Apple Watch mini-stores to open in London, Paris, Tokyo luxury retail shops

Each store opens on April 10, the same day the smartwatch becomes available for try-ons and preorders

The Apple Watch will have its own sales space inside three major department stores in Europe and Asia, a move to get the product in front of potential buyers who may not be frequent visitors to the company's physical and online stores.

The locations, at Selfridges in London, Isetan Shinjuku in Tokyo and Galeries Lafayette in Paris, will be staffed by Apple employees. The department stores Apple selected have reputations for selling high-end fashions.

There is no mention on Apple's website about similar setups for the Apple Watch within U.S. department stores.

The department store locations will be strictly retail outlets and won't offer product support, according to their listings. For help resolving technical problems, people should go to an Apple Store. The Apple Watch stores open on April 10, the same day the smartwatch becomes available for try-ons and preorders in the company's retail stores. The wearable ships on April 24.

Apple has been highlighting the smartwatch's style as much as its technology. Fashion magazines Vogue and Elle Australia featured the watch in their March issues. In Vogue, Apple showed the watch in a 12-page advertising spread while Elle Australia ran a story on how to accessorize with the device.

Rumors that the Apple Watch would have special department store displays have been circulating for months. According to media reports, the wearable will be given prominent locations in each department store.

At Selfridges, the Apple Watch will reportedly be displayed in the store's Wonder Room, where jewelry and watches from luxury brands Gucci and Cartier are sold. Meanwhile, the Apple Watch store at Galeries Lafayette will reportedly take up a large section of the second floor near designers Saint Laurent and Celine. And the mall where Isetan Shinjuku is located added the Apple Watch store to its directory.

Opening mini-stores dedicated to Apple products within other retailers isn't new for Apple. Best Buy stores feature special Apple sections and electronics retailer B&H Photo Video in New York City recently opened an Apple mini-store.

Fred O'Connor writes about IT careers and health IT for The IDG News Service. Follow Fred on Twitter at @fredjoconnor. Fred's e-mail address is fred_o'connor@idg.com

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