This is what it's like to have an Apple Watch fitting

Apple Watch fitting

The Apple Watch has gone on sale today, although you can't actually have it. What you can do is head down to your local retailer (largely Apple Stores, although some select department stores do have them in stock too) and get a fitting.

A fitting? For most of us that's just checking to make sure the band has enough holes in to be able to comfortably hold onto our wrist.

Apple Watch fitting

So I wandered down to the Apple Store in Covent Garden, London, to be one of the early customers to experience a fitting on launch day.

The first thing that struck me was just how few people there actually were in the Store. I was expecting lines spilling out the door, but given you a) book an appointment to try the Watch on and b) can't actually walk away with one today, the extra security outside seemed a little redundant.

However, even without an appointment I was able to find a spot and helpful Apple Genius to guide me through the process of finding out which Watch is for me.

Watching the Watchmen

There are conspicuously few Watches on the shop floor, which worried me. How was I going to know which Watch to buy if I couldn't try them all on?

Apple Watch fitting

The fear was allayed quickly, as with a swift flick of the mobile terminal all Geniuses carry a drawer beneath the demo area was opened, revealing all the Watch styles and straps to try on.

"Do you know which Watch you're after today?" was the opening gambit I heard all the staff giving. I opted for the Sport variant, but with the Milanese loop. After all, it is the cheapest variant and the chainmail-style band is infinitely customisable in fit.

If I'd have gone for a watch with a link strap though, Apple would have made sure it was customised to my wrist size - although not at this pre-launch phase.

Apple Watch fitting

What will irk some people is that you can't choose your strap and Watch combination on certain models, as they come with pre-defined straps.

For instance, if you want the Space Black Watch, you're limited to the Stainless Steel Black band (and vice versa).

You can purchase extra straps to alter it to your specification, but those in the box are already sealed in, so you're stuck with that option to start with.

What goes where?

However, it was at this point where it became apparent that the Apple Watch is really new to everyone - even the Geniuses helping out in store. Given the Watch / strap combination wasn't a standard option, he had to switch the bands around.

Apple Watch fitting

After a couple of minutes trying, he realised he was attempting to put the 38mm strap on the larger 42mm option. Once that was rectified it was an easy step to show me the Watch - although it wasn't charged up.

"It doesn't matter though, as it's only a demo loop on there" the Genius told me, before showing me the assembly put together to show how the Watch works.

It's a cool little area - the Watch is attached to a while plastic plinth, and as you roll through the interface the screen alongside will change to give information on what the small icons mean. This is designed to both give the Geniuses cues to work from and offer the general customer more information as they wander through the interface if a helper isn't nearby.

Apple Watch fitting

That's fine, but if I've come in to use the Watch I want to actually put it on my wrist. I don't want to pretend using an animation and then tap around with one attached to a table.

My Genius told me that most people were interested in the cheaper Sport edition of the Watch, with the option to make it look the same as the others by buying another strap or band, showing that most don't care for the same sapphire protection afforded by 'normal' watches in this price range.

Apple Watch fitting

But then again, if someone is coming down to the Apple Store in the early hours of pre-order day, they're likely to be buying an Apple product with no decision needed - they're getting it. That fact was compounded by the fact he didn't know how much the main Apple Watch cost over its Sport brother - it's a fair amount more and should be one of the things that was first and foremost.

Take me to the special room

If you're a little fancier, and are after an Apple Watch Edition, you can have a more senior member of the retail team take you into a side room and show you every version of the Watch, from Rose Gold to… Yellow Gold (complete with the admittedly-awesome charging box) then you can book that too, spending an hour or so looking at all the features in as much detail as you want.

If you're looking to get an Apple Watch fitting, perhaps it's best to wait a few days so the teams can get properly to grips with the new device. While there were gaps in the knowledge of the Genius I was talking to, there seemed to be a genuine appetite to use the products.

Apple Watch fitting

Rather than tell me 'it could help me run' when I asked about whether it would be good for me as a runner, he said that he'd not tried it and while he could tell me what it could do, he'd rather not be definitive until he'd given it a run out himself. It was nice to feel like the staff really want to give the products a run down before full recommendations.

Overall, the fitting was a slightly odd experience. Given the huge range of price differences (the price for the Watch at the high end (42mm Space Black with a stainless steel band) is almost double that of the bottom choice (38mm Stainless Steel case with white sport band) you'd have thought that price would be made more overt as I went through the different Watch types.

But then again, it's launch day, when the Apple fans are out in force. Those that have taken a more reasoned approach to buying an Apple Watch are likely to ask a lot more questions, to get a feel about what's right for them - and hopefully those selling them will know a bit more about them too.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.