As Apple prepares premium-priced 'iPhone 8,' luxury smartphone maker Vertu collapses

Posted:
in iPhone edited July 2017
Premium smartphone maker Vertu, known for extremely expensive devices made with high-end materials, has announced it will no longer build handsets. The move comes as Apple is expected to release its most expensive iPhone ever, though not quite to the exorbitant prices Vertu charged.




The British brand, which was originally created by Nokia in 1998, will cease manufacturing as it begins to liquidate its assets, resulting in a loss of about 200 jobs. The company's owner plans to retain the Vertu brand, technology, and design licenses in an effort to potentially rebuild the company, according to the Financial Times.

Over the course of its nearly 20-year history, Vertu sold about a half-million phones, making it an extremely niche -- but still known -- brand, even amongst tech enthusiasts.

Perhaps most notably for iPhone users, Vertu used sapphire crystal screens on its handsets for superior scratch resistance. Apple famously inked a $578 million contract with sapphire maker GT Advanced in 2013 that led to speculation about sapphire-screened iPhones, but GT Advanced went under, and Apple only uses sapphire to cover its Touch ID fingerprint sensor and rear camera lenses.




AppleInsider spoke with Vertu's head of design and concept creation Hutch Hutchison back in 2014 about sapphire. The company's first luxury mobile phone from the 1990s, the Signature, featured sapphire crystal screens some 14 years before Apple reached a contract with GT Advanced.

More recently, Vertu used fifth-generation solid sapphire screen technology in its Constellation smartphone, which sold for $6,630. The company boasted that its display was "virtually impossible" to scratch, as the material used was second only to diamond in its hardness.

The collapse of Vertu occurred just as Apple is rumored to be moving even higher into premium pricing and materials with this year's flagship "iPhone 8" or "iPhone Pro." Reports have suggested that Apple could charge more than $1,000 for the entry-level price for the new handset, a cost justified by new technology and premium materials.




Recent speculation has gone even further, suggesting Apple could charge more than $1,200 for a flagship professional-grade "iPhone 8" with components that could not be produced in mass quantities, such as an edge-to-edge OLED display and advanced new 3D facial recognition camera.

For the mass market, Apple is also expected to introduce a new "iPhone 7s" series at traditional pricing levels matching that of the iPhone 7 lineup and predecessors. By sticking with legacy components, like an LCD display, Apple would be able to produce tens of millions of units to meet consumer demand, while the premium "iPhone 8" would be in limited quantities at a much higher price.

Still, even if the "iPhone 8" were to approach $1,500 with higher capacities, it would still be well below the levels Vertu products reached. For example, the Vertu Signature Touch started at $10,300 when it launched in 2014.




Apple did briefly dabble in high-end luxury with the launch of the first-generation Apple Watch Edition, which came in gold and started at $10,000, but went as high as $17,000. But with the second-generation Apple Watch Series 2, Apple course corrected and opted for a more affordable ceramic Apple Watch Edition, which carries a more palatable starting price of $1,249.

Given how short-lived Apple's foray into real gold lasted with the Apple Watch Edition, it's unlikely that the company is plotting a five-figure iPhone made from rare metals. Unlike Vertu, which embraced the excess in handsets, Apple instead offers its iPhone in faux gold and rose gold aluminum. Don't expect that to change to authentic gold anytime soon.
dysamoria
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 52
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,996member
    Man, that gold Apple Watch still looks great.
    jbdragon1983StrangeDaystgr1pscooter63chiagregoriusmnetmageleavingthebigguniscape
  • Reply 2 of 52
    titantigertitantiger Posts: 221member
    File under "Post hoc ergo propter hoc"
  • Reply 3 of 52
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 750editor
    File under "Post hoc ergo propter hoc"
    File under: "read too much into the headline, didn't read the article."
    anantksundaramwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 52
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,613member
    Apple's solid gold effort with the watch collapsed because it did not design for perpetual upgradeability of the watch case.  Very few people will want to buy a $10K bauble if it's useless after a few years.

    What they could have done was fix the design hard points as dictated by the case so that the screen, back cover, and internal components of future versions will fit the gold cases.   Luxury watches need to be shipped to a service center for an overhaul every 3-4 (?) years to stay on tip-top shape.  And it ain't a low cost service.   Apple could have had a similar scheme for the gold Apple Watch and have the overhaul done by the Genius Bar.  (And price it so that it only makes sense for gold watches.)

