As we prepare to report directly from Geneva during our week at the SIHH 2014, we decided to spend a few days in London. As many of you know, London is considered a must when it comes to watch shopping. When it comes to Audemars Piguet and highly complicated watches, there is no better place to stop by other than MARCUS watches located on 170 New Bond Street. MARCUS is advertised as containing “The most important collection of watches in the World” and we can say that they deliver on that promises. The range of brands they carry is truly formidable, ranging from long-established, high end brands such as Audemars Piguet, Piaget, Girard-Perregaux and Zenith to more recent haute horlogerie brands like Richard Mille, Urwerk, MCT, Hautlence and Greubel Forsey amongst others.
The store was established in its current form by Marcus Margulies whose family company, Time Products, dates back to the early 1960’s when his Father Alexander moved to England from Poland and established a business distributing inexpensive watches imported from the Soviet Union. This company was named Sekonda and is now the UK’s best-selling watch brand. Time Products has worked closely with the Swiss Luxury Watch Industry and is currently the UK distributor for Hublot and Franck Muller. Other brands that have been distributed by Time Products in the UK include Blancpain, Breguet, Girard-Perregaux, Vacheron Constantin and Audemars Piguet which was distributed in the UK, Switzerland and the U.S. for over 15 years.
The store has one of the rarest collections of vintage and antique timepieces in the world. The collection was started in 1989. During the past twenty years it has bought some extremely rare, sometimes unique, pocket and wristwatches, the majority having been produced by the watch companies Time Products represents. The purpose of the collection has always been to support retail customers by promoting the brands when they hold exhibitions. Below you will see a picture of Marcus, the man behind this watch shopping paradise.
As you head into this fascinating boutique you'll experience a very interesting combination of modern and antique decor. The boutique is nestled inside an old building that according to UK laws, its interior can only be modified to certain extent and features like its crown molding or its staircase had to be kept intact. Therefore, you will find a nice combination of the old meeting the new, the same fascinating combo that we find in the rare and exclusive timepieces than can be found here. MARCUS sells some of the most interesting unique piece limited editions including sets and watches like the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore MARCUS limited edition, the Richard Mille RM028 Divers Set of 3 unique pieces, the Greubel Forsey set of 3 pieces as well as some amazing Urwerks, MCTs, Hublots and Franck Mullers amongst others.
The boutique spreads over four levels of elegant decor, free standing showcases and perfectly designed salons with excellent natural light. The boutique is quite large but very intimate and inviting despite the fact that as soon as you walk in the first timepieces that greet you include a very rare 18K rose gold Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Grande Complication with skeletonized dial of which only 3 pieces were ever made and priced well above $700,000 USD. As you head upstairs you know you are in for a big treat as the Audemars Piguet room awaits you. A salon that includes some of the most fascinating Audemars Piguet timepieces we've ever seen and the largest inventory on display. Now, let's move on to the images and let these do the talking. Below you will see several very hard to find pieces including one of the MARCUS limited editions as well as a exclusive Royal Oak with diamond baguettes and emeralds.
Now meet one of the three limited edition Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshores exclusively created for MARCUS. This one is the Royal Oak Offshore Black DLC Steel Marcus Limited Edition of 50 pieces in blackened DLC steel case with black "Mega Tapisserie" dial, white Arabic numerals, crown and pushers in white, case back engraved with the Marcus M logo and a white rubber strap. You need to see one in person to really fully appreciate it. Just amazing.
As you continue to move upstairs, you are greeted by a beautiful display full of antique watchmaking tools and some fascinating timepieces that left us in awe. Elegance and refinement are the name of the game at this boutique where even a beautiful Asprey leather backgammon set is awaiting there for one to play a quick round with Marcus while watch shopping. On this level you will find a 3-piece set of Greubel Forsey Tourbillons all numbered with the number 7, a Richard Mille RM022 Tourbillon Diamonds Marcus unique piece, a unique Piaget watch with 'cloissoné' enamel case and dial and a unique piece of the fascinating ultra complicated Urwerk UR-1001 Zeit Device pocket watch in blackened platinum instead of the traditional AlTiN treated steel. This Urwerk weighs almost a kilo —2 pounds— of platinum and measures an era in its entirety, from a second to a millennium with a revolving satellite complication with wandering hours, retrograde minutes, revolving satellite calendar with months and dates, day/night indicator, power-reserve indicator, running seconds, “Oil change” indicator for every 5 years, running-time indicator for a century and linear running-time indicator for a millennium.
After you're done some serious shopping upstairs and just in case you have time for some wine and more APs, you might be escorted downstairs to the lower level where an amazing built-in watch display with winders, wine cellar and humidor awaits you. Just in case you didn't find anything you liked upstairs at the Audemars Piguet salon, down here you will find another huge selection of APs including the Royal Oak Offshore Sachin Tendulkar Limited Edition.
As you head back upstairs to the ground level, pay close attention to the antique table where the stairs end, here you will see the amazing Reuge by MB&F Music Machine in its full glory and behind no glass. After an unforgettable experience perusing some of the most exclusive and exceptional timepieces you can find in London and the world, we thank Alex at MARCUS for such a wonderful afternoon and great hospitality. Thanks for making us feel at home.
For more info on MARCUS watches click here.