HOT 100 2013: Dino D’Auria, Frost of London

At this end of Bond Street, in the store he co-founded and manages, Dino D’Auria has created a very special retail experience, one that has become a honeypot to the rock ‘n’ roll edit of the rich list. 

Here you will see the famous, royal and just plain rich, all after something that will set them apart from the wearers of more predictable marquee brands. Just as importantly, you will see them enjoying the service they are getting along the way.

“That is absolutely crucial,” says Dino, who has managed to put together a quirky brand list including many London exclusives and sells them with a very particular style of service perfect for his subtly youthful clientele. “No-one wants to shop at the same place as their parents and watches are the same as fashion. So while a sultan may go to Graff or Asprey, the younger generations in their family come here.”

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Why? “The service is different. It’s more relaxed, more laid back.” But not less attentive. And it’s almost certainly more personal. “If you go to some stores you could spend £60,000 on a watch and when you walk in the next day they won’t know who you are. If you come here and spend, say, £20,000 I will definitely remember you next year.” He adds that he often delivers to customers’ homes or keeps the store open for a late running customer.

It all stems from his shopfloor presence – which he says sets him apart from some rivals – and from which he learns about what customers want. He quotes the footballers who come in with friends, relax, play games and sip champagne as they decide which of his eclectic international brands to buy, including many less familiar in London than on foreign shores.

Dino explains that with such international footfall, his watch edit has to extend to styles that appeal to a rich blend of customers – and he must keep abreast of the international watch market. The lifeblood of it all, he says, is newness. With a youthful customer base, they expect him to deliver fresh product at a faster pace than may be traditional at high-end watch retail. “If they come back a month after their last visit, they will want to see something different. If there’s nothing, OK they’ll sit down, have a coffee, have a chat. But that won’t last long. Unless you are showing them something new on a really regular basis they will get bored.” But Dino won’t let that happen.

Dino D’Auria was selected as a Bremont Retail Titan in the WatchPro Hot 100 2013 in association with The Company of Master Jewellers. To read a digital version of the book in full online, click here.

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