It’s been a wild and crazy week for the Apple Watch, but the best parts of Apple’s Spring Forward event this past Monday had little to do with the final details of the Watch at all, but rather the material and process videos behind how the watch even got there.

While many have been moaning about the cost of the Watch the past few days (yes, there is a market for a $10,000+ watch), others are busy trying to figure out whether Apple is turning itself into a luxury goods tech brand or if the Cupertino company already knows that an iPhone/Watch pairing will be a burden to many.

Despite any of the above chatter, there’s no denying that Apple has historically put together some of the best manufacturing process videos to date that – while much of the iterative design process is never revealed – highlight just how much thought goes into every stage of the design, engineering and manufacturing process – and not to mention of course, their marketing:

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“For Apple Watch Sport, we started with 7000 Series aluminum — the same used in competition bicycles. We altered it to create a new alloy that’s just as light, yet even more durable — it’s 60 percent stronger than most aluminum, and one-third the density of stainless steel. It has a bright, lustrous color and a uniform structure free of defects and impurities. Each case is machined and polished, then blasted with microscopic zirconia beads to achieve a consistent, satin texture. A special anodizing process creates a hard, clear outer layer that helps protect against scratches and corrosion.”

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“The strength and beauty of stainless steel have long made it a favorite material in fine timepieces. The stainless steel we created for Apple Watch is a modern expression of this tradition. We started with an alloy known for its durability and corrosion resistance. Then we made it even stronger. Through a specialized cold-forging process, it becomes up to 80 percent harder. This same stainless steel is used in the carefully engineered closures that allow Apple Watch to fit so precisely. And we added a diamond-like carbon layer to create the space black stainless steel case and matching band.”

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“Inspired by the inherent beauty of gold, we created Apple Watch Edition in 18-karat solid gold. Since it’s a soft metal, susceptible to nicks and scratches, our metallurgists engineered an entirely new alloy that’s up to twice as hard as standard gold. This allowed us to achieve the exact hues of yellow and rose gold we envisioned, without compromising on durability.”

For a full-explanation behind the craftsmanship behind the Apple Watch, Apple has setup an in-depth Apple Watch – Craftsmanship page that covers additional materials and processes including sapphire and Ion-X glass.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.