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Thread: The Boutique Trend

  1. #1
    Hall Monitor Samanator's Avatar
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    Oct 2014
    Pompano Beach, Florida

    The Boutique Trend

    So Saturday I attended an Basel World 2015 event at the Aventura Florida Omega Boutique. My friend and I parked by the food court entrance of the Mall, which is the closest exit to the boutique. On the way there noticed that most of the brands there now are following Omega in the boutique model. I saw Breitling, Rolex, Corum, Invicta, Mont Blanc, UN, Tag... I believe Mayors split off the Rolex store into a separate shop, but I did not get the chance to go in and confirm this. I know that NY has a Grand Seiko and Bremont Boutique. I can see this model working for some brands, but as I expected I never saw a single person in the Corum store when we walked by 5 times over a 3 hour period. I'm not certain I see this as a good thing, and for some brands it just does not make sense. What do you think?


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  2. #2
    rolex pic as answer guy mikeylacroix's Avatar
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    Nov 2014
    KL, Malaysia
    The Hour Glass group here just tried a boutique concept with some of the brands they hold..
    where its one shop front in a mall split into separate cells/lounges for different interesting to see how it pans out

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  4. #3
    For many brands it works well. Makes them stand out and helps smaller brands not get overlooked as easily. I'm sure Bremont is gaining more following since their shop opened. Corum's bubble watch is coming back and as a presentation in a boutique it may be a hit. I think boutiques are great and the purchasing experience is probably top notch except the full retail they insist on charging.

  5. #4
    A boutique is not just a retail outlet, it is also an advert for the brand, and a way of building credibility. So ascertaining its financial worth is tricky.

  6. #5
    I think it will harm brands in the long run as they pull ADs in favor of running their own shops.
    First, retail isn't their core competency. They should stick to making watches and let people experienced in luxury retail sell to the public.
    Second, even if they provide an amazing "boutique experience" is it really going to keep you from going to the AD down the road and saving 20%+ percent?
    (This obviously doesn't apply to a brand like Rolex, whose ADs don't really budge on price).
    I know a lot of these boutiques cater to international travelers, but I'm not sure that's sufficient to sustain a retail store in a lot of these locations.
    I think you'll see sales drop as some brands force out their AD network in favor of boutiques and the consumer can no longer get a break.

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  8. #6
    Rolex AD will budge on price boutiques won't. If one AD says they won't don't think they all are like that. Coming from someone who purchased 2 Rolex models with 10% from two ADs at various points over the last few years....and agree 100%. As much as I enjoyed the boutique experience the one time I did it it's not worth hundreds of thousands in savings I can get from a dealer willing to negotiate
    Last edited by -JP; Aug 17, 2015 at 01:38 PM.

  9. #7
    El bot. geoffbot's Avatar
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    Oct 2014
    West Sussex, UK
    In the Omega boutique in London they said 'we don't discount here' so I said 'then I don't shop here'.
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  11. #8
    Mountebank MarkO's Avatar
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    Nov 2014
    Turks and Caicos Islands
    I purchased my Breitling at the Boutique in NYC, I had looked at SOH in other stores but it was at the boutique where they seemed to have every possible combination of colour/strap/bracelet . I spent with them because I only had one day to shop and could not wait for another shop to order the combination I wanted. To be fair I didn't know the combination I wanted until I was in the boutique anyway.
    When I was buying another watch from a store that also sold Breitling the sales assistant asked where I purchased the Breitling and was quite keen to confirm I had not had any cash discount and paid full retail.

    I also quite like the idea of Boutique special editions.

    I think there needs to be a distinction between a retail shop that has "store within a store" concept and the true bricks and mortar stand alone boutique.
    MB2, SOH, Aquascope, Tangente, MM300, Blackbay, North Flag, Officer, Visitor.

  12. #9
    Moderator - Central tribe125's Avatar
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    Oct 2014
    Kent - UK
    I don't mind boutiques unless they're the exclusive outlet for the brand.

  13. #10
    The only reason I can think of to buy in a boutique (as opposed to just looking) is, as MarkO mentioned, if there is a special edition only available there that is compelling. Although honestly, I don't know that there is a special edition compelling enough that I would pay boutique prices. It's also a delicate balance for any manufacturer that has distribution to also sell direct. They've got to keep the prices high if they want to keep their distributors happy, and they also can't overdo the "boutique specials" to the point where they are the most attractive products and no one wants their regular fare.

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