The Oura Ring was one of the buzziest gadgets during the pandemic. Not only did it spark a weird sleep competition between Gwyneth Paltrow and Kim Kardashian, but it was also featured in the NBA’s COVID prevention plans, and there were several studies to see whether wearables could predict COVID-19. And now, there’s a Gucci version that costs an eye-watering $950.
The Gucci x Oura Ring is made out of “black synthetic corundum” detailed with a braided border and an 18-karat gold Gucci G. It weighs four grams, and the band measures 0.3 inches thick. Other than the luxe design, this is basically the same as the “regular” $299 Oura Ring Generation 3. The main benefit of the Gucci version is that it comes with a lifetime membership. Starting with the Gen 3 ring, Oura began charging a $6 monthly fee for its services. (You can still use the ring without a subscription, but you’re limited to the most basic metrics.)
The Oura Ring itself is a niche tracker. Unlike smartwatches and other wrist-based fitness trackers, its primary focus is recovery and sleep. Users receive three scores daily for sleep, activity, and “readiness,” a measure of how well their body has recovered based on heart rate variation and other factors.
It might seem bizarre to launch an even more luxe version of what was already considered an expensive gadget, but it starts to make a bit more sense when you look at Oura’s high-profile clientele and what other luxury brands have done in this space. Celebrities like Prince Harry, Jennifer Aniston, and Diplo have been spotted wearing the gadget, as have numerous athletes and even former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. (It was also featured in an episode of HBO Max’s And Just Like That… ). What do celebrities tend to like? Spending an absurd amount of money on luxury fashion brands, if every Pinterest board dedicated to the looks on Keeping Up with the Kardashians is any indication. Other luxe brands like Louis Vuitton and Montblanc have also dabbled in expensive Wear OS smartwatches that feature their signature styles.
Fashion has a certain hold in the wearable space. Because you have to actually wear these devices, the design aesthetic ranks pretty high when customers are deciding which wearable to buy. But betting heavily on wearables as a luxury item hasn’t worked out. Apple famously released a $10,000 18-karat gold version of its Apple Watch in 2015. It was discontinued a year later. While celebrities shelled out for that device, Apple’s broader wearable success didn’t take off until it pivoted away from luxury sensibilities to health and fitness.
Honestly, this collaboration is most likely Oura and Gucci scratching each other’s backs. Gucci gets to seem technologically savvy and future-oriented. Oura continues to benefit from that “it factor” that helped it obtain a $2.5 billion valuation in April after selling a million rings. Just don’t expect to see anyone other than a celebrity wearing this in the wild.