Posts filed under Watch Shopping

Experience: Audemars Piguet Boutique Bal Harbour. A Very Modern and Sleek Place.

Located in the heart of Bal Harbour just north of Miami Beach, off of Collins Ave. and 96th, a brand new Audemars Piguet boutique was just opened a couple of weeks ago inside the Bal Harbour Shops.

The boutique includes a 990 sq. ft. space—located on the first floor next to David Yurman— with a very minimalistic design that clearly portrays Audemars Piguet's core values and brand essence.  As soon as you walk in, you will be taken on a journey all the way to the home of the manufacture in Le Brassus.

Even though the boutique is very modern, it is still extremely inviting. Before you head into the boutique, you already know that you are in for a treat. As you walk in and are greeted by their friendly staff, core elements of the earth are present in the materials utilized in every single corner of this magnificent space.

Once inside, you will notice sleek slate floors, modern wooden walls, polygonal stone blocks —serving as the base for the wooden counter tops—, high-tech screens, rocks covered with moss, brass sculptures, nicknacks and a large chandelier that illuminates the space.

On the left side as you walk in, next to a beautiful white lacquered indented shelving unit, you will find a super-sized nine panel video wall looping images of nature and landscapes from the Vallée de Joux. On the opposite side, a smaller LED screen is looping horological footage from the manufacture and watches in the collection. At the lounge bar area, feel free to help yourself to some of the most delicious 'macarons' that taste just as authentic as if you were in Paris at Pierre Hermé on Rue Cambon —just a block away from the Audemars Piguet boutique on Rue Saint Honoré.

As you walk around, you'll notice that employees are well trained to make adjustments to bracelets. By the loupe and tool set he was using, we can tell that you won't leave with a scratched bracelet.

As you look around for that next piece that you want to buy, you'll notice the attention that has been put forth to every single detail at the boutique. From the flowers to the bronze sculptures —that appear to be made by Swiss sculptor Giacometti. The displays are unique and well lit showcasing the watches in pure harmony. Fantastic pieces, complications and key references across the different Audemars Piguet lines are on display. Now pick what you want to try on.

Once you pick your favorite watch to peruse, have a seat on the comfortable, perfectly designed chairs and take a deep breath. Take all of the imagery and the boutique design inside you, all the way to your core. You are here for a reason and you know it.

Now, admire the design and craftsmanship of that gorgeous Royal Oak Extra-Thin Tourbillon ref. 26510ST.OO.1220ST.01 you've been wanting for a long time or perhaps the Royal Oak Tourbillon Chronograph in gold. Choices, choices and more choices. The endless storyline in the life of a watch collector.  

As you make another round throughout the boutique, the antique pocket watch from the Audemars Piguet Museum catches your attention. Then, you admire the antique Ingold Fraise horological tool —used to cut movement wheels and their teeth— that is sitting on the upper shelf right above the pocket watch. As you look at the LED screen to the right of those two objects, you just can't stop watching the video that is playing and showing you how these masterpieces are made. You are more than ready to get one.

While you are there and as you make up your mind, enjoy looking at pieces like the Millenary Minute Repeater with AP Escapement ref. 26371TI.OO.D002CR.01 —a limited edition of 8 pieces in Titanium and anthracite dial— and the Jules Audemars Chronometer with AP Escapement in Platinum ref. 26153PT.OO.D028CR.01.

After purchasing that new timepiece, you leave through the door feeling fulfilled after your experience at the beautiful boutique. You are happy, excited and looking forward to sharing your unveiling thread on an online watch forum. Mission accomplished.

As you walk back into the shopping center atrium, you stop by the koi fish and turtle pond outside the boutique. As you look at the koi fish, the orange color on them makes you think about the new Royal Oak Offshore Ceramic Diver and its orange accents. As you are getting ready to leave, you turn back and take a last look at the boutique wondering when you will be back to peruse the new Ceramic Diver and add it to the collection.

Special thanks to Audemars Piguet for allowing us to come visit the boutique and take all of these pictures for our story.

For more info click here.  

Audemars Piguet
Bal Harbour Shops
9700 Collins Avenue, Space #159
Bal Harbour, FL 33154
 
Phone number:  305.864.6776
Toll Free:  866.595.9700
 
Store Hours:
Monday - Saturday 10 AM – 8:45 PM
Sunday 12noon – 5:45 PM

Experience: IWC Boutique. Bahnhofstrasse 61, Zurich.

Located right on Bahnhofstrasse 61 not far from Credit Suisse, the IWC Boutique is a must see if you live in Zurich or if you are just visiting. This boutique just opened back in September of 2012 and follows the same interior design concept of all other boutiques. Just a few blocks away from the main train station, this boutique blends in nicely with Zürich's architecture and look of most store fronts. Regardless, you just can't miss it. When closed for business, all windows are protected by metallic curtains in white with a black IWC logo at the bottom. The window displays are eye catching and very well done.

