Watch companies seem to open boutiques of their own brand more and more. Europastar posted on the 20th of December that Carl F. Bucherer has opened the first shop to sell Carl F. Bucherer watches exclusively.

Brands like IWC, Cartier and Omega have their boutiques popping up like mushrooms these days. This must be a real pain in the butt for the dealers who are located near these boutiques.


Picture taken from the IWC website

Why would someone go to a dealer and buy an IWC from them when there is this all nice dressed up IWC-only store only a street away? Unless you have some kind of relationship with a specific dealer. As a result of this, dealers probably will throw out these brands from their collection. Another option which is more likely (if the brand is part of their best selling brands in their collection), is to obtain these watches through different channels and offer them with some serious percentages off the retail price. I am talking gray import here ofcourse. Why would you, as a watch shop, release a good selling brand? I think brands with their own boutiques aren’t very respectful to their own dealer network to be honest.

Anyway, although this boutiques have all the fancy stuff inside, I prefer a watch shop (authorised dealer or not) to buy my watches from. In the end, it is about the watch. And if I can get the same watch for some decent %’s off with a warranty card and with the same good service, why not?

Robert-Jan Broer
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Robert-Jan Broer

Founder & Editor at Fratello Watches
Robert-Jan Broer, born in 1977, watch collector and author on watches for over a decade. Founder of Fratello Watches in 2004.
Robert-Jan Broer
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  • indeed boutiques are popping around in most international cities, but like you said, i prefer a normal AD, they have several brands and can give you a more neutral advice on watches and mostly also a better price. The staff in those boutiques are paid by the brand so don’t expect an objective judgement from them, and no price reduction either, I did a little test on this last summer in Zurich in the Omega store, and that was my conclusion. The only pro is that they mostly have all the models of the brand in stock!!

    cheers

    Patrick

  • The IWC boutique in the photo looks fantastic. Wow… hope they will come to my country soon.

  • I visited the new IWC boutique in Zurich this weekend, and frankly, the woman there was a little clueless. I prefer to buy from an authorized dealer that offers a better level of service.

    Boutiques generally open in areas where the brand already has a strong presence, so it’s not like they’re creating much competition for their dealers. Zurich has an Omega boutique, but almost every respectable Horologer carries Omega. If anything, they’re strengthening the brand, and they also can offer rare items that most dealers are not interested in carrying (or are unable to do so). The IWC store was selling the skeletonized F.A. Jones Portuguesier.