Watch this space.
Relatively new brands Parmigiani Fleurier (est 1976) and Richard Mille (1999) may consider Mount Street more relevant for their younger client audience and unique pieces but manufacture d’horlogerie still wish to secure the globally recognised ‘Bond Street’ address.
In September Allegra Arier watches will be available alongside black diamonds in the new deGRISOGONO boutique at 15 New Bond Street, adjacent the affectionately known “chocolate box” which sadly will be demolished as part of the Pollen Estate development plans.
Jaeger LeCoultre (1833) and Chopard (1860) have already secured much larger boutiques, CHANEL watches & jewellery are completely rebuilding No 173 behind the facade, to follow the openings of Patek Philippe (1852) IWC (1868) and heritage brand Vocheron Constantin (1755).
Mono-branded boutiques definitely seem to be the way of the future as Kering, LVHM, Richemont and Swatch groups all seek to completely control their representation in Mayfair.
Many fashion brands are successful vertical retailers and it appears that watchmakers of distinction now seek to execute distribution and sales through direct communication with their clients. With the rental of a modest boutique starting at £500,000pax and key money of over £2M the improved margins, removing the “retailer” from the equation and securing house boutiques must be high on the boardroom agenda’s in Paris, Milan and Geneva.
More competition exists within the refurbished Watches at Selfridges and The Fine Watch Room in Harrods arriving within the Shopping Guide to London and specialist vintage pieces are also available at Watch Club (Royal Arcade), WatchFinder (Royal Exchange) and Somlo (Burlington Arcade).
There are still at least half a dozen watch makers seeking that elusive boutique on ‘Bond Street and no doubt 2015 will see similar key money premiums paid to vendors as Longines did to acquire No11 (£8M) and Patek Philippe to secure No14 (£10M); if not more!