Watches Of Switzerland Expands In The U.S. With Stores In New York And Las Vegas – Forbes

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This past week prominent United Kingdom luxury watch retailer, Watches of Switzerland, opened watch boutiques in New York and Las Vegas, plus Breitling and Omega boutiques that the retailer operates under franchise agreements with the two brands. When you add the company’s recent acquisition of 17 Mayors Jewelers stores in South Florida and Georgia (which includes a Rolex boutique) a Rolex boutique in Las Vegas, and a second New York Watches of Switzerland boutique set to open in March, you have a surge of English influence reminiscent of the 1960s “British Invasion” of rock and pop music acts.



The main floor of the new Watches of Switzerland Soho boutiqueWatches of Switzerland

Brian Duffy, CEO of Watches of Switzerland, said in an interview that the luxury watch market in the U.S. is underserved and he sees it as an opportunity.

“You look at other luxury categories like fashion beauty then this is a great market. You look at watches and it’s a fraction of what logically you think it should be,” he said. “When go around and see why there’s just not enough really high quality distribution. We think there’s great untapped potential.”

The lower level of the new Watches of Switzerland Soho boutiqueWatches of Switzerland

Both Watches of Switzerland boutiques opened Thursday and both are designed by the New York-based architecture firm, MNA. But that’s where the similarities end.

The split-level 8,000-square-foot space in New York is located in Soho and has a downtown vibe to match the neighborhood. The store retains much of the building’s original details, such as the tin ceiling and wooden support columns and exposed brick walls. New elements such as wood floors add to this ambiance. An in-house cocktail bar and a curated library of collectible watch books and an evolving collection of photographic artwork available for purchase adds to what Duffy says is a more inclusive environment, which is something younger consumers in particularly want.

The entrance to the Watches of Switzerland boutique in the Wynn Las Vegas resortWatches of Switzerland

“All the research we have says that people are as interested in Swiss watches as they ever were and there’s a whole generation out there but they just behave differently,” he said. “We are trying to get people engaged by wearing the watches and learning about us at the same time.”

The store has received strong support from the brands. For the opening, Patek Philippe, Rolex, Cartier, Girard-Perregaux and Hublot arranged for their most sought-after watches to be a part of the celebration. Ulysse Nardin even created a special one-of-a-kind piece for the occasion. The Executive Skeleton Tourbillon “Greene Street” was inspired by the cobblestone streets of SoHo.

Inside the Watches of Switzerland boutique in the Wynn Las Vegas resortWatches of Switzerland

Thierry Stern, president of Patek Philippe, flew to the U.S. from Switzerland just to attend the opening night event Thursday. A salesman told me earlier in the day that there is no store in the world that has a similar collection of Patek Philippe Nautilus and Aquanaut watches. “You will never find anywhere both the Patek and Rolex the collections we have,” Duffy added.

“All of our friends are here with us, which kind of proves our thesis,” Duffy said. “The brands are really supporting us. They agree these are real opportunities. They don’t invest in a project unless they believe there is business to be had.”

A large multi-colored Panerai Luminor Marina clock is in the center of the Watches of Switzerland boutique in the Wynn Las Vegas resortWatches of Switzerland

Other brands in the store include Omega, Cartier, Breitling, IWC Schaffhausen, Jaeger LeCoultre, TAG Heuer, Tudor, Grand Seiko, Bremont and Longines.

Meanwhile, the Las Vegas Watches of Switzerland store is more in line with more traditional luxury environments and within the aesthetic of the Esplanade luxury shopping center in the Wynn Las Vegas resort.

The entrance to the Breitling boutique in the Wynn Las Vegas resort, operated by Watches of SwitzerlandWatches of Switzerland

Light-colored walls and flooring provide a contrast with the individual brand stations located throughout the space. In the center is a large multi-colored Panerai Luminor Marina clock. Another signature element is a glass door exposing a waterfall.

Again, the store has received strong support from the watch brands. Swiss watch brand, Bovet, provided its Récital 22 Grand Recital, winner of the recent Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève’; Vacheron Constantin provided its Overseas Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar, one of the thinnest self-winding watches in the world; two timepieces from Roger Dubuis, the Aventador S, a collaboration with Lamborghini Squadra Corse engineers and the Excalibur Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillion; a Grand Complication from IWC; and five creations from Jacob & Co.

Inside the Breitling boutique operated by Watches of Switzerland in the Wynn Las Vegas resortWatches of Switzerland

Others brands in the store are Blancpain, Breitling, Breguet, Franck Muller, Girard-Perregaux, Hublot, Jaeger LeCoultre, Omega, Panerai, Roger Dubuis, Tudor, Ulysse Nardin and Urwerk. Next door is the country’s largest standalone Rolex boutique, also operated by Watches of Switzerland.

On the other side of the Wynn resort are Breitling and Omega standalone boutiques the company operates as franchise agreements at the newly constructed Wynn Plaza Shops shopping center. The two boutiques opened about two weeks earlier but held their opening day celebrations to coincide with Watches of Switzerland store.

The entrance to the Omega boutique operated by Watches of Switzerland in the Wynn Las Vegas resortWatches of Switzerland

Breitling brought in one of its brand ambassadors, astronaut Scott Kelly, and unveiled its newest store design concept. It’s the second Breitling store in the world that uses this design, which features all the activities the watch brand supports, from air pursuits to water sports.

Omega held demonstrations of how its anti-magnetic technology works to keep mechanical watches running on time.

Inside the Omega boutique in the Wynn Las Vegas resort operated by Watches of SwitzerlandWatches of Switzerland

The second Watches of Switzerland New York store will be located in the massive Hudson Yards development project on the west side of Manhattan. The store is scheduled to open in March 2019.



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