that Apple used to enhance the customer experience. Once opened, we discovered some of the Apple Watch cases were not cosmetically perfect.

Since the electroplating process does not conceal surface defects, a few noticeable scratches had to be removed on three of the Apple Watch cases. Any one who works with 316L stainless steel knows that this is not for the faint of heart, nor is it an easy process! In our joint team meetings over the past several we weeks we anticipated that surface scratches would be an issue. They were expertly removed by one of the skilled technicians at The Time Preserve. After all, one of the Apple watches was his watch anyway.

In advance of the arrival of the new Apple watch, our joint project team had already qualified the plating processes we would be use to gold plate the Apple watch case, strap hardware and buckles. With some last minute tweaking, we were now ready to gold plate the new stainless steel Apple watch!

Being a green, sustainable plating shop, no nickel or toxic chemicals are used. Our gold plating baths are non-cyanide and safe for our workers. Normally as the managing director I have a hard time convincing people to work late on a Friday evening, not this time! Our entire joint venture project team from The Time Preserve and Metal Arts Specialties were here to witness this historic event!

gold plated Apple watch.
After: Top side of stainless steel Apple watch plated with 18kt gold.

The results? Gorgeous and durable

We chose the Apple stainless steel classic watch with a black leather band as the first design to be gold plated. The pictures of the gold plated stainless steel watch being shown here is an exact 18kt color match.

Notice that it is a bit paler in color for a traditional 18kt gold?  This is understandable since Apple used palladium as part of the 18kt gold in the watch case their alloy. Besides making it more dent and wear resistant, this gold alloy has a rich and distinctive yellow color.

For the Apple purist, having the correct color match is an important detail.

If not done correctly, the gold plating will not match the original and will look like a cheap knockoff. There are plenty examples of “cobalt hardened” gold plated jewelry that looks absolutely appalling. The heavy 18kt gold plating we used is a perfect match.

When used over the hard 316L stainless steel watch case and buckles, our type of military-grade gold plating won’t peel and will be very dent resistant. It looks authentic and is also a very hard 18kt gold plating.

gold plated Apple watch
After: Stainless steel Apple watch plated with 18kt gold.

The eight month journey has ended, or maybe not?

Our joint team from Metal Arts Specialties and The Time Preserve were very satisfied with the results of the gold plated Apple Watch. It looks great with the black leather band.

As we said victory loves preparation, which was a big part of being able to gold plate the Apple watch five hours after receiving it (4-24-15). In the next successive days we will be posting additional pictures of the Apple Watch™ with the Milanese band as well as the linked band.

We will be offering some examples of Apple stainless steel watches plated in White gold (rhodium), Dark ruthenium, Palladium and 18kt Rose gold.

Not all Apples are golden but yours can be.

Give us a call and we will make your stainless steel watch Apple delicious! Ready to order now? Download our Apple Watch® Customer Care Kit.

gold plated Apple watch 360 view
360 view of a gold plated stainless steel Apple watch

*Apple Watch® is a registered trademark of Apple incorporated. Our company’s information is not sponsored by, endorsed or affiliated with Apple incorporated. All images contained in this article are property of Metal Arts Specialties LLC.

Metal Arts Specialties

+1 (248) 821-3450