Apple knows how to make a good thing better. When the Apple Watch was first launched (9 countries – Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the UK and the US) to my horror my little spot on the globe was not in the first wave. So I flew to Hong Kong. Why not ? It’s a good excuse to also fill up on my favourite foods.
Day 1 Hong Kong
The Must Stop place after the essentials for the day (breakfast, brisk walking aka window shopping, and lunch) was the Apple Shop at ifc Mall. There was a crowd … but for the iPhone 6.
My wait was less than 5 minutes after giving my Apple ID.
An Apple staff escorted us to cordoned off area and asked “which model of Apple Watch would you like to see?” If price is not a question then the unbiased recommended everyday Apple Watch is the 42mm Stainless Steel with the leather Modern Buckle strap as the clasp is safe, secure and cleverly designed. Next is the Stainless Steel with Milanese clasp (but the strong magnetic clasp can play havoc if you’re in a rush). Ladies who wear UK dress size 6 -16 will find the small or medium band about right.
It feels special to be in an area dedicated just for you to try on the Apple Watch before placing an order online. The downside, the wait till June and the many passersby (mostly from Mainland China) who would lean over to query the staff or attempt to try the Apple Watch. The gold Edition is available for trying on but in a separate area and with a separate appointment. But one is free to view it in the glass case along with the rest of the crowd.
Fast Forward to June
The Apple Watch arrives in Singapore (as well as Taiwan, South Korea, Mexico, Spain and Switzerland – where the traditionalists and Swatchers may perhaps cut a huge detour past Apple Watch retailers?).
This time my up-close-and-personal experience involved no crowd. It was just me. And this time when asked “which Apple Watch would you like to try on?”(insert elegant pause) my fingers pointed towards the Apple Watch Edition.
The 18-carat gold case with Bright Red Modern Buckle (retailing in Singapore at S$25,500) was draped on my wrist, and I must stay it looked stunning even though I am no hands model. The leather is paper soft and though called Bright Red, it is closer to a deep orange which looks wonderful both on fair and slightly tanned skin tones. In 38mm it felt light but is no lightweight being also a health monitor and capable of a host of other tasks from reading email, text messages, music player and remote controller !
The other attractive looking and best for ladies Apple Watch Edition is the 38mm rose gold case with Rose Grey Modern Buckle. In fact, that strap would be on my to-buy list if it ever appears under Straps that you can buy to play around with the look of the Apple Watch. The Rose Grey Modern Buckle is neither grey nor pink (rose). It reminded me of smoky amethyst. Men would be better sporting the Midnight Blue Modern Buckle as it’s dark but not as intense (and boring) as black.
Being one who loves the little details (show me a shirt and I’d comment on the buttons) the Apple Watch straps are really the ones worth investing time and money on.
The Modern Buckle looks like something you’d have in a ‘normal’ watch. But it’s a magnetic clasp and opens when you press the pair of buttons on either side of it. It’s easy to close – just slap it on.
There’s also the Classic Buckle that’s the true traditional hook in the hole watch strap.
The Sports strap is similar to the traditional except it’s a case of pop-in-the hole and tuck-in-the-tail (the Green is cool, Pink is pretty as a lipstick or nail polish,it’d be called watermelon and the White stands out but you need to be really careful not to get pencil or pen marks on it).
Then there are the loops – which are straps that are slip-on easy to use.
The Leather Loop has a ribbed look which has yet to appeal to me, although the design concept though is attractive. Each rib has a magnet so that it latches on the end (with another hidden magnet) with no fuss.
More attractive is the Milanese Loop which is an old watch strap design as I still have an old watch (in my random collection) with such a strap. I initially had problems with the Mianese Loop when trying it on in Hong Kong. But was sold on it after my personal session where I was shown how best wear the stainless steel mesh with magnetic clasp. The light bulb went on, but I felt dim.
Clasp the loop loose, slip in your wrist,
then pull to adjust. if it’s too snug, just nudge the mesh strap.
When the Apple Watch arrived, it was in a white box like most (but not all) Apple products. But it was a little more special, with engraved text on the box wrapped in plastic which you had to peel away in a direction that would allow it to fall away in a “ta-dah” moment. Inside is a white plastic case that reminded me of a bento box, that opened to just one morsel, the Apple Watch.
You see, Apple in its great wisdom decided that it was not enough to offer consumers a smartwatch (especially since it was not the first) but to offer an experience before, during and after getting an Apple Watch.
Having worn for a few months a 42mm stainless steel Apple Watch, the 38mm felt better on my wrist, sat better and also looked better (judging on the many unsolicited compliments received). Despite a minor need for glasses, it remains easy to glance at the time, notifications and text messaging.
Oh yes, it’s been worth the wait.