The Alpe d’Huez in the French Alps is an 8.6 mile stretch of tarmac with 21 hairpin bends and an average gradient of 8.1%. It is one of the most famous climbs in the Tour de France, and a magnet for cycling enthusiasts looking for one of the greatest challenges in their sport.
It is also on the To-Do List for Mark Toulson, head of watch buying for Aurum Holdings in a year when he will also open Watches of Switzerland’s extraordinary flagship store on London’s Regent Street.
The parallels in the two challenges are hard to ignore. Mark and his team are putting their hearts and souls into the new store, which will become the embodiment of everything that Watches of Switzerland represents.
“The new store is almost the mothership for what the rest of the Watches of Switzerland estate will become over the coming years. It has been an incredible project to be involved in. It’s been very time-consuming but will be amazing when it opens this summer,” he promises. “This store really will be a game-changer in the market and has some revolutionary digital technology that will amaze people,” he adds.
Mark isn’t just winning with Watches of Switzerland. His team of 17 is also scoring huge victories in the fashion end of the watch market with Goldsmiths and with the prestige brands at Mappin & Webb. “From a team perspective the greatest achievement has been the growth of our fashion watch business in Goldsmiths. I’m lucky enough to have a terrific team who are all over brands such as Michael Kors, Armani etc. They do a splendid job,” he enthuses.