Piper Jaffray pegs stainless steel Apple Watch price at $499, Edition at $4,999
Investment firm Piper Jaffray issued a report on Monday breaking down expected Apple Watch average selling prices, saying an aggregate of consumers will likely spend closer to $550 on the device, considering case and internal storage options.
Building off Apple's quoted starting price of $349, analyst Gene Munster anticipates combined Apple Watch ASPs to fall closer to $550, or $575 to $600 including additional bands.
Apple Watch will come in three separate price tiers — Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition — each series including two display sizes and a variety of strap choices.
Starting with Apple Watch Sport, the aluminum and glass version widely thought to be the least expensive model, Munster expects an ASP of $450 after factoring in configuration alternatives like case and internal storage options.
The stainless steel Apple Watch model, which also features a more expensive sapphire glass cover, is expected to start at $499 to $549, again depending on customizable features. Munster sees an overall ASP at around $650 for the mid-tier Watch series.
On the high end, the analyst forecasts base model Apple Watch Edition devices to start at $4,999, but classifies segment ASP closer to $7,500 after adding in straps made from precious metals.
Based on current pricing for Apple's silicon iPhone 6 cases, which come in at $35, Munster sees elastomer Apple Watch straps to start in a similar $29 to $35 range, while leather bands could be priced between $49 to $59. Pricing for metal bands like the link bracelet and Milanese loop are more difficult to determine, but the analyst believes steel versions will come in at $99, while gold bands could be priced into the thousands of dollars.
"If you assume that 55 percent of bands purchased are elastomer, 35 percent leather, 10 percent steel, and about 5,000 total gold bands are sold, the average band ASP could be around $50," Munster writes.
He added that if half of all Watch buyers purchase a band — assuming 8 million Watches are sold in 2015 — the accessory range would add $25 to Apple's watch category, equating to a $575 ASP. If every Watch customer purchases an extra strap, it would tack on $50, bringing ASP up to $600.
The lower-cost Sport model is expected to make up 55 percent of overall Watch sales, while the mid-tier Apple Watch will take another 45 percent. That leaves very little room for Apple Watch Edition, but Munster believes Apple might sell roughly 10,000 units this year. In an interesting comparison, the firm calculates that Apple Watch Edition business could equate to about two percent of luxury watchmaker Rolex, which moves between 600,000 to 750,000 units each year.
Finally, Munster expects Apple to reveal a better sense of device pricing at its March 9 event, as well as highlight "special features" to drum up consumer interest ahead of release.
AppleInsider will be covering the "Spring forward" event live from San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center next week.