Watches of Switzerland at 155 Regent Street in London set a new benchmark for luxury retail space in the capital when it opened in 2014. Now Rox, a six-store independent headquartered in Glasgow, wants to create a similar impact in Scotland.
The business has acquired the lease on a space formerly occupied by H.Samuel in the historic Argyll Arcade in the heart of Glasgow’s shopping district, along with a much larger space behind the store in a currently derelict building.
Together, they add up to 5000 square feet on a single floor that can be opened up into a vast retail space.
Rox has a reputation for creating visually striking interiors. The Thrill Room on the first floor of its current Argyll Arcade store was ahead of its time when it opened ten years ago with boutique hotel-style fixtures and furnishings, mirrored ceilings, staff trained to 5-star hospitality standards and a champagne bar.
The aim is to take another great leap forward with the vast new space, co-managing directors Kyron Keogh and Grant Mitchell (pictured top) told WatchPro on a visit to the site yesterday.
At 5000 square feet, the showroom would be the biggest on the Argyll Arcade, a luxury watch destination where retail giants including Laings, Chisholm Hunter and Mappin & Webb compete.
The heat of competition in Central Glasgow does pose a challenge for Rox, because the biggest watch brands: Rolex, Patek Philippe, Omega, Breitling, TAG Heuer and Cartier, are already represented. The Watches of Switzerland Group is also opening an Omega boutique opposite the entrance to the Arcade on Buchanan Street.
Rox has one Ace and a few of useful picture cards up its sleeve in the form of Audemars Piguet, Hublot, Tudor and Chopard, which it has agency for in Glasgow and could be anchor brands in a space that, like 155 Regent Street, could have space for several branded shop in shops.
The company is also an authorised dealer for Gucci and TAG Hueur (Newcastle-only), Zenith and Bremont.
Opening up into the derelict six-story building behind Argyll Arcade could create an additonal frontage for the new space. WatchPro was shown around the back, which is currently the sort of dark alley best avoided in inner cities like Glasgow, but the landlord of the derelict building has plans to open it up as part of reviving the property. Rox might take a floor as its head office, Mr Mitchell hinted.
The new Rox concept store will be the company’s third store in the Argyll Arcade. It will be developed in two phases. Initial works have commenced to restore the original 900 sq ft boutique in the Argyll Arcade. Fit out has already started with the new boutique expected to open mid-November in time for the Christmas shopping period.
Phase two of the project is scheduled to begin next year and likely to open after summer 2020..
It is expected to house a champagne bar, private shopping areas, a whisky and cigar lounge, a Rox Café, and the branded shop in shops.
In addition there will be an exhibition and events space where arts and fashion partnerships and pop-ups will be regularly showcased.
Rox will also unveil a workshop area, to bring customers even closer to the product and reinforce the craftsmanship that goes into Rox’s jewellery.
“We have been planning this Rox concept store for many years and as we celebrate 10 years of success of the ‘Thrill Room’ at our Argyll Arcade flagship, now is the perfect time to evolve our experiential offer and create something truly unique. Phase two of the development will bring the Rox brand to life in an inspirational and interactive setting,” says Mr Keogh.
“Buying habits have changed and consumers are shopping in a completely different way to how they did 10 years ago, especially in the luxury sector. The new store will be quintessentially Rox but we also know we must appeal to a new generation of luxury shopper that has grown up in the digital era and live their life at the forefront of fashion. For us this project is all about redefining the brand-consumer relationship,” he adds.