    But the loss of design flexibility resulting from fixing the watch's hard points (location of buttons and crown, shape of screen and back cover, internal component dimensions, etc.) into perpetuity was just not something Apple was willing to commit to.  Which in the high tech business is very understandable.
    edited July 2017 netmageanantksundaramksec
  • Reply 5 of 52
    "known for extremely expensive devices made with high-end materials"

    Except it ran Android.
    SpamSandwich1983calilkrupppscooter63chianetmageleavingthebiggdysamoriawatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 52
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 750editor
    "known for extremely expensive devices made with high-end materials"

    Except it ran Android.
    Even worse, it ran Nokia's Symbian until 2012.
    SpamSandwich1983gatorguypscooter63retrogustobb-15leavingthebiggdysamoriawatto_cobraPetrolDave
  • Reply 7 of 52
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,869member
    Sapphire screens aside, these phones were jewelry. Prices were not determined by features or technology, but the aesthetics and materials used on the outside.
    dysamoriawatto_cobraavon b7cornchip
  • Reply 8 of 52
    It's a shame. I just see it as a loss of 200 more jobs. Putting companies out of business is nothing to cheerily chirp about. I know big investors love to see their favorite companies putting other companies out of business but it's nothing to be all that happy about. I doubt one could say Apple put Vertu out of business. It's likely there wasn't that much of a market for smartphones that expensive and powered by Android which basically turns it into any other dirt-cheap Android smartphone on the market. It was a unique company and I'm sure it was difficult to keep running. Maybe poor management did the company in. Who knows? A company needs to be profitable but it's nice to know there are companies who try to uphold some standard of quality and everything can't be measured by high sales alone.
  • Reply 9 of 52
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,297member
    tundraboy said:
    Apple's solid gold effort with the watch collapsed because it did not design for perpetual upgradeability of the watch case.  Very few people will want to buy a $10K bauble if it's useless after a few years.

    What they could have done was fix the design hard points as dictated by the case so that the screen, back cover, and internal components of future versions will fit the gold cases.   Luxury watches need to be shipped to a service center for an overhaul every 3-4 (?) years to stay on tip-top shape.  And it ain't a low cost service.   Apple could have had a similar scheme for the gold Apple Watch and have the overhaul done by the Genius Bar.  (And price it so that it only makes sense for gold watches.)

    But the loss of design flexibility resulting from fixing the watch's hard points (location of buttons and crown, shape of screen and back cover, internal component dimensions, etc.) into perpetuity was just not something Apple was willing to commit to.  Which in the high tech business is very understandable.
    No, no, no. The gold watch didnt "collapse" at all. Cook said very clearly in the launch event -- this was a short-term, limited edition thing. It got maybe two-sentences, that was it. There's no reason to believe they planned on keeping it going since he said something specifically to the contrary at launch. It wasn't designed for upgrades or for practical people, it was designed for those so rich they don't care. Believe it or not but 10 grand is soda money to some people. In addition it generated major attention to the fledgling product, so I'm sure it served its purpose. (I also personally consider if it was a passion project for Ive, both a watch and materials guy).
    tgr1calipscooter63chiawatto_cobratransmastercornchipcolinng
  • Reply 10 of 52
    tundraboy said:
    Apple's solid gold effort with the watch collapsed because it did not design for perpetual upgradeability of the watch case.  Very few people will want to buy a $10K bauble if it's useless after a few years.

    What they could have done was fix the design hard points as dictated by the case so that the screen, back cover, and internal components of future versions will fit the gold cases.   Luxury watches need to be shipped to a service center for an overhaul every 3-4 (?) years to stay on tip-top shape.  And it ain't a low cost service.   Apple could have had a similar scheme for the gold Apple Watch and have the overhaul done by the Genius Bar.  (And price it so that it only makes sense for gold watches.)

