The United Kingdom is one of the most sophisticated markets in the world for brick and mortar stores that keep people flocking in for exceptional personal service in sumptuous showrooms when buying watches.
It is one of the great treats of being editor WatchPro that I get to visit many of the incredible new stores that are being opened by independents and multiples across the country.
The voting for the Best New Store of the Year was predictably tight, with 114 completed ballot forms from watch brand executives deciding the winner.
Having visited all but two of the finalists, I can testify that any one of them would have been worthy winners, and probably would have romped home if competing with showrooms in any other country but the UK.
But there can be only one winner, and this year it is the new Watches of Switzerland store in Brighton that took the trophy, which was presented on stage to Matt Shields, UK Retail Director for Watches of Switzerland, by Jean-Philippe Balon, international director at ICE-Watch, which sponsored the award.
Executives at watch brands were asked in an invitation-only poll to give their views on the quality of retailers in a short list of finalists. A weighted score (shown in brackets alongside the retailers’ names) is given to each choice of ‘Very Good’, ‘Excellent’ and ‘Exceptional’ to decide the winner.