But even those who enjoyed the experience will have to wait weeks, if not months, for their watch.
It's a departure from the past when shoppers could just walk in, try out an iPad or iPhone for themselves, and ask questions if they could catch one of the blue-shirted Apple workers roaming the store. Now, with the Apple Watch, everything is more organized, staid and similar to a jewelry purchase.
Workers are explaining features, helping you take it on and off. There are even dark pads on the table, so not to scratch the hardware. And to try out the super-expensive edition -- which costs at least $10,000 -- consumers are escorted into another private area altogether.
For me, who's not used to chauffeurs opening car doors for me or a butler greeting me at the entrance of my home, all the hand-holding was a little much. It was nice to feel special and get that much attention. But I also wanted to be left alone with a full version of the watch and see how it really worked.
Being given a demo was perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the in-store visit. After all, if I'm going to spend that much money on a piece of jewelry and tech and devote the time to go to an actual store, I don't only want the guided tour.
Apple agreed to walk me through the try-on process for all three tiers of the Watch -- from the lowest-priced to the highest -- just to find out how the store experience has changed with the introduction of Apple's first step into the wearable market.
At the Apple Store in Georgetown, those with try-on appointments for the lower-priced, non-Edition, smartwatches are shown to a table that looks like any other birchwood piece of furniture in the store -- except that it's heavily staffed.
Unlike every other Apple retail experience, this experience is not customer-led. Sure, the Apple employee who ran my try-on asked me good questions about how much I knew about the Watch, what features I liked and what model I was thinking about. Information in hand, he then held the portable phone/cash register device that all Apple store employees carry to the edge of the table and -- voila! -- out slides a drawer full of watches, an unexpected magic trick.
We started with the aluminum Sport watch, which is the cheapest with a starting price tag of $350. This model is aimed at health enthusiasts who want bands that can take sweat and don't want too much weight on their wrist. My guide helped me slip the watch on to try it on for size. We ran through pretty much the same spiel with the steel Apple Watch, the mid-tier watch, which felt a little more substantial than the Sport and more like a piece of jewelry. I was encouraged to fiddle with the band to get the right fit, and to ask questions about how the watch works.
The watches used in appointments all run a demo loop -- - similar to the one I first saw last year when Apple announced its watch ambitions. To actually try out the software, I was directed instead to a block that had an Apple Watch embedded in it, alongside a screen that explained each function as I tried it out.
Then came the Edition try-on. In some stores, Watch customers are shown into separate rooms. In D.C., we were led to the back of the store, where classes usually take place. It was much quieter, and there were chairs. You could tell things were about to get serious. After a quick chat about what models of the Edition we wanted to look at -- informed by the standard company Web site -- we waited as Apple store employees in the back of the store collected the models I wanted. You can only look at two versions of the Edition at a time, "for security reasons," I was told.
They came on a navy tray, which in turn had a smaller tray and two Apple Watch boxes (which double as charging stands) placed carefully on top of it.
When I wrote my hands-on of the Apple Watch before, I said that I'd probably never wear a $10,000 watch again. Well, I did today; I also tried on the $17,000 model. With the Edition demo, there was much more talk of craftsmanship, of fit and of fashion. It's hard not to be a little impressed by the Edition, even though it runs the same software as the other two models. On my wrist, it felt much heavier than the other two, about the weight of a large bracelet. It wouldn't be distracting, but it certainly feels substantial.
Once we were done with the fitting, we also went through the process of what it would be like to actually buy a Watch, which you can only do online. It was, essentially, like the process would be at home. We visited the Apple Web site, then selected the model and band. From there, we would have added it to my cart, and I would have signed in with my Apple ID (or signed up for one) to complete the transaction.
Had I bought the Apple Watch, I still wouldn't have walked out with anything, since all models are shipped directly to your doorstep rather than picked up in store -- yet another way in which this experience is completely different from your typical Apple purchase.