PASSING THE TIME: Around 70 people queued outside Paris concept store Colette on Friday morning hoping to snag one of the first Apple watches.

The first in line had been waiting since 3 p.m. the previous day, while others had joined the queue on Thursday evening, spending a chilly spring night outdoors without any certainty that the product would be available once the store opened its doors.

“We read a lot of things on the Internet, approximately 1,000 watches, but with the preorders, it’s impossible to say actually how many watches they have. I’m crossing my fingers, of course,” said Lucas Dufossez, 26, a sales manager for a communications company in Belgium.

Dufossez was determined to lay his hands on a stainless steel model with a Milanese Loop bracelet costing 799 euros in Europe and $699 in the United States. He decided to wait in line after being told by Apple that the product would not be available for several weeks if he ordered it online.

“To be the first, that’s the most important. Personally, my order is scheduled for May 12 and I can’t wait until May 12,” he explained, adding that he had spotted the watch on celebrities in magazines. “Of course I’m jealous. But I don’t care, really. The gold on [Karl] Lagerfeld is just awful,” he said.

Apple has been hosting try-on sessions at its stores, but only has the watches available via pre-order. Colette is one of a handful of stores worldwide to sell the watches directly to consumers on Friday (others include Dover Street Market in London and Tokyo, Maxfield in Los Angeles and The Corner in Berlin).

In the end, few walked away empty-handed, with several hundred watches flying off the shelves. The retailer ran out of stock mid-afternoon and is expecting a fresh shipment of Monday, though exact quantities are not yet known, spokesman Guillaume Salmon said.

Manuel Lopez, a 24-year-old architecture student from Madrid, originally had his sights set on the most basic model, but decided to upgrade to a fancier version. “It’s because the sapphire glass is unbreakable, and I prefer to pay a bit more to have the whole experience,” he said, adding that it also features interchangeable straps.

The student said not all his peers were taken by the Apple watch.

“Some of them don’t understand what is the point of spending so much money on a watch that’s not round, especially when the [Motorola] Moto 360 [smartwatch] is cheaper. The biggest problem is the shape for all of them,” he said.

“I’ve been sending them photos all night. Some of them say I’m crazy, but when I send them the picture of the Apple watch, they are going to be like: ‘Oh my God, I hate you! I want one!’” he predicted.