Call it a push into high fashion or a retail invasion. Apple Inc. is expanding its foothold in luxury department stores around the world. And the latest shop is coming to Japan, ahead of the highly anticipated launch of Apple Watch in April.
The Watch store, currently under construction in Shinjuku, Japan, is a boutique located within one of the country’s largest luxury department stores, Isetan. Passersby can't tell how the shop will look because there are protective black barriers around the space, bearing the Apple Watch logo and the words “Coming Soon,” according to Japanese blog Macotakara.
Apple is positioning the Watch against not only the smartwatches on the market but also fashion and luxury-brand timepieces from the likes of Cartier, which has a booth next to the Apple Watch shop location. The shop is one of three that have surfaced in luxury department stores in the past couple months -- there's one in the works at Selfridges in London and another going in at Galeries Lafayette in Paris.
All three are expected to open on April 10, the day Apple Watch previews and preorders begin. Other boutique shops such as Maxfield in Los Angeles and The Corner in Berlin are also expected to carry the much-anticipated wearable when it launches on April 24, according to Women’s Wear Daily.
Since the unveiling of the Apple Watch in September, Apple has heavily promoted the timepiece in fashion circles. It has appeared in glamour and fitness magazines around the world, including Vogue, Self and Chinese fashion magazine Yoho. And it also made an appearance at Parisian fashion boutique Colette, in conjunction with Paris Fashion Week.
The Apple Watch will start at $349 for the base aluminum 38mm Sport model and can go as high as $17,000 for the 18-karat gold Watch Edition, depending on band and size choices.