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Creating stylish yet relaxed private environments in which to connect with clients is a rage in the luxury world, whether it be Gucci’s new appointment-only store on Melrose Avenue or the fact that Chanel devotes two out of four floors of its just-opened Rodeo Drive flagship to VIP suites.
Swiss luxury watchmaker Vacheron Constantin has arrived in West Hollywood with another lure: Suite 1755, an appointment-only hotel suite-turned-shopping experience that just opened inside the West Hollywood Edition hotel on the Sunset Strip.
The suite — which is open through early July while Vacheron Constantin renovates its Rodeo Drive boutique — invites clients to not only look at and try on seductive timepieces but also encourages them to hang a while. Near the entrance there’s a foosball table and a record player along with a collection of vinyl, plus an electric guitar from L.A.’s Norman’s Rare Guitars. Outside is a large wrap-around terrace to sit and enjoy views of Los Angeles.
Alexander Schmiedt, president of Vacheron Constantin for the Americas, calls the suite an “alternative concept” to a traditional store. “It’s more experience-based, more private and very adapted to the local environment. We wanted to let our clients, watch lovers, experience the brand in a different way and in a very L.A. way.”
That Los Angeles flavor is right there when guests walk in the front door. The watch brand commissioned L.A.-based artist Gregory Siff to paint a wallpaper-like mural just inside the entry, with motifs in gold and silver ranging from palm trees and strips of celluloid to images of Vacheron Constantin’s manufactory just outside Geneva and its Maltese cross logo. “It’s the icons of L.A. and the icons of Vacheron,” says Schmiedt.
Elsewhere in the suite, there are photos by Sid Avery of classic Hollywood stars including Marlon Brandon and Elizabeth Taylor. Below the photo of Brando is a Vacheron Constantin gold dress watch with patterned dial that Zsa Zsa Gabor gave to the star after he won the 1954 Oscar for On the Waterfront. The inscription says, “To Marlon Love Zsa Zsa June 24, 1954.” Also on display is a rare Metiers D’Art Kalla Haute Couture timepiece that’s reminiscent of a diamond-covered Kalla watch that Michael Jackson once gifted Elizabeth Taylor. “You can see really the evolution of jewelry and watches together — using [a watch] as something almost akin to a bracelet,” says Schmiedt. “It’s a very special piece from our collection.”
The suite has even been built out with an interior column that at the top is shaped like the Vacheron Constantin Maltese cross. “It’s very much California-style classic laid-back elegance, the indoor and outdoor,” says Schmiedt of the overall L.A.-bungalow-inspired design of Suite 1755, whose name is taken from the year that Vacheron Constantin was founded.
The watchmaker has also brought in another wow timepiece for visitors to see and (carefully) handle: an original 222 sports watch. Designed by Jörg Hysek in 1977, the piece was reintroduced last year in yellow gold, drawing raves in the watch world. Earlier this year, the new 222 was spotted on the wrist of Brad Pitt.
In between playing foosball, guests can also check out Vacheron Constantin’s novelties for 2023, including a Traditionelle Tourbillon featuring a gorgeous deep green dial and three models with retrograde functions such as the new Overseas Moon Phase Retrograde Date. “It’s a very classic complication in a watch that really bridges that gap between sporty and elegance,” says Schmiedt.
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