    But the loss of design flexibility resulting from fixing the watch's hard points (location of buttons and crown, shape of screen and back cover, internal component dimensions, etc.) into perpetuity was just not something Apple was willing to commit to.  Which in the high tech business is very understandable.
    I think Apple should have provided some sort of internal upgrade path every couple of years for those higher-priced AppleWatches. Is it that difficult to put a new SoC board in an AppleWatch. The entire board would be relatively low in cost to the entire watch. I'd pay a thousand dollars every couple of years for an internal upgrade. That would have been a great service for Apple to provide for high-end AppleWatch owners. They could offer such a service for at least ten years.
  • Reply 11 of 52
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,507member
    tundraboy said:
    Apple's solid gold effort with the watch collapsed because it did not design for perpetual upgradeability of the watch case.  Very few people will want to buy a $10K bauble if it's useless after a few years.

    What they could have done was fix the design hard points as dictated by the case so that the screen, back cover, and internal components of future versions will fit the gold cases.   Luxury watches need to be shipped to a service center for an overhaul every 3-4 (?) years to stay on tip-top shape.  And it ain't a low cost service.   Apple could have had a similar scheme for the gold Apple Watch and have the overhaul done by the Genius Bar.  (And price it so that it only makes sense for gold watches.)

    But the loss of design flexibility resulting from fixing the watch's hard points (location of buttons and crown, shape of screen and back cover, internal component dimensions, etc.) into perpetuity was just not something Apple was willing to commit to.  Which in the high tech business is very understandable.
    I agree completely, and I’ve been saying that from the beginning. Apple should have thought this through. They must have been thinking about the second generation at the time the first was being designed. That had to be thinking about GPS and the larger battery. I simply can’t believe otherwise.

    since the second generation of case is slightly thicker, to accommodate the larger battery, Apple should have made the first generation case that size too. Then the insides could be interchangeable. I have no problem with everything else being the same, crown, buttons, etc. no one expects new models of mechanical watches to have interchangeable movements with different complications. I’ve got several well known mechanical watches, and they’re the same today as when I bought them. I don’t expect the manufacturers to replace everything other than the cases for me when they come out with a new model.

    but with smart watches, if the case is an expensive material such as gold or platinum, then it’s somewhat different. I can leave my watches in the draw, which I’ve increasingly done since buying the series 2, and know that I can take them to Tourneau for cleaning and adjustment, years later, for free, since I bought them there.

    but if I spent $10,000 to $17,000 for an Apple Watch, it would be different, knowing that that first gen design is missing a lot of what I would want later. It’s not just complications, but performance, which is something you don’t really worry about with an expensive mechanical design.

    if Apple made it so that the screen battery and electronics could be replaced every few years for new designs, then that watch might have sold better. And it might not have sold better, but we’ll never know.

    i bought the black SS model with the SS bracelet. It cost all of $1,100. That’s a lot to some people, and is absurdly cheap to others. I won’t buy a replacement for the watch this year, assuming Apple has another model, but I might next year, keeping the bracelet, and buying another black SS watch with a cheap band, and use my old bracelet. So it would just cost me another $550, and I can give the older model to my daughter, who doesn’t like watches, but who has expressed an interest. So Apple could sell these to people every few years for $269 to whatever without a problem, but not if it costs in the 6 figures.
    edited July 2017 netmage
  • Reply 12 of 52
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,946member
    I’m trying to understand the relevancy of this article to the subject at hand. First impression, from the headline and first paragraph, is that a premium phone maker has failed and so will Apple if it continues this course. Was that the purpose of this article? To warn Apple about its ‘overpriced’ hardware? Could the author of this piece explain the purpose of it?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 52
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,507member
    Vertu wasn’t a company that just sold crazy expensive mid level phones in extremely expensive cases. To be fair, it was more than that. The phones themselves were over the top, to be sure, but the point was also the concierge service it had. You could get almost everything through that. I’m not going to try to explain it here, but it was a major convenience for those who could afford it. Something like Siri, but with actual people doing the work. Was it worth it? I guess for those who could afford it, it was. But technology has bypassed a lot of this. And the phones were well behind everything else in technology.
    edited July 2017 watto_cobraPetrolDavecornchipcolinng
  • Reply 14 of 52
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,507member
    lkrupp said:
    I’m trying to understand the relevancy of this article to the subject at hand. First impression, from the headline and first paragraph, is that a premium phone maker has failed and so will Apple if it continues this course. Was that the purpose of this article? To warn Apple about its ‘overpriced’ hardware? Could the author of this piece explain the purpose of it?
    I doubt that was the point. The Vertu pricing started well beyond where Apple would be going. It’s just another interesting bit of history.
  • Reply 15 of 52
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    High end "luxury" brand running a knockoff OS.

    nhughes said:
    "known for extremely expensive devices made with high-end materials"

    Except it ran Android.
    Even worse, it ran Nokia's Symbian until 2012.

