Apple Replica Watch and Selfridges

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Customers try out the Apple Replica Watch in the new designated Selfridges area in London

Apple’s partnership with Selfridges has the potential to alter the face of technology retail forever, says Rhiannon Williams. When is a replica watch not a watch? When it’s the potential multi-million money spinner brainchild of the most powerful company in the world. It’s been a long seven months since Apple chief executive Tim Cook first unveiled the Apple Replica Watches during an event in San Francisco, putting an end to years of rumours and speculation. The smartwatch, which allows its wearer to send and receive emails and texts, field phone calls and track their health and fitness through a series of sensors, is “the most personal device we’ve ever made, because it’s the first one designed to be worn.”

Yesterday London’s Selfridges played host to hundreds of curious shoppers craning their necks to get closer to Apple’s first original product since the iPad in 2010. But, in a uniquely Apple turn of events, they weren’t even customers eager to hand over their cold hard cash – they just wanted to look at it. The device won’t actually go on full sale until April 24; until then, potential owners can make appointments at Selfridges or Apple stores be talked through the Replica Watch’s features by trained staff and, if they’re lucky, try it on.

The Apple Replica Watch rubs shoulders with Replica Cartier, Fake Swiss Rolex and other behemoths of the luxury timepiece world in a corner of Selfridge’s luxury Wonder Room, a neo-classical hall filled with premium jewellery and replica watches. A long, wooden bench with hollowed-out glass covered centre containing the three Replica Watch collections – the Apple Watch Sport, standard Apple Watch and the luxury replica watch Edition – is flanked by tall potted trees, lending the space the feeling of an atrium.

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The Replica Watch collections are housed under glass set within a long wooden bench

The calm and collected crowd milling around are a world away from the whoops and hollers of the 1,000 people who queued for the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus at the Covent Garden store alone last September. This is no accident – it came as a personal directive from Apple’s senior vice president of retail and online sales Angela Ahrendts. The former head of Burberry told retail staff that the days of waiting in line and crossing fingers for a product “are over for our customers,” according to an internal memo leaked earlier this week.

Ahrendts suggests workers direct customers online to pre-order their Fake Watches in a “significant change of mindset”, which could put an end to the days of diehard fans camping outside stores across the world to be among the first to own the latest iPhone, iPad or iPod.

Apple Replica Watch review: object of desire

Apple’s decision to partner with Selfridges is an interesting one. The department store announced record operating profits of £150m in November for the year ending December 2013, as sales rose 10.4pc to £1.2bn, largely driven by rapid online growth. Ahrendts’ strategy to do away with placing pre-orders instore and pushing customers online is a smart one – it makes a visit to their bricks-and-mortar stores a conscious retail decision; like opting to dip into Harrods or a museum. Not that this renewed focus of luxury and premium lifestyle – with a price to match – has put shoppers off.

Jack Summers is in London for his Easter break from boarding school in Switzerland, and chose to place a pre-order for the 42mm Sports model. “It’s an embellishment to your iPhone,” he tells me. “It’s the future. It might be a bit clunky to begin with, but in a few years, everyone will have one.”

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16 year old Jack Summers casts an eye over the selection

Dominic Meister, who is also visiting the UK from Switzerland, plans to travel to France to buy his model of choice in two weeks’ time, as the Fake Watch sale is expected to be delayed in Switzerland over an alleged patent dispute. “I have an iPod, an iPhone, a Mac, pretty much everything,” he said. “I think I’ll get the Sport version with the black strap, as it goes with everything and I find the normal Apple Replica Watch to be a little heavy.”

These are the Apple faithful, the true fans who keep a close eye on everything the company does. I catch sight of Sam Sheik, a softly-spoken young man I last met at the head of the iPhone 6 queue last year. “I won’t pre-order, I’d rather go to the Apple store and queue for the first day,” he says. “I love the gold one (the Edition, starting from £8,000) but it’s quite expensive, so I don’t think I can afford it right now.”

Dominic Meister, who is also visiting the UK from Switzerland, plans to travel to France to buy his model of choice in two weeks’ time, as the Watch sale is expected to be delayed in Switzerland over an alleged patent dispute. “I have an iPod, an iPhone, a Mac, pretty much everything,” he said. “I think I’ll get the Sport version with the black strap, as it goes with everything and I find the normal Apple Replica Watch to be a little heavy.”

These are the Apple faithful, the true fans who keep a close eye on everything the company does. I catch sight of Sam Sheik, a softly-spoken young man I last met at the head of the iPhone 6 queue last year. “I won’t pre-order, I’d rather go to the Apple store and queue for the first day,” he says. “I love the gold one (the Edition, starting from £8,000) but it’s quite expensive, so I don’t think I can afford it right now.”

Neiman Marcus Now Selling Vintage Replica Watches

Neiman Marcus is now in the vintage replica watch game. The Dallas-based luxury department store has teamed up with Crown & Caliber, a startup specializing in consignment sales of pre-owned replica watches. From today, it is offering vintage and pre-owned replica watches at its online store, as well as at a pair of retail locations in Newport Beach, Calif., and Atlanta, where C&C is based. Crown & Caliber started in 2012 and brokers sales between buyers and sellers of pre-owned replica watches. If you’re looking to buy a vintage fake watch, the experience is as straightforward as it gets: You go to the website, browse the selection, and buy something that interests you. This is the kind of experience you’ll find online at Neiman Marcus.

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Only two Neiman Marcus locations will offer replica watches in-store. The rest of the program is online, for now.

What sets Crown & Caliber apart is how it interacts with sellers. If you want to offload a swiss watch, they’ll appraise it, fully service it (so it’s in top condition for potential buyers), and then agree to get you a minimum value if it sells. Typical consignment game. The bonus here is if it doesn’t sell after an agreed-upon time, you get your watch back in better condition than when you turned it over to C&C.

Trade-Ins Welcome

Although more than 90 percent of C&C’s business comes via consignment, they’ll also buy replica watches outright—which leads to an unusual and exciting trade-in policy at the two Neiman Marcus retail locations. Sales associates will be equipped with a proprietary app that lets them snap a photo and send details of a customer’s fake watch back to Crown & Caliber for quick appraisal. An offer is then sent to the associate, and the customer can trade the watch in for a Neiman Marcus gift card. So if you’re done with that old Replica Rolex or Breitling, you’ll be able to swap it for a new raincoat and some spring ties to go with a (non-navy) blue suit, or buy some opal jewelry and a sexy pantsuit for her. Or you can opt for a different replica watch.

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Replica Watches range from vintage finds to pre-owned modern pieces.

Vintage replica watches have been available for years at Bergdorf Goodman Men’s, the New York department store owned by Neiman Marcus, though not in partnership with Crown & Caliber. While Neiman Marcus in-store sales are currently limited to the two locations in California and Georgia, it will be interesting to see how the program evolves over the coming months and whether distribution extends to smaller, under-served markets, as well as places like New York and Dallas.