arije Interview With Carla Chalouhi
WorldTempus meets arije
In 2018 you completely refurbished arije’s Parisian flagship, on rue Pierre Charon. How have your customers responded?
The refurbishment has garnered identical reactions from customers and partners alike. They are amazed by our modern, minimalist interpretation of the luxury boutique, and by our discerning choice of natural and sophisticated materials. Our partners have described the Parisian flagship as “setting the standard”, a “palace”, even a “temple of luxury”. Two compliments in particular stand out: “You have created THE boutique in Europe” and “You have made this THE concept store for the whole of Paris”. arije was and remains Parisian first and foremost. That we should be seen as the ultimate destination for luxury shoppers from around the world makes us immensely proud.
You carry such iconic names as Rolex, Cartier, Bvlgari and Chanel. Has your customers’ perception of these luxury giants in any way changed?
Over time, they have developed a clearer understanding of individual brand identities, helped by digital and social media. Merchandising and scenography in the boutique leave brands free to express themselves and distinguish themselves one from the other, which results in a more visible, more recognisable brand universe. This new perception brings with it a wider, more diverse clientele that spans generations. Luxury is no longer about status; it’s about passion. Customers are more knowledgeable. Many of them are collectors who are curious to learn more, and who are seeking outstanding technical and artistic expertise.
Récital 23 © Bovet
In the sport-luxe watch segment, the likes of Tudor, Chopard’s Mille Miglia, Breitling, IWC or Omega, have you noticed different expectations from your customers who come from around the world?
More and more women are falling for the design of these “sport chic” watches. The segment is becoming particularly on point and appeals to women with very different aspirations, from fans of extreme sports to fashionistas, but who always know exactly what they want.
Are more women buying from the specialised independents such as Bovet?
Yes. This is a woman who cares as much about mechanisms as she does creativity and rarity. Storytelling is important to her, too. At Bovet, she’s drawn to the métiers d’art, dials made from sugar crystals, cases such as the Amadeo that transforms from a wristwatch to a desk clock or can be worn as a pendant, becoming a very special piece of jewellery.
Mille Miglia © Chopard
What connections are you making between art and watchmaking?
Excellence in watchmaking and jewellery is at the heart of the métiers d’art. Art is an essential value for the aesthete who, as they make their way through the boutique, can just as easily be drawn to a watch as to a piece of jewellery or an artwork. From one exceptional piece to another, arije seeks to develop that connection and show that it is possible. Our boutiques are home to extraordinary creations in the same way that the aesthete shares with us their constant passion for art and for artworks in general. arije intends to develop a concept around these “collections”. The first “Collections arije.paris” will be at the Prince de Galles in Paris.
Speedmaster 57 © Omega
You are a member of the Academy of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, the Oscars of watchmaking. Why is this important to you?
Because the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève is a major event in the watch world and we have been building our expertise in this field for 27 years now. This meeting of minds, this coming-together of knowledge and savoir-faire is both interesting and stimulating. Watchmaking is constantly evolving. We must ensure that our knowledge evolves too and strengthen our presence at the heart of this industry.
Carla Chalouhi © arije
A growing number of brands are opening their own boutiques and moving out of retailers. Which brands are most loyal to arije?
Certain brands have chosen to open their own boutiques as part of their retail strategy but this doesn’t mean we have been forgotten. Vacheron Constantin, for example, will no longer be represented at our flagship but we will be jointly opening a boutique in early 2023. In response to this trend, we are reinforcing our partnerships and developing monobrand boutiques, run by our teams. Thanks to the trust we have built with our partners - Rolex, Cartier, Audemars Piguet, Hublot, Bvlgari, Roger Dubuis, Piaget and Vacheron Constantin to name but a few -, we remain a leading player in watch and jewellery retail.
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