    The "worse" part wasn't that it ran an original OS it's that they didn't update the OS as a unique driving force in the market.

    tundraboy said:
    Apple's solid gold effort with the watch collapsed because it did not design for perpetual upgradeability of the watch case.  Very few people will want to buy a $10K bauble if it's useless after a few years.

    What they could have done was fix the design hard points as dictated by the case so that the screen, back cover, and internal components of future versions will fit the gold cases.   Luxury watches need to be shipped to a service center for an overhaul every 3-4 (?) years to stay on tip-top shape.  And it ain't a low cost service.   Apple could have had a similar scheme for the gold Apple Watch and have the overhaul done by the Genius Bar.  (And price it so that it only makes sense for gold watches.)

    But the loss of design flexibility resulting from fixing the watch's hard points (location of buttons and crown, shape of screen and back cover, internal component dimensions, etc.) into perpetuity was just not something Apple was willing to commit to.  Which in the high tech business is very understandable.

    Apple didn't make a lot of these so I'm sure they sold 100% of them.

    I'm really upset Apple stopped selling Edition Watches it pisses me off every time it's brought up. It was extra money for Apple and placed the Watch in a market only Apple can attain, No one would buy a Fitbit for 1,000+ let alone 500+. And like someone else said, some people can actually afford $15,000 Watches.

    The "lack of upgrade" argument doesn't work for the wealthy either.

    and to the poster who said Edition Watches became "useless". How the heck do you figure that? They're still in use and still work. Why don't you apply this logic to mechanical watches made of gold? They're still worth the same after years of only telling time. How's that for "useless". 
    pscooter63chiawatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 52
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 750editor
    lkrupp said:
    I’m trying to understand the relevancy of this article to the subject at hand. First impression, from the headline and first paragraph, is that a premium phone maker has failed and so will Apple if it continues this course. Was that the purpose of this article? To warn Apple about its ‘overpriced’ hardware? Could the author of this piece explain the purpose of it?
    A high-profile smartphone maker is exiting the business. That's news to Apple fans, even if Vertu was not exactly a serious Apple competitor.

    Our goal at AI is to always present stories in a way that allows readers, both casual and devoted alike, to put the news in a proper context. This is why the story today on a new Amazon Echo mentions the Apple HomePod in the headline. Or why the latest story on "Baby Driver" audio being edited on set with Avid in macOS mentions the specific hardware (a 15-inch MacBook Pro) in the headline. Know your audience, as the saying goes.

    For the purposes of this story, a premium-priced smartphone maker is exiting the business, at a time when Apple is rumored to be pushing more into premium territory. It's contextually interesting, even if the two news items are not directly related. The story itself (including the last line of the opening paragraph) makes it clear that Apple will not be selling a $10,000 iPhone.
    edited July 2017 retrogustopscooter63netmagebb-15watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 52
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,507member
    cali said:
    High end "luxury" brand running a knockoff OS.

    nhughes said:
    "known for extremely expensive devices made with high-end materials"

    Except it ran Android.
    Even worse, it ran Nokia's Symbian until 2012.

    The "worse" part wasn't that it ran an original OS it's that they didn't update the OS as a unique driving force in the market.

    tundraboy said:
    Apple's solid gold effort with the watch collapsed because it did not design for perpetual upgradeability of the watch case.  Very few people will want to buy a $10K bauble if it's useless after a few years.

    What they could have done was fix the design hard points as dictated by the case so that the screen, back cover, and internal components of future versions will fit the gold cases.   Luxury watches need to be shipped to a service center for an overhaul every 3-4 (?) years to stay on tip-top shape.  And it ain't a low cost service.   Apple could have had a similar scheme for the gold Apple Watch and have the overhaul done by the Genius Bar.  (And price it so that it only makes sense for gold watches.)

    But the loss of design flexibility resulting from fixing the watch's hard points (location of buttons and crown, shape of screen and back cover, internal component dimensions, etc.) into perpetuity was just not something Apple was willing to commit to.  Which in the high tech business is very understandable.

