After almost a year of lock-down due to the pandemic, New York City stores are opening up again, and some are even starting anew. In recent months, we have witnessed a sort of renaissance of the watch boutiques, as several top brands and retailers open new stores that offer experiential and interactive exhibits. Just yesterday, Tourneau opened a new Rolex boutique and the first-ever Tudor boutique in the city.
In the heart of the meatpacking district of New York, where the famed High Line and top restaurants are trending, the new Rolex boutique shares space with the Tudor boutique. The sibling brands each have their own entrance to the 4,000-square-foot space, which has a modular design to it using column gridlines. This store marks the first-ever Tudor boutique in America. The look of the Tudor store is designed to be bold and daring, echoing the brand’s “Born to Dare” motto. Tudor’s signature color red takes center stage as mosaic glass and vitrines line the brick walls. To celebrate the opening of the boutique, Tudor is making this store the first place where one can buy the recently released Black Bay Fifty-Eight Bronze Boutique Edition.
The adjoining Rolex space utilizes refined showcases in taupe leather and bronze, as well as free-floating glass displays suspended by bronze tubes. The displays there will be changed seasonally. Textures and materials come together in the store with brilliant Travertine walls and terrazzo flooring and stairs leading to a visitor lounge with a specially made dark green and white veined marble wall and a stucco design inspired by the New York skyline.
The opening of these boutiques comes on the heels of the opening of the new Vacheron Constantin boutique on 57thStreet. That boutique boasts a host of interactive displays, unique lounge areas, artistic exhibits and so much more. In fact, for the opening, Vacheron Constantin worked with the Chris Burden estate to create a two-story tall installation of the New York skyline with motion-activated cars driving the streets – all based on Burden’s Metropolis 2 sculpture. Vacheron Constantin also plans to create a variety of specially curated watch exhibits.
Currently the North American flagship store is featuring rare heritage watches that are on loan from the brand’s private collection in Geneva. The exhibit is entitled, Classic with a Twist, and includes some design history as well as watches that emerged in the Roaring Twenties and the Art Deco era and throughout the 20th century. The collection is designed to appeal to American collectors. Included among the watches : a watch owned by actor Marlon Brando that was gifted to him by actress and Hollywood heart throb Zsa Zsa Gabor and bears an inscription on the back.
The 57th Street and Madison Avenue area where Vacheron Constantin’s new flagship is located, is getting a watch facelift as well. Tourneau’s Time Machine is being rebranded Tourneau Bucherer finally (Bucherer purchased Tourneau three years ago) and is in the throes of a redesign that is expected to make its debut sometime in September.
In mid-August, Breitling will close its Madison Avenue store as it plans a huge redesign. In the interim, it will relocate to a smaller space nearby, with a temporary “surf shack” pop-up boutique until the main store re-opens in October. The brand is not alone, a host of other brands, including Grand Seiko, have plans for redesigns that will begin in Fall and winter, so that by spring or summer of 2022, there will be a lot more emphasis on time in New York City.
This article by Roberta Naas first appeared on Forbes.com.