Once inside, you will find a nice assortment of pieces from every line in their collection. From Pilot's watches, to the Portuguese line, the Ingenieur novelties and everything else in between.

This time, one of the Ingenieur novelties caught our wandering eyes. While we explored every display inside the store, we just couldn't resist trying on the new Ingenieur Chronograph Racer ref. IW378508 fitted with a stainless steel bracelet.

This new watch with an enticing slate-coloured dial, black registers —chrono register at 12 and running seconds/date aperture at 6 o'clock— and a red '60' on the chapter ring at 12 o'clock, is just gorgeous. The red accent was inspired by the digital display on the steering wheel of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One racing car. We will be dedicating a full post to review the watch in full.

Next time you are riding the tram on your way to the train station, make a pit stop at the boutique. Now, make sure you don't miss your train, because once you walk inside, you won't be able to leave promptly.

Captivating displays, beautiful watches, comfy sofas and great service are awaiting.    

For more info click here.

Experience: IWC Boutique. Wynn Las Vegas.

This newly opened IWC boutique is located at the esplanade of the Wynn casino in Las Vegas. Flanked by the Jaeger LeCoultre and the Piaget boutiques, the IWC boutique was definitely designed with the idea of making a big impression. With dedicated window displays for the Pilot's watch line and some other boutique exclusive pieces—such as the Big Pilot's Muhammad Ali Limited Edition watch, the Portuguese Hand-Wound Boutique Edition, the Ingenieur Automatic Boutique Edition and the Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Boutique Edition— this boutique is not only inviting but very cozy once you make your way in.

Once inside the boutique you'll notice a cozy corner with a seating area that resembles that of a reading room with a fireplace. There are plenty of IWC catalogs and other IWC materials available to customer's and some fantastic watches to try on.

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This time we perused the Muhammad Ali limited edition Big Pilot's watch. Constructed in stainless steel and with a limited production of 250 pieces, this reference is dedicated to the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali. The watch is sold in an impressive package – together with the monumental book “GOAT – Greatest of All Time.” with over 3,000 illustrations by more than 150 photographers and artists, the book is a celebration of Muhammad Ali’s life and a literary event in its own right.

The dial and hands on this watch are highlighted with signal-red super-luminova which gives the watch a unique, sporty, and distinctly masculine look. Red was chosen as the color of choice because Ali boxed wearing red gloves the majority of the time. The watch is very solid, just as any other Big Pilot's watch and features the 7-day power reserve, black leather strap and a case back that bears the official logo of Muhammad Ali’s 70th birthday.    

For more info click here.  

Posted on April 2, 2013 and filed under Watch Shopping, IWC.

Watch Shopping Guide: Chicago. Good Variety in the Second City.

Chicago also known as the second city or the 'windy city' is the third largest city in the U.S. but not necessarily the best place for watch shopping, if we really want to be quite blunt. Chicago offers a decent amount of specialized watch stores and only one dedicated watch boutique—Rolex boutique operated by Tourneau Watch Company. Watch stores are somewhat spread out around the city but with the main stores concentrated in two areas of the city, on the Magnificent Mile—Michigan Avenue— and Jeweler's Row along Wabash avenue in the heart of downtown.  

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As we start our watch shopping way around Chicago, we kick-off around Jeweler's Row. This row, located on Wabash avenue heading south between Washington and Monroe streets, offers a wide variety of pre-owned watch shops, a few gray dealers and just two authorized dealers—New York Jewelers and Marshall Pierce & Company. New York Jewelers carries a large selection of brands such as TAG Heuer, Bell & Ross, U-Boat, Chronoswiss and a nice selection of pre-owned vintage Rolex watches. Located about a block away from NYJ, right inside the building located at 5 South Wabash—Jewelers Center—, you'll find several watch dealers including the well known Howard Frum—one of the largest pre-owned watch dealers in the Midwest.

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Heading north on Michigan avenue from Millennium Park right next to Allen Edmonds and a few steps away from the corner with Ohio, you will find the recently opened Tourbillon Boutique, specialized in very high end names such as Breguet, Blancpain, Glashütte Original, Omega and Jaquet Droz. A block and a half away—still heading north on Michigan avenue—and on the opposite side of the avenue at the corner of Ontario and Michigan, Cartier and the Rolex boutique are located.

Catty corner from the Rolex boutique and a building away from the corner with Erie, you'll find, Swiss Fine Timing Atelier Jewelers. This store is the only authorized dealer for Audemars Piguet and Richard Mille and also carries other great names such as Hublot, Breguet, Parmigiani, Panerai, Graham, Chopard, Zenith and Glashütte amongst others.  

