Harrington & Hallworth was joint winner of the WatchPro Luxury Independent Watch Retailer of the Year in 2016 thanks to the team’s impeccable focus on customer service for the wealthy residents of Manchester’s commuter belt.
Watch specialist Tim Heapy accompanies co-owners Peter Harrington and Alf Hallworth to Baselworld (pictured top), where luxury brands including Hublot, IWC, Cartier and TAG Heuer roll out the red carpet for a retailer that averages a price of £20,000 for every watch it sells from its Wilmslow, Cheshire, boutique.
To give an idea of their clientele, Peter Harrington recalls his favourite moment of previous Baselworlds: “I was standing in the rooftop garden at Hublot when Sir Alex Ferguson walk on. Lady Cathy and Alex are great supporters of my business so I was the only person he recognised. The receptionist had failed to recognise their VIP guest and just sent him up like everyone else. I think I saved the day,” he laughs. Sir Alex was introduced to Jean-Claude Biver that day so it might have been the start of discussions that led to this year’s partnership between TAG Heuer and Manchester United.
This type of chance meeting at Baselworld has led to many multi-million pound deals, and will continue to do so, but the Harrington & Hallworth team does not recommend approaching the exhibition without a clear strategy and trusting to luck. “Have a priority list and if there is any spare time left do the whimsies. Remember it is nice to chat but time is precious,” the team advises.
The company already knows that prices will be rising in 2017, but is content that the market is fair. “Inevitably prices will be high with so much uncertainty with every currency and such dramatic fluctuations. It is reasonable to see why brands have increased their profit margins to cushion any eventuality,” Mr Harrington says.
Harrington and Hallworth is opening a third boutique in central Manchester this year. That could mean new brands being added to its roster, and will certainly increase pressure on the team to secure exclusive pieces at Basel.
To unwind, they head over the border to Lorrach in Germany where they enjoy the local cuisine. “We like to chill in the evening and we go home to Lorrach where we can have a good sturdy German dinner, a walk around the town and a visit to the ice cream parlour,” Mr Harrington admits.