The Apple Watch Arrives in Stores (Just Not Its Own)

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The Apple Watch Arrives in Stores (Just Not Its Own)
Rumors of the Apple Watch's unavailability have, it turns out, been slightly, if not greatly, exaggerated.

In further evidence of the smartwatch's positioning as a fashion accessory, as opposed to a tech gadget, while the product may not be in Apple  stores to purchase on its official release day of Friday, select destination fashion boutiques around the world have their own stock, and will be offering the watch for sale at the end of the week.

Dover Street Market in Tokyo and London (but not in New York), Maxfield in Los Angeles, Colette in Paris, the Corner in Berlin and 10 Corso Como in Milan are all "official" stockists of the watch. And, most are advertising it as "in-store 4.24.15" on their home pages.

This is not a closely guarded secret: In March, Apple actually listed the fashion boutiques where its product would initially be sold. But, of course, in the frenzy to fulfill orders through Apple's own retail channels, the company hasn't been in a rush to remind customers that the Apple Watch could be bought elsewhere.

Indeed, Apple's head of retail, Angela Ahrendts, has said repeatedly that initially the watch would be sold exclusively online, for deliveries that will begin Friday, and that the watch would not be sold inside stores before June. But it turns out she meant Apple's own stores.

(Also see:  NDTV News, Now on Your Apple Watch)

When it comes to the other stores, the choice is revealing: All globally renowned among fashion cognoscenti as retail trendsetters, their seal of approval is widely seen as a sign that a designer has arrived. Or, in this case, an object.

Asked about their Apple offering, Carla Sozzani, the owner of 10 Corso Como, responded that all communications were supposed to go through Apple. (Apple executives declined to comment.) Sozzani did acknowledge, however, that she has been wearing an Apple Watch with the Milanese chain band, and she is now a fan (previously she favored a Georg Jensen Vivianna watch).

Adrian Joffe, the chief executive of Dover Street Market, said the company would have approximately 350 Apple Watches in its Ginza store and 570 in London - though consumers in search of the gold Edition versions (with prices starting at $10,000, roughly Rs. 6 lakhs) may be disappointed, as they are on back order.

In any case, Joffe said, as far as the stock the company does have, "Judging by the calls, I don't think it will last long."

© 2015 New York Times News Service

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