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How influential is the Los Angeles audience among status watch brands? The Hollywood set’s buying power shouldn’t be underestimated, judging from the number of high-end timepiece labels that have opened SoCal boutiques in 2022.
Watch brands increasingly are aligning themselves with stars who sport their precision-laden pieces on red carpets, from Anya Taylor-Joy and Nicholas Hoult wearing Jaeger-LeCoultre at the Nov. 10 London premiere of The Menu to ongoing relationships like Jessica Chastain for Piaget or David Beckham for Tudor.
All three luxury brands recently debuted new boutiques in or near Beverly Hills. Tudor’s location is located at Westfield Century City and is a partnership with watch retailer Westime, which also has expanded its offerings to include a Beverly Hills boutique devoted to certified pre-owned timepieces. And earlier this year, British brand Bremont, which counts Mark Strong as its newest ambassador, opened its first L.A. shop in DTLA.
Watch aficionados who prefer vintage and other coveted pieces likewise should check out the new L.A. showroom that Phillips, the London-based auction house, opened in late October in West Hollywood.
Fold in the abundance of brands with an established L.A. presence, from Rolex and Patek Philippe among the labels at Gearys Beverly Hills to standalone boutiques for Hublot, Omega, Grand Seiko and others, and it’s clear that high-end timepieces remain a hot commodity in Hollywood.
Read on for a roundup of details for watch fans eager to explore the latest openings; for those who can’t visit in person, retailers including Neiman Marcus, Mr. Porter, Net-A-Porter, Hodinkee and Jomashop are among those that offer new and certified pre-owned luxury watches online.
Known for the iconic Reverso — named for the case that can be reversed to protect the watch’s crystal — Jaeger-LeCoultre has folded the history of that timepiece into its 1,500-square-foot Beverly Hills boutique. While current collections dominate the displays nearest the entrance, the world of the Reverso, a watch originally designed for polo players and introduced in 1931, can be found just beyond, from a look at the style’s heritage to an ability to order a piece with a personalized caseback.
A VIP lounge also has been included in the new store’s design for customers who prefer private consultations, while nearby a selection of “Métiers Rares” pieces showcase Jaeger-LeCoultre’s talent and history with watchmaking and decorative handcraft; 430 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills, jaeger-lecoultre.com
Crafted of brass, the shimmering laser-cut façade on Piaget’s newest boutique is meant to evoke thoughts of the house’s distinctive gold Milanese mesh, employed both in its jewelry and for bracelets on its men’s and women’s watches. The store’s interiors play off the façade in a mix of lighter tones that honor the brand’s new surroundings — “what we think California is all about, so it’s a bit of a California touch to our boutique, while keeping our identity,” Benjamin Comar, CEO of Piaget, told The Hollywood Reporter.
Piaget opened its first Rodeo Drive boutique in 2014 before moving to a temporary space on nearby Brighton in 2020. The return to the status of a Rodeo address was always the plan for the brand. “We have a great history with the U.S. — the Polo watch was designed for the U.S. market [in 1979] — so for us it’s very important to come back to Rodeo Drive,” Comar says. Among the newest pieces seen in the Beverly Hills boutique is the Piaget Polo Skeleton, just 7.35mm thick, with the self-winding skeleton movement surrounded by 1,478 brilliant-cut diamonds on the 42mm white-gold case and bracelet. It’s among the pieces, Comar notes, that define the brand’s signature blend of “extravaganza with elegance.”
Also key to the 1,192-square-foot boutique is a private suite dedicated to showing high jewelry. The boutique also recently unveiled a new skeleton-watch-inspired sculpture by artist Anthony James, whose work can be seen in the new film Glass Onion; 465 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills
Thanks in part to its ongoing partnership with Westtime, Tudor, sister company to Rolex, recently opened its first monobrand boutique in L.A. at the open-air Westfield Century City, and its location likewise inspires thoughts of its revered sibling, as it’s situated directly across from the Gearys Rolex boutique. The brand known for its iconic Black Bay dive watches created a shop that offers a comprehensive selection while also highlighting its signature black, red and white palette. A heritage display known as the Experience Table also is featured; Westfield Century City, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, tudorwatch.com
The British-made brand founded by brothers Nick and Giles English makes all of its in-house manufactured watches at its headquarters in Henley on Thames, England. The brothers, who founded the company out of a love of historic aircraft, have now opened a shop in Los Angeles located inside the sprawling Bike Shed Motorcycle Company social club and restaurant in DTLA. New Bremont offerings include the 40mm Supernova in stainless steel with an integrated bracelet, released in conjunction with Tár and 1917 actor Mark Strong joining the brand as an ambassador.
He recently told THR that one of his favorite pieces at the moment is “the Bremont Longitude, which has some of the original Flamsteed Meridian Line from the Greenwich Observatory built into it and features new Bremont engineering, all made in the U.K. It’s just a beautiful thing to wear and has a wonderful feature: a red dot appears in the power reserve window and fills up as the watch is fully wound, to mimic the red ball at the top of the Greenwich Observatory”; Bike Shed Motor Company, 1580 Industrial St., downtown Los Angeles, bremont.com
Dubbed “CPO” for “certified pre-owned,” the latest Westime location occupies the second floor above the retailer’s Beverly Hills flagship and is sure to be frequented by aficionados seeking the pieces they couldn’t score the first time around. Measuring a substantial 4,500 square feet, Westime’s CPO boutique promises to carry both pre-owned and limited-edition pieces from Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, MB&F, Urwerk and others.
“I love the proximity of our retail boutique to the CPO location because it gives Westime the opportunity to display the impressive history of the watch brands by presenting a number of their very own watches from multiple eras,” says Westime president Greg Simonian. “Upstairs, clients can see the decades-long evolution of a line of watches and downstairs find the newest watches that could only be produced today thanks to that rich history.” A Richard Mille lounge also has been designed to enable fans of that brand to peruse out-of-production pieces, while Simonian adds that the location will unveil drops of newly acquired pieces every two weeks to ensure a steady stream of additions to its selection; 206 North Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, westime.com
While hammer prices on watches at auction have softened recently, there’s no denying that collectors have discovered they can acquire long-coveted pieces by bidding, rather than buying. The strength of the L.A. market for both pricey watches and works of art is among the reasons London-based Phillips chose to open its latest showroom in West Hollywood. And make no mistake, watches are part of the plan, as evidenced by a recent exhibition of select pieces at the just-opened space, including a circa-1970 Cartier London Crash and a Grand Seiko Kodo Constant-Force Tourbillon, timepieces that will be among its upcoming The New York Watch Auction: Seven, set for Dec. 10-11.
“We are proud to take this opportunity to expand Phillips’ global footprint with a permanent gallery space in the heart of Los Angeles, as we simultaneously open a new state-of-the-art saleroom in Hong Kong’s West Kowloon,” Stephen Brooks, CEO of Phillips, said in a statement. “It’s become clear — now more than ever — that the market is truly international. As we break down barriers and broaden our reach, we look forward to deepening our relationships with our community of collectors across the world”; 9041 Nemo St., West Hollywood, phillips.com
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