    Apple didn't make a lot of these so I'm sure they sold 100% of them.

    I'm really upset Apple stopped selling Edition Watches it pisses me off every time it's brought up. It was extra money for Apple and placed the Watch in a market only Apple can attain, No one would buy a Fitbit for 1,000+ let alone 500+. And like someone else said, some people can actually afford $15,000 Watches.

    The "lack of upgrade" argument doesn't work for the wealthy either.

    and to the poster who said Edition Watches became "useless". How the heck do you figure that? They're still in use and still work. Why don't you apply this logic to mechanical watches made of gold? They're still worth the same after years of only telling time. How's that for "useless". 
    You’re wrong about the wealthy’s look at lack of upgrades. I could actually afford that gold edition, but I didn’t see it as being useful, or well thought out. I’m sure people bought it as a collector’s item. But at the heart of it is electronics, and people with money look at electronics differently than mechanical devices, just as most people do.

    when I bought the mechanical watches I have, I thought of the effort and skills that went into designing and making them. I thought of the amazing precision of the hands of those watchmakers. I thought of the complexity of the movements, and how incredible it was that such things could be made, and actually work so reliably. I thought of the reputations of those manufacturers, and how they invented such delicate devices to overcome the inherent obstacles to keeping time in a small mechanical device subject to the daily swings and bangs they receive. I thought of the beauty of the engraving on the usually hidden movements, or of the wonderful designs of the cases.

    when I looked at the Apple Edition, I thought of almost none of that, because other than the external design, which, unlike some others, I do think is wonderful in its own way, I saw nothing to value it at such prices, considering that Apple said nothing about possible future upgrades. When, before it came out, it was thought to cost from $3,000, which I thought unrealistic, to $5,000, which I thought possible, I was going to buy the Edition. For $5,000, I was willing to take the chance, but not for 5 figures!
    edited July 2017 anantksundaram
  • Reply 18 of 52
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,645member
    melgross said:
    cali said:
    High end "luxury" brand running a knockoff OS.

    nhughes said:
    "known for extremely expensive devices made with high-end materials"

    Except it ran Android.
    Even worse, it ran Nokia's Symbian until 2012.

    The "worse" part wasn't that it ran an original OS it's that they didn't update the OS as a unique driving force in the market.

    tundraboy said:
    Apple's solid gold effort with the watch collapsed because it did not design for perpetual upgradeability of the watch case.  Very few people will want to buy a $10K bauble if it's useless after a few years.

    What they could have done was fix the design hard points as dictated by the case so that the screen, back cover, and internal components of future versions will fit the gold cases.   Luxury watches need to be shipped to a service center for an overhaul every 3-4 (?) years to stay on tip-top shape.  And it ain't a low cost service.   Apple could have had a similar scheme for the gold Apple Watch and have the overhaul done by the Genius Bar.  (And price it so that it only makes sense for gold watches.)

    But the loss of design flexibility resulting from fixing the watch's hard points (location of buttons and crown, shape of screen and back cover, internal component dimensions, etc.) into perpetuity was just not something Apple was willing to commit to.  Which in the high tech business is very understandable.

    Apple didn't make a lot of these so I'm sure they sold 100% of them.

    I'm really upset Apple stopped selling Edition Watches it pisses me off every time it's brought up. It was extra money for Apple and placed the Watch in a market only Apple can attain, No one would buy a Fitbit for 1,000+ let alone 500+. And like someone else said, some people can actually afford $15,000 Watches.

    The "lack of upgrade" argument doesn't work for the wealthy either.

    and to the poster who said Edition Watches became "useless". How the heck do you figure that? They're still in use and still work. Why don't you apply this logic to mechanical watches made of gold? They're still worth the same after years of only telling time. How's that for "useless". 
    You’re wrong about the wealthy’s look at lack of upgrades. I could actually afford that gold edition, but I didn’t see it as being useful, or well thought out. I’m sure people bought it as a collector’s item. But at the heart of it is electronics, and people with money look at electronics differently than mechanical devices, just as most people do.

