Apple has always taken flak — rightfully or not — for acting like a luxury brand, pricing products at artificially high prices because its name carries weight. That concept is stretched to its breaking point with the Apple Watch, which comes in models that are priced as high as $17,000. Luxury brand or not, that’s a whole lot to fork out for a gadget, especially when the only discernible differences between the Sport and Edition models is the metal used and the band around the wearable.
As it turns out, forking over that extra dozen grand or so in cash isn’t even necessary to get the look of the fancier model. For the ingenious gold fanatic who wants some bling on their wrist while keeping cash in their pocket, there is a handy workaround, and its name is WatchPlate.
Related: Read our Apple Watch review
The new online service is dedicated to making you look like a million bucks … or $17,000. Whatever. It takes your current Apple Watch and gold plates it, giving it the look of the high-end versions of Apple’s smartwatch. Instead of shelling out thousands, WatchPlate charges just $400 for gold plating, and you don’t even have to pay for shipping.
Based out of Los Angeles, California, WatchPlate is accepting shipments from across the United States, plus international service for an additional fee and slightly longer turnaround time. For those in the U.S., the entire process will take just three business days. Shipping is done through FedEx, and the package is insured for the retail value of the Apple Watch.
The applied gold is genuine 24 karat, applied with a heavy coating of 35 microns. The industry standard is between five and six microns, according to WatchPlate. The company can also provide the new Rose Gold look by adding in copper to achieve the correct visual effect. While the thick coating should keep your Apple Watch shining for some time, WatchPlate will correct any imperfections for free within the first 30 days, then charge $200 for any additional gold-ifying that takes place after that.
Currently, WatchPlate is only performing its gold-dipped service on stainless steel bands. For owners of the Apple Watch Sport models, you’re stuck with your current look thanks to an unremovable non-conductive layer of material atop the aluminum base that makes it impossible to gold plate.
Of course, those with the Apple Watch Sport may be saving themselves some trouble. WatchPlate acknowledges there’s a chance that putting your Apple Watch through the gold plating process will void the warranty on the rest of the wearable. The process submerges the watch in three inches of fluid for 20 minutes, which is well within range of Apple’s waterproofing. However, the Cupertino company may not be thrilled that you’re messing around with its product. You probably don’t want to be the first one to find out if Apple will be welcoming of the new look.
If the Goldmember in you just can’t wait, though, pack up a FedEx box and place your order. If Apple rejects your changes and your Apple Watch stops ticking, you can maybe find respite in the fact that it’ll have a nice shine to it.