New York—Tourneau opened the doors today not only to its latest store, situated on Madison Avenue at 53rd Street, but into what stores executives call a totally new experience in watch retailing.
Re-imagining Watch Retailing
The 3,135 square foot store has with 20-foot ceilings and video screens embedded into the walls that run individual minute long time-released videos. Instead of the traditional caseline found in its other stores, and most watch retailers, Tourneau employs eight large watch tables made of walnut, brushed nickel, and leather that are approachable on all sides and equipped with seating and inventory storage below.
While the 30 watch brands sold in the store are identified with name plaques in the displays, all the point-of-sale brand collateral and branded case displays are gone. Instead the emphasis is on Tourneau.
Vitrines along the wall feature a special watches with accompanying videos behind them. The rear wall has a museum-like display of new, unusual and quirky watch brands. And in every direction, videos, many of them atmospheric, turn on and off.
According to James “Jim” Seuss, Tourneau’s ceo, “As a company we are looking to modernize the experience of watch purchasing, by using new technologies and ways of engagement to shape the customer’s experience.”
In reshaping that customer experience, Tourneau departs from the “behind the counter” client/sales relationship. Instead, sales associates on the floor, ready with their tablet computers to look up client’s accounts, show them the latest watch information online, etc. Each watch table also has a seating area in keeping with the conversational approach to selling. Even the service department has entered the digital age. Using the QLess system, clients can text, email or phone to the service department which contacts them via text message, providing a specific time.
Designed by Eight Inc., the architects who designed stores for Apple and Virgin Atlantic, the modern, clean look of the store has a purpose. “We began by focusing on the customers’ needs and exploring ways to better meet them,” said Wilhelm Oehl, Eight Inc. principal. “We incorporated thoughtful design solutions and integrated digital elements in a way that is meaningful and parallel with Tourneau’s vision to create a memorable experience for their customers.”
In addition, the space boasts New York’s first freestanding Rolex boutique showcasing the Swiss brands wide assortment. Tourneau also has a Rolex boutique in Chicago and will probably build more in the future.
While store executives haven’t laid out a timeline yet for upgrading other locations, Seuss, who started as ceo in March 2010, has already supervised a new brand campaign for Tourneau, plans a new state of the art website, and new Tourneau brand watch assortment. Seuss, who previously was ceo at Cole Haan, also was president at Harry Winston, and ceo at Stella McCartney.
Established in 1900, Tourneau is the leading retailer of luxury watches in the United States, offering more than 100 world famous brands, including Rolex, Patek Philippe, Cartier, Omega, Breitling, and TAG Heuer, in more than 8,000 styles. The company’s 30-plus stores also sell Certified Pre-Owned timepieces and watches under the Tourneau brand. Considered “the watch authority,” Tourneau is known for its extensive selection and unparalleled customer service.