Can an independent jeweller on Marylebone High Street compete with the boutiques of Bond Street or the luxury department stores of Knightsbridge?
Marylebone’s New Cavendish Jewellers proves it can, particularly in the past 12 months when its customers have been selecting more and more sophisticated timepieces. “This year, we have consistently delivered high complications to clients all year round for the first time, hopefully showing the brands that we have both the clients and the ability to match our ambition above and beyond the easier catalogue pieces,” says general manager Jitesh N. Shah, the current custodian of the family business.
The London fine watch scene is like no other in the UK, with a massive distortion from tourists seeking out brands and individual pieces within collections that they cannot find in their home countries. Marylebone is just slightly off the beaten track for these buyers (one mile from the Watches of Switzerland flagship on Regent Street), which makes Jitesh’s achievement all the more remarkable.
It has taken over 30 years to bring the business to this point, and it has been the patient building of long term trust and relationships – with both brands and customers – that has been the key. “The single most important factor in building our business has been recommendation and referral. The calibre of client that takes delivery of these super complications usually runs in circles of similar interests. Once they have found someone they can trust with such purchases in terms of knowledge and service, they rarely tend to go elsewhere. When you are looking at certain levels of complication, the money stops being the concern, rather the experience is more important,” Jitesh explains.
As with many in the horology world, Jitesh appreciates a sense of time, and loves little more than studying archaeology and appreciating the current world’s position in the context of history. “I like the idea that the past has helped shape the future, that we are ever aware of our past when moving forward. Nothing epitomises this more than the Natural History Museum – the architecture alone makes it one of my favourite buildings in London but what it houses makes it the most important,” he reveals.