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Brand Boutiques - PROS AND CONS: Westime

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septiembre 2013



Watch brands of all sizes continue to open up monobrand boutiques around the world. Europa Star investigates this trend and talks to opinion leaders on both sides of the issue.

Greg Simonian, president of Westime (Los Angeles, USA):

“Major markets, like Los Angeles, are where the brands do a lot of business, so it is in their interest to build their presence in these important locations through standalone boutiques.

Greg Simonian
Greg Simonian

“We have a front-row view of this trend of boutiques, since we run Hublot and Richard Mille boutiques just steps from our Westime Beverly Hills store, and both brands are also sold at Westime. A very different shopper is drawn to the monobrand stores versus the multi-brand location. Those heading straight to the brand boutiques already have an affinity for that particular brand, while those shopping at a place like Westime are interested in seeing what’s new in the market from a wide range of brands and perhaps discover something they had never heard of before. The fact that many monobrand boutiques create limited edition watches exclusively for their brand boutiques helps drive traffic into those stores without taking any business away from nearby independents. Also, at least for a company like Westime, our salespeople have very loyal relationships with their clients based on decades of good service. Those clients stay for a reason.

Left: Hublot Boutique, Los Angeles - Left: Westime, Los Angeles
Left: Hublot Boutique, Los Angeles - Left: Westime, Los Angeles

“On the other hand, every new watch boutique helps spread the word about watches in general, and potentially brings new fans into the fold. Some will shop at branded boutiques and some will shop at the independents, but more for everyone is still more.

“The first advantage a multi-brand retailer has is the ability to offer variety. Equally as important is the fact that as business owners we have the power of instant decision-making. We’re also a bastion of discovery, since we can introduce exciting independent watch brands to our clients.

“At the end of the day, it is the retailer who convinces the customer what to buy, and has the ability to switch them from one brand to another. Right now there are over 600 watch brands manufactured in Switzerland, so independents will always have room to grow with other brands.”

Brand Boutiques - Pros and Cons

Introduction

Patrik Hoffmann, president, Ulysse Nardin

Larry Pettinelli, president, Patek Philippe North America

Ehren Bragg, Managing Director, Devon

Marc Gläser, president, Maurice Lacroix

Thomas Morf, formerly CEO of Carl F. Bucherer and Hanhart

Ayman Nassif, president, BTC (Egypt)

Jeremy Oster, co-owner, Oster Jewelers (Colorado, USA)

Alon Ben Joseph, CEO, Ace Jewelers Group (Amsterdam, the Netherlands)

Source: Europa Star August - September 2013 Magazine Issue