"I think some of those collaborations have been good for both brands, because it elevates some of these long-term heritage brands to a new level of technological synergy that can help them get younger customers," said Roseanne Morrison, fashion director at The Doneger Group.
Apple also took a more straightforward approach at capturing the luxury market when it released a limited-edition 18-karat gold watch that set consumers back more than $10,000, a price point that rivaled that of a Rolex. The watch was discontinued in 2016, with the company moving to solely ceramic casing.
But with the advent of the smart watch, technological capability is starting to overtake craftsmanship in terms of what buyers are looking for, said Ella Hudson, senior editor of footwear and accessories at WGSN. She said the fall of exports of quartz watches is a sign that consumers are looking past traditional luxury watches, and smart watches are capturing a greater portion of the market.
"That's what makes Apple's collaboration with Hermès so interesting," she wrote in an email to CNBC. "The two are experts in their own distinct yet complimentary fields, thereby offering the consumer the best of both technological and traditional craftsmanship.
A representative from Hermès declined to speak on the record about the company's partnership with Apple.
"I think what Apple brought to the table was the idea of partnering with luxury brands that would appeal to both [tech and fashion] audiences," said Lopez. "Having said that, I think everyone else looked at that and said I don't want to be in the low-cost market."
Other tech companies have followed Apple's lead in trying to use fashion to sell wearables. FitBit has partnered with designers like Vera Wang and Tory Burch to make their watches more appealing. Google's Wear OS can be found on watches designed by brands like Kate Spade, Michael Kors and Emporio Armani.
Compared to a collaboration like Kate Spade's new touchscreen watch, which runs on Android, a fashion house's influence on the Apple Watch can seem almost inconsequential. For designers interested in the Watch beyond its band, Apple doesn't leave much room to play. Its consistent in-house design standards have minimized the waves the company has been able to make in the fashion world, argued Doneger's Morrison.
"You don't hear about it, you don't read about it," said Morrison. "It's not something that's influential in how people are buying."