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Three blocks north from here you can stop at the Ralph Lauren boutique and check out their vintage watch section on the lower lever. Two blocks north inside the Water Tower Place shopping mall is where Tourneau is located. Wide selection of Breitling, Patek Philippe, Rolex, IWC, Longines and Panerai. A block north next to the Westin on Michigan avenue you will stumble upon the Omega, Bulgari and Louis Vuitton boutiques, finding Montblanc just right across the street from them. One block north from Louis Vuitton, you will make a left on Oak street and about half a block away on the right side you'll find Geneva Seal, authorized dealer for Roger Dubuis, Breitling, Frank Muller, Blancpain, Urwerk, Jacob & Co., Bell & Ross and TAG Heuer amongst others. Last stop the Hermès boutique on Oak and Rush street. From there make sure you have lunch or dinner at Fred's inside Barney's New York.

Watch Shopping Guide: Las Vegas. Watchlifestylers Paradise.

The city of Las Vegas, offers one of the most amazing watch shopping experiences in the U.S. and the world. In less than 2.5 miles of the Las Vegas Strip and located within the casinos and their shoppes, you will be able to find more than 25 dedicated brand watch boutiques and authorized dealers. Heading North on the strip, our first stop is at Aria and Crystals at City Center. Located inside the Aria hotel and casino is Radiance offering a wide variety of brands including Richard Mille, Bell & Ross, Corum and Cuervo y Sobrinos amongst others.

Next door at Crystals shopping center, you'll find Tourbillon—large selection of Blancpain, Omega, Breguet, Jacquet Droz and Glashütte and dedicated boutiques for Cartier, Bulgari, De Grisogono, Harry Winston, Van Cleef & Arpels and TAG Heuer. Tourbillon is in the process of building a larger store in the same location, scheduled to open late 2013.

Next stop heading North is the Bellagio. Besides the wonderful water fountain show every hour and the delicious Bellinis served at the casino, watch shopping can also be a great experience. Omega has a beautiful boutique here and at Tesorini you will find a very large selection of Rolex and Patek Philippe watches, amongst others.

If you keep heading North on the strip, you'll come across Caesar's Palace and the Forum shops at Caesar's. Inside the Forum shops you'll find Tourneau, Roman Times —large authorized dealer for IWC, Piaget and Hublot—, Vicci —one of the largest selections of Audemars Piguet—, the Panerai and Breitling boutiques and a couple of Rolex smaller boutiques. 

Almost across from Caesars, on the opposite side of the strip, you'll find the Venetian and the shoppes at The Palazzo where several authorized dealers and a few brand boutiques are located. At the Venetian you will find Horologio and Venetzia Jewelers and at the shoppes at the Palazzo you will find the boutiques for IWC, Bulgari, Blancpain, Harry Winston and Vacheron Constantin. Additionally, you will run into Bellusso specializing in vintage and pre-owned pieces as well as another Venetzia Jewelers at Palazzo with the largest selection of Audemars Piguet and Richard Mille watches in Las Vegas.

Our last stop is at the esplanade of the Wynn Casino, where Rolex will be opening its flagship Rolex Experience Boutique for North America at the end of May. At the Wynn, you will find a very refined selection of boutiques and authorized dealers. A brand new IWC boutique was opened back in November of 2012. You will also find Chopard, Piaget, Jaeger LeCoultre and Cartier boutiques in this area. The well-known Rolex boutique that was located at the esplanade, is where the new Rolex Experience will open. Temporarily, there's a small Rolex boutique by Tableau restaurant on the other end where the Wynn suites are located. Wynn & Company Watches offers a wide selection of Patek Philippe, Panerai and Vacheron Constantin timepieces amongst others.  This store no longer carries Audemars Piguet watches.

Without a doubt Vegas is a watch shopping oasis with some of the best brands and a really wide selection. After shopping around and if you still have time while you finish your round at the Wynn, we recommend you stop by Sinatra or Red 8 for a great meal.

Watch Shopping Guide: Beijing. More Upscale than What You Would've Imagined.

One of the most amazing cities for watch shopping in the world without a doubt is Beijing. The number of dedicated boutiques in the Wangfujing area dwarfs those around other metropolises including Las Vegas, London or New York City. A wide availability of brands is found throughout the city but specially on Wangfujing street, right between the APM Mall and the Grand Hyatt. Additionally, there is a second beautiful Piaget boutique located inside The Peninsula Hotel atrium and a Richard Mille at The Legendale Hotel next to Jinbao Place mall.

During our trip to Beijing we visited the boutiques for Rolex, Tudor, Tag Heuer, Cartier, Audemars Piguet, Hublot, Omega, Glashütte, Piaget, Vacheron Constantin, Chanel, Ulysse Nardin and Jaeger LeCoultre.  

The boutiques for Rolex and Tudor were fully integrated into one big boutique with inventory for both brands throughout the whole sales floor. A few blocks up, another Rolex standalone boutique is located.

The only boutique with signage in Chinese.