Bucherer/Rolex Luxury shopping in London
The Rolex store in Knightsbridge, which is run by Bucherer, has just reopened after revamping. This summer, it offers a rare selection of gem-set Day-Date and Datejust pieces.
The landmarks of London’s Knightsbridge are enticingly world famous and compactly located: the shopping meccas of Harrods and Harvey Nichols sit a stone’s throw from the V&A, Science and National History museums, not to mention the Royal Albert Hall and Hyde Park. More recently joining the list in 2011 was the super visible Rolex flagship, run by Bucherer 1888, at the luxury residential complex One Hyde Park — and which from this month becomes even more of a destination following an extensive revamp. Now the biggest Rolex boutique in Europe, its re-opening is marked by the availability of an unprecedented number of gem-set Day-Date and Datejust pieces in stock.
The Rolex store in Knightsbridge © Bucherer
The new store design is part of an overall rollout — this is the second such boutique, after Dubai — with refitted accents that recall a fluted Rolex bezel, with metal, opaque gold and translucent glass that are contrasted by bronze, walnut wood and striated limestone. The look offers a warm, inviting environment that reflects changing buying habits.
“Previously you could see the boutique all at once, but now there is more discovery and privacy,” says Bucherer’s UK chairman, David Coleridge, who points to a higher number of VIP rooms than average as an example of this new approach. “Customers don't stand and look at showcases now. They have an idea what they want. The ‘journey’ inside the shop is different. They come in, sit down, have a cup of tea and then we start showing them watches. It’s almost like a private appointment to look at a specific watch.”
This summer, the boutique will stock some 50 units of six different gem-set Day-Date and Datejust models, with a total value of £2.6m — which is among the largest and most valuable collection of gem-set watches in any Rolex store in the UK (and which has pushed up the store’s price average from around £11,000 to £12,500, says Bucherer). “We want to offer our customers what they can’t get in any other Rolex store,” says Coleridge. “That's what One Hyde Park is famous for and what it will be famous for in the future.” Rolex has around 120 stores in the UK, four of which are run by Bucherer.
The headline models include two diamond bezel Everose gold designs set on President bracelets: a diamond-paved Day-Date 40 (£65,000) with 10 baguette-cut diamonds, and a Datejust 28 (£28,900) with a divine aubergine diamond dial (£28,900). Yellow gold is represented by — again, diamond bezels on President bracelets — a Day-Date 36 (£49,400) with a mother-of-pearl dial and pavé Roman numerals, the latter which is also found on a Datejust 28 (£36,550). Finally, two diamond-bezel white gold models include a Day-Date 40 with a cool meteorite dial bedecked with 10 baguette-cut diamonds, while a Datejust 31 (£43,900) features mother-of-pearl butterflies fluttering across a pavé diamond dial.
Day-Date 40 © Rolex
Day-Date 40 © Rolex
Datejust 31 © Rolex
Coleridge admits that it’s “bullish and brave” to buy such top-end pieces, but this is what’s expected for a place like Knightsbridge. When the store opened in 2011, selling a £20,000 Rolex was a huge event. “Now we can sell two to three in a day,” says Coleridge. “The demand for that height is growing faster and faster.”
Customers from the Middle East and English tourists — ie, UK residents on a jaunt in the capital — make up around 60 per cent of the One Hyde Park clientele, adds Coleridge, with the rest “coming everywhere from Thailand to South America”, with no single group accounting for more than 5 per cent. Some customers even live upstairs in the apartment complex, underscoring the boutique’s enviable location.
“This time of year is when we see an uptick in clients from the Middle East, and we see wives and children, some husbands as well, walk past us to the park — and buy a watch on the way back.” Just another enviable feature of being right on the doorstep of exclusive Knightsbridge.