    when I bought the mechanical watches I have, I thought of the effort and skills that went into designing and making them. I thought of the amazing precision of the hands of those watchmakers. I thought of the complexity of the movements, and how incredible it was that such things could be made, and actually work so reliably. I thought of the reputations of those manufacturers, and how they invented such delicate devices to overcome the inherent obstacles to keeping time in a small mechanical device subject to the daily swings and bangs they receive. I thought of the beauty of the engraving on the usually hidden movements, or of the wonderful designs of the cases.

    when I looked at the Apple Edition, I thought of almost none of that, because other than the external design, which, unlike some others, I do think is wonderful in its own way, I saw nothing to value it at such prices, considering that Apple said nothing about possible future upgrades. When, before it came out, it was thought to cost from $3,000, which I thought unrealistic, to $5,000, which I thought possible, I was going to buy the Edition. For $5,000, I was willing to take the chance, but not for 5 figures!
    Edition was never more than a savvy, one time marketing move to change the conversation about what watches could look like as a fashion accessory. That fact that you even mulled over the purchase means that you were never part of the target audience. The target market looked at this as a disposable trinket, never to be upraded, or even worn more than a few times, though obviously there are collectors who picked them up.
    StrangeDaysSpamSandwichcolinng
  • Reply 19 of 52
    bb-15bb-15 Posts: 252member
    tundraboy said:
    Apple's solid gold effort with the watch collapsed because it did not design for perpetual upgradeability of the watch case.  Very few people will want to buy a $10K bauble if it's useless after a few years.

    What they could have done was fix the design hard points as dictated by the case so that the screen, back cover, and internal components of future versions will fit the gold cases.   Luxury watches need to be shipped to a service center for an overhaul every 3-4 (?) years to stay on tip-top shape.  And it ain't a low cost service.   Apple could have had a similar scheme for the gold Apple Watch and have the overhaul done by the Genius Bar.  (And price it so that it only makes sense for gold watches.)

    But the loss of design flexibility resulting from fixing the watch's hard points (location of buttons and crown, shape of screen and back cover, internal component dimensions, etc.) into perpetuity was just not something Apple was willing to commit to.  Which in the high tech business is very understandable.
    No, no, no. The gold watch didnt "collapse" at all. Cook said very clearly in the launch event -- this was a short-term, limited edition thing. It got maybe two-sentences, that was it. There's no reason to believe they planned on keeping it going since he said something specifically to the contrary at launch. It wasn't designed for upgrades or for practical people, it was designed for those so rich they don't care. Believe it or not but 10 grand is soda money to some people. In addition it generated major attention to the fledgling product, so I'm sure it served its purpose. (I also personally consider if it was a passion project for Ive, both a watch and materials guy).
    Agreed about the Apple Watch Edition being a one time item.
    Also, another thing which counters the argument that Apple should have kept the AW Edition going for ten years with continual upgrades, this made no sense for a couple of reasons;
    1. The AW Edition was exactly the same as regular Apple Watches except that it was gold. This made the value of the AW Edition extremely limited. It wasn't a special item except for the gold material. 
    2. Companies like WatchPlate can cover an Apple Watch with gold for under $500. Once gold plating Apple Watches happened, the market for the gold AW Edition was over. 
  • Reply 20 of 52
    zimmiezimmie Posts: 211member
    when I bought the mechanical watches I have, I thought of the effort and skills that went into designing and making them. I thought of the amazing precision of the hands of those watchmakers. I thought of the complexity of the movements, and how incredible it was that such things could be made, and actually work so reliably. I thought of the reputations of those manufacturers, and how they invented such delicate devices to overcome the inherent obstacles to keeping time in a small mechanical device subject to the daily swings and bangs they receive. I thought of the beauty of the engraving on the usually hidden movements, or of the wonderful designs of the cases.

    This is why mechanical watches aren't really going anywhere. Quartz watches have totally outclassed them in every conceivable metric for decades. Today, people buy mechanical watches as works of art which you can wear. They are among the pinnacles of precision we as a species have attained.

    I am disappointed to see that Vertu is shutting down. While I'm not a fan of the software they used (either Android or Symbian), they made some devices which appeal to that "How amazing could we make this with unrestricted budget?" part of my brain. I mean, they used synthetic sapphire bearings for the buttons! Ceramics and steel and more sapphire all over the surface. They're ridiculously impractical, but extremely interesting from an engineering perspective.
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