London-based design consultancy CAPELO and New York-based MNA have collaborated to design the new flagship store for Watches of Switzerland, at 60 Greene Street, in the heart of the fashionable SoHo district of New York City. Central to the project was the lighting solution, which was designed by CAPELO, MNA and Lighting Workshop.
Established in 1924, The Watches of Switzerland Group, is the largest luxury watch and jewellery retailer in the UK. The Greene Street store is the first Watches of Switzerland showroom in New York City, and the second in its new USA portfolio.
The brief given to the design team was to create a showroom synonymous with the luxury of premium watch brands, which would also reflect the character of the SoHo District and the fabric of the historic 1880s cast-iron building.
The store brings a welcome addition to the New York retail landscape by offering a shopping experience that includes timepieces from longstanding Watches of Switzerland brand partners along with vintage timepieces, an inhouse cocktail bar, a curated library of watch books and an evolving collection of photographic artwork.
With more than 8,300 square feet of retail space over two floors, the boutique has a stylish palette of materials including exposed brickwork and polished plaster walls, oak floors and tin tile ceilings. Together with a carefully considered lighting scheme, this creates an elegant backdrop for the products on display, while remaining sympathetic to the character of SoHo.
Linear LEDs highlight the 30ft wide street frontage, while track-mounted narrow beam LEDs located within an architectural pocket behind the façade provide accent light to the storefront window displays. Generous 12-foot ceilings house recessed twin narrow-beam LED adjustable spotlights which create a comfortable lighting backdrop. Original cast-iron columns, featuring decorative capitals, are lit by recessed narrow beam uplights which highlight the column detail.
The ground-floor retail space accommodates three branded in-store boutiques for Rolex, Patek Philippe and Cartier. Blackened steel-frame glazed partitioning delineates the individual spaces, while maintaining visibility and cohesiveness across the floor. Shop-in-shop units for Omega, Breitling, IWC Schaffhausen, Hublot and Jaeger-LeCoultre are positioned around the perimeter, while other leading watch brands are located within the multi-branded area surrounding the central staircase opening. Throughout the store, freestanding display cases feature stem- and arm-mounted continuous rectangular LED adjustable case lights, which add sparkle to the merchandise.
A feature digital, library and accessories wall draws attention to the blackened steel and oak staircase, encouraging the customer to venture down to the lower-ground level. A linear LED strip, surface mounted within the architectural detail, creates an unobtrusive lighting effect to the stairs, adding subtle visual interest.
Contrasting with the ground-floor retail space a cocktail bar, designed in partnership with Death & Co., one of New York City’s most influential cocktail lounges, provides the focal point to the lower-ground floor, its oak and marble counter, with brass and woven leather details, adding sophistication and complementing the high-end customer experience. Lee Broom pendant lamps and a decorative tin tile ceiling add to the period feel. Recessed pinhole dimmable LED downlights, with a narrow aperture, are located above the bar. These work with the decorative pendants to highlight the glasses, bottles and the bar counter. Windows behind the bar feature a linear LED grazing strip, which adds visual brightness, highlighting the translucence of the windows.
Intended as a respite for shoppers and a gathering place for enthusiasts and the local community, the WOS bar offers cocktails crafted exclusively for Watches of Switzerland clients. For the more literary-minded shopper, an intimate library/bookshop, curated by Esquire Fashion Director and noted watch enthusiast, Nick Sullivan, includes a range of books from biographies to anthologies to luxe coffee table favourites. Bookshelf display cases are framed by light from recessed adjustable linear LEDS, while the book shelves are lit by a surface-mounted linear LED strip.
Within the central section of the lower-ground floor, accent light is provided by track-mounted narrow-beam LEDs, while unobtrusive monopoint LEDs, with a black finish, are carefully positioned between the exposed beams, adding drama to the scene.
Positioned around the perimeter, shop-in-shop units for Tag Heuer and Tudor add to the brand line-up, while a dedicated service and repairs consultation area provides direct access to Watches of Switzerland’s expert watchmakers. Here, track mounted LEDs provide subtle, ambient light to ensure a comfortable environment.
“Our Watches of Switzerland SoHo flagship is a special achievement for us on many levels,” states Brian Duffy, CEO of The Watches of Switzerland Group. “From our choice of location, to the design and architectural detailing in the store, to our exceptional products, partners and the talented team we’ve assembled — all come together to make this an experience unlike any other in the watch industry today. This is an important first step in what promises to be an exciting journey as we expand into the US market.”
Lynda Murray, CAPELO comments: “With all needs catered for, the customer’s visit will benefit from carefully considered, luxury store design and the exceptional level of customer experience for which Watches of Switzerland is renowned.”
Client – Watches of Switzerland
Architectural and interior design consultancy – CAPELO & MNA
Lighting Designer: Lighting Workshop
Lead consultant/project manager – Watershed Partners, Inc.
Services Consultant – Rosini Engineering
Main contractor – Shawmut Design & Construction
Millwork contractor – Norclair
Photo credit – Peter Murdock
- Recessed twin narrow-beam LED adjustable spotlights – Lucent
- Recessed narrow beam uplights to column detail – MP Lighting
- Stem- and arm-mounted case lights – XAL
- Linear LED strip (stairs and cove) – Optic Arts
- Pinhole LED downlights, above the bar – Lucent
- Linear LED grazing strip to bar windows – Edge Lighting
- Recessed adjustable linear LEDS to bookshelf display cases – XAL
- Recessed twin LED spotlights in service and repairs area – Lucent
- Linear LEDs to storefront – Optic Arts
- Track-mounted narrow beam LEDs to storefront windows – Amerlux
- Monopoint LED accent light with black finish – Amerlux