Watches of Switzerland store, London

  • The Time Wheel digital touch-screen feature celebrates the longevity and brand heritage of Watches of Switzerland. Photo Credit: 2014 Callison LLC

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  • The Calibre Room features marble flooring offsetting walnut and stainless steel fixtures Photo Credit: 2014 Callison LLC

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  • The capacious ground floor enables events and gatherings to be held. Photo Credit: 2014 Callison LLC

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  • The store’s glass lift and wraparound staircase. Photo Credit: 2014 Callison LLC

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  • Integrated lighting in the stair treads reflects off the curved and fluted bronze glass wall first floor boutique. Photo Credit: 2014 Callison LLC

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  • Basement service lounge. Photo Credit: 2014 Callison LLC

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  • The VIP space, on the first floor. Photo Credit: 2014 Callison LLC

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Everyone has time to browse, admire and buy luxury watches in the new store in Regent Street, London for Watches of Switzerland, lavishly created and appointed in glass, rich wood and metals by design practice Callison.

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Client: Watches of Switzerland

Architecture/Design: Callison

Duration: 22 months

Size: 1,580 sq m

Cost: Confidential


Words by Emily Martin

Everyone has time to browse, admire and buy luxury watches in the new store in Regent Street, London for Watches of Switzerland, lavishly created and appointed in glass, rich wood and metals by design practice Callison.

For its new flagship store, Watches of Switzerland wanted an engaging environment to inspire, educate, and entertain customers while showcasing a large range of luxury watch brands and timepieces. 'The Watches of Switzerland Regent Street store is not just about luxury and service,' says design director Tom Pulk, of design practice Callison New York, which collaborated with Callison London office to deliver the store design. 'The intention was to create an intelligent retail environment that offers an immersive retail experience with a theatrical element.' Fashioned as a multilayered retail destination, the landmark store can be described as three stores in one, with each floor of the three storeys offering distinctive shopping experiences, Pulk tells me.

The Calibre Room features marble flooring offsetting walnut and stainless steel fixtures Photo Credit: 2014 Callison LLC
The Calibre Room features marble flooring offsetting walnut and stainless steel fixtures. Photo Credit: 2014 Callison LLC

Starting on the ground floor six boutique showrooms house some of the world's leading luxury watch brands, with video screens displaying news, scheduled in-store events, video interviews and brand-specific information. The touch-screen technology invites shoppers to interact with historical content, with technology playing a key role on every floor. And with a space capable of hosting hundreds of people at once, accommodating 'in-store theatre' exhibitions and other events was also a key factor for Watches of Switzerland. 'All operations are discreetly placed around the perimeter of each floor,' says Pulk, which also allows staff to deliver a 'seamless and exemplary service'.

The capacious ground floor enables events and gatherings to be held. Photo Credit: 2014 Callison LLC
The capacious ground floor enables events and gatherings to be held. Photo Credit: 2014 Callison LLC

A bespoke glass lift and wraparound staircase of marble, glass and metal connects the floors. Lighting integrated into the staircase's treads and metal railing shimmers and reflects off the three-storey high, curved and fluted bronze glass wall that surrounds the stairs to create the illusion of a timepiece's internal mechanisms.

The store’s glass lift and wraparound staircase. Photo Credit: 2014 Callison LLC
The store's glass lift and wraparound staircase. Photo Credit: 2014 Callison LLC

Callison's in-house lighting design team, led by architectural lighting designer Jules Gim, delivered the store's lighting design scheme. 'To create elegance and sophistication throughout the space, the lighting design concept accentuates key architectural elements and seamlessly integrates light sources within architectural details,' explains Pulk. 'A dimming system throughout controls and creates dramatic lighting for events and special occasions.' Gim and her team have ensured consistent lighting levels throughout the brand boutiques to create a uniform environment, while also ensuring the timepieces are lit for optimum viewing.

 Integrated lighting in the stair treads reflects off the curved and fluted bronze glass wall first floor boutique. Photo Credit: 2014 Callison LLC
Integrated lighting in the stair treads reflects off the curved and fluted bronze glass wall first floor boutique. Photo Credit: 2014 Callison LLC

Downstairs the Calibre Room is designed with a 'sophisticated international traveller' in mind. It houses more than 20 watch brands, a service area for repairs, cleaning, and appraisals, and an elegant customer lounge. Light and bright, the contrasting Calacatta marble flooring with walnut and stainless steel fixtures seamlessly integrates the customer assisting technology: a glass touch-panel displays various timepieces and customer interactivity, as well as a large digital surface - 'the time wheel' - that highlights the longevity and brand heritage of Watches of Switzerland. With an interface reminiscent of the technology featured in the movies (think of Minority Report), customers can interact with historical content via its multilingual touch screen.

Basement service lounge. Photo Credit: 2014 Callison LLC
Basement service lounge. Photo Credit: 2014 Callison LLC

For the VIP client and collector there is a private and exclusive experience on the first floor. Designed to extend a customer's stay, five ultra high-end brand boutiques and a VIP lounge caters for a watch connoisseur. 'Each floor has a specific material palette calibrated to its clientele and respective dwell times,' says Pulk. 'They range from the lightest palette as used in the Calibre Room, where time spent ranges from 10 to 45 minutes, to the darkest palette with smoky marble floors for the VIP client who might stay for several hours.'

The VIP space, on the first floor. Photo Credit: 2014 Callison LLC
The VIP space, on the first floor. Photo Credit: 2014 Callison LLC

With so many prestigious brands under one roof, Callison was mindful to ensure that the Watches of switzerland store design supported each brand with equal presence and attention - as well as maintaining a cohesive design throughout, as demonstrated in the lighting scheme. 'The key was to differentiate each brand through signage and graphics,' says Pulk. 'Within the individual boutiques, each brand has a unique presence through custom caselines and finishes.'

Main Suppliers

Furniture
Minotti, Walter Knoll, Giorgetti, B&B Italia, Arper, Tacchini, Bernhardt, Metalarte, Foscarini

Lighting
Prandina , QisDesign

Stone
Reed Harris





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