Watches of Switzerland is a well-known name in England, with large, beautiful multi-brand stores and mono-brand boutiques. This very successful company is already in the American market, having acquired Mayor’s (in Florida and Georgia) in October of 2017, and the company is expanding.
“We think the luxury watch market is under-developed in the US,” says Brian Duffy, CEO, Watches of Switzerland. “We don’t think there’s enough retail, and there isn’t enough of the kind of retail we do: big flagship stores, with incredible digital support and marketing. The big brands need space and that’s what we do here in London and it works very well.”
Watches of Switzerland is opening three stores in the Greater New York area – Soho this year, Hudson Yards in March 2019 and one more later in 2019. Watches of Switzerland has also acquired the rights to retail in the Wynn in Las Vegas, with plans for four points of sale in that city.
Though Watches of Switzerland does mono-brand boutiques as well, Duffy is strongly behind the multi-brand retail concept. “The brands are all looking to upgrade the presentation of their product,” Duffy expands. We do these fabulous big stores where the brands look amazing. We think that there are huge advantages to multi brand retail — the customer coming to a multi-brand environment has choice, they can compare, they have independence and they get independent advice. A multi brand environment is more inviting to browsing — we want people to come and take a look, ask for help if they want it. We think that environment really responds to how people want to shop today.
“Along with that, people are doing more research online before they come to a store, so the days of someone coming in and saying ‘I have $10,000, what should I buy?’ are over,” he continues. “The digital world drives traffic. We have to be very active online, but have great physical stores. There’s nothing like actually putting the product on your wrist.”
According to Duffy, Watches of Switzerland has its hands full currently, but they are always looking for more opportunities. “We think we can help add to the market rather than displace what is there,” he says. “There are a lot of new developments happening in the USA and we are clearly aware of these, so we of course want to grow.”