Watches of Switzerland

Unifying elements throughout Landmark, the three-level London flagship for Watches of Switzerland, include white ceilings with recessed lighting and marble floors. Photography © Callison LLC

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Opulent materials, precise details, and advanced digital technology create an entertaining, immersive, and luxurious experience for the new Watches of Switzerland home in London. The company marked its 90th anniversary last year by launching Landmark, a new flagship location on London’s prominent Regent Street. Designed by Callison, Landmark elevates the act of watch shopping to a theatrical event as Europe’s largest multi-brand luxury watch showroom.

Tony Broderick, chief operating officer of Aurum Holdings, which is the parent company of Watches of Switzerland, oversaw the creation of this bespoke solution for his brand. “Our key goals were to engage the customer and create a unique journey in the world of horology, inviting people to interact with our brand in many ways—from technology touch points to personal, in-store service.”

To realize this vision, Aurum turned to Callison, which had collaborated with the company on previous retail projects. From the beginning, “the design team immersed itself in the Watches of Switzerland brand and worked to define the users, what they have in common, what they value, and how to exceed their needs,” Callison Director Tom Pulk says. “From this process emerged the ‘One Door, Three Stores’ Landmark experience.”

One door, three stores
While the 1811 John Nash–designed neoclassical facade remains largely untouched, the building’s interior has been reconfigured to create Landmark’s three-level, 17,000-square-foot retail experience. “Each floor is designed to cater to a particular customer,” Pulk says, with “a specific material palette calibrated to set the mood for its clientele.”

Upon entering, the watch connoisseur is immersed into the experience. On the ground level, a central space featuring striated gray marble floors, reflective dark walls, and flashes of stainless steel is ringed by six boutiques that house luxury brands such as Rolex and Cartier. Within each individual boutique, brands create their unique presence through custom caselines and finishes.

“To maintain a cohesive look among the diverse brands,” Pulk says, “the boutique lighting and facades are standardized to fit the Watches of Switzerland aesthetic.” Standardized elements include a clean, white ceiling with recessed lighting that defines all three floors. On the entrance level, two rectangular openings—one mirrored and the other open—punctuate the ceiling, juxtaposing dazzling reflections of this floor.

The lower level, named the Calibre Room, is designed for the international tourist and features more than 20 high-end brands. Gray-veined white Calacatta marble floors set the stage for vertically ridged walnut walls and curving stainless steel display cases. A 12-foot, interactive digital surface allows clients to learn about product features and Watches of Switzerland’s own evolution. Smaller interactive screens appear throughout the store’s other two floors. The lower level also includes a service/repair area, a customer lounge, and the Mont Blanc boutique.

The upper floor caters to the choice connoisseur and collector, featuring a VIP room appointed with smooth brown leather chairs, black-and-white marble end tables, and jewel-colored accents. This level contains an additional five brand boutiques, including Patek Philippe and Jaeger-LeCoultre. Charcoal marble floors create a dramatic backdrop for a posh lounge outfitted in shades of gray. Near the windows overlooking Regent Street, a staircase of marble, metal, and glass wraps a circular glass-enclosed elevator. The store’s focal point both practically and symbolically, the elevator connects Landmark’s three floors while alluding to the rhythmic movements and meticulous engineering of the fine timepieces on display.

Raising the bar
Since opening, the award-winning Landmark has been lauded by both the press and the public. Within the engaging and sumptuous interior, the 75 employees offer seamless and exemplary service, which is facilitated by discreet peripheral placement of back-of-house operations. “The feedback from customers, suppliers, and competitors has been exceptional,” Broderick says. “The Regent Street store has raised the bar in luxury watch retailing, and it is recognized as a destination to visit within Europe.”

Broderick further explains the primary reason for Landmark’s success: “The store design is engineered to the same high standards as the watches we sell,” Broderick says, “creating a luxury environment reflective of our brand.”

Watches of Switzerland

Architect: Callison
Client: Aurum Holdings
Where: London
What: 17,000 total square feet on three floors
Cost/sf: Withheld at client’s request

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