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As Patek Philippe cuts 30% of its doors, WatchPro visits three that have just opened

There are no contradictions in the direction of travel for Patek Philippe and its family of retail partners. The brand wants its watch to be presented in the finest stores in only the best locations.

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Rob Corder.

Patek Philippe’s plan to reduce its global network of stores by 30% has been a wake-up call for retail partners that have not kept pace with what the ever-rising standards the brand expects of its retailers.

Gone are the days when a couple of cabinets and some brand-approved furniture would cut the mustard, today a visit to browse or buy Patek Philippe watches should be an immersion into a world of precision, passion and luxury.

Which is why, at a time when so many Patek Philippe doors are closing, I have visited no fewer than three showrooms in the past fortnight that have only just opened.

There are no contradictions in the direction of travel for Patek Philippe and its family of retail partners. The brand wants its watch to be presented in the finest stores in only the best locations.

This often means that retailers that once had a number of stores offering Patek Philippe have been asked to reduce that number and concentrate only on their very best.

Some of these retailers have taken pre-emptive action and opened in entirely new locations.

Govberg Jewelers in Philadelphia is a good example. It has stocked Patek Philippe at its multibrand showrooms in the city for decades, but has decided to invest in an entirely new monobrand showroom in the Miami Design District.

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Outside and inside the new Patek Philippe showroom in the Miami Design District.

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London Jewelers, which dominates the luxury jewelry and watches landscape on Long Island, NY, has also invested in a completely new showroom in Short Hills, New Jersey, which offers Patek Philippe alongside its portfolio or the finest jewelry. Next door, it has opened a Rolex boutique, just to make sure its watch offer has the pulling power of a Star Ship Enterprise Tractor Beam.

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London Jewelers with Patek Philippe in the ultra affluent Short Hills mall.

In the UK, I visited a new Patek Philippe shop-in-shop that Berry’s Jewellers has just opened in the historic city of York.

Right next to York Minster, in a building that dates back to the 15th century, the store offers the required mix of exclusivity, hospitality and luxury.

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Patek Philippe with Berry’s Jewellers in the historic centre of York.

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The point of the story is that there not be fewer Patek Philippe watches out in the world, it may even become easier to buy them because fewer points of sale will have more inventory in each of them.

And the customer experience should be better and better.

Patek Philippe is handling the reconfiguration with sensitivity, but needs to make sure it reaches the required number of world-wide stores and then lets the dust settle for a while.

Its retail partners are prepared to increase their investment in the finest Patek Philippe spaces, but they will then need to be rewarded with a period of stability so they can profit from that investment.

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  1. In my opinion, and that of many I know, the purest form of an authorized dealer (AD) is a manufacturer store without intermingling a jeweler in the relationship equation. For example, Patek Salons and to a lesser extent, Rolex Boutiques, which are sometimes ran by local AD’s but in mono-branded stores. All else lends itself to manipulation by the jeweler as I’ve experienced.

    I’ve had bad experiences with local AD’s who also sell no-brand gem jewelry trying to coerce me to buy a certain amount of no-brand gem jewelry from them to be eligible to buy a Patek. The whole industry seems shady. I own a couple of Patek’s purchased directly from their salons/stores in Europe without issues, but this AD model with off-brand jewelry concept has now soured my interest in the brand.

    It seems Patek Philippe is now in the business of helping jewelers sell their non-Patek products, since only then then can future buyers purchase Patek Philippe timepieces. This in my opinion, is exactly completely the opposite of what the brand should portray.

    Rolex Boutiques for example, are mono-branded stores that are opened in partnerships with local market jewelers, but are not ran with the condition of customers having to purchase other non-designer jewelry items to prioritize the sale of a timepiece.

    Patek Philippe has lost our business, and that of our watch collecting friends and family. Until they value the customer relationships that matter to them and not the jewelers, they will not succeed in my opinion. It has to be a win-win for everyone for the model to endure.

    Only time will tell who is right, but what I know for sure, is they are losing their loyal customer base who are not interested in playing those games.

  2. The experience at some of the new boutiques may be exquisite. But some of us that have cultivated relationships with our smaller ADs are having to travel to different regions/states only to be told that we will not have any value till we develop a buying history.

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