by roberta naas | March 21, 2012 | Watches & Jewelry
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Tourneau’s TNY (Tourneau New York) 44mm Bravest watch ($2,950) has subscript numerals in the signature red of New York’s firefighters. 510 Madison Ave., 212-758-5830. From Franck Muller, this Wall Street watch ($28,800) houses an automatic movement and is created in a limited edition of 100 pieces in 18k white gold. Tourneau, 12 E. 57th St., 212-758-7300. This Master watch from Movado ($8,000) has a 44mm black PVD-finished stainless steel case with pink sapphires for ultra luxury. Saks Fifth Avenue, 611 Fifth Ave., 212-753-4000. The quartz Manhattan watch by Jacob & Co. ($53,350) pays homage to New York by featuring buildings, locations, and neighborhoods carved on the dial. 48 E. 57th St., 212-719-5887
“New York ranks atop the greatest cities in the world for countless reasons—from its independent music scene, all the way to its modern architecture,” says Evan Yurman, David Yurman’s director of design, men’s, and timepieces. “But the thing I love most about New York is its unwavering energy. It’s inspiring, it’s tangible, and it’s turned up to 10 all the time. The electricity of New York has inspired me to design a special timepiece for those of us who live here. I wanted it to look commanding and masculine during the day, yet transition into the evening hours with style.”
The watch Yurman created is the Black Dial Chrono, a striking steel and black-diamond timepiece, now available exclusively in New York at David Yurman’s flagship location, a three-story townhouse on Madison Avenue. Evan is not the only designer to find inspiration in Manhattan and, more importantly, to be motivated to create limited-edition, exclusive-to-New York timepieces to appeal to the city’s discerning clientele. In recent months, other esteemed brands such as Vacheron Constantin, Breitling, and Chopard have opened luxury salons and concept stores along 57th Street and Madison and Fifth Avenues, prestigious boulevards already home to such distinguished labels as Panerai, Montblanc, and Omega.
The world’s oldest continually operating watch brand, Vacheron Constantin first established itself in North America in 1832. Although it has placed its timepieces on such distinguished men as Presidents Harry Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower and members of the Rockefeller family, the brand did not have a freestanding US boutique until opening its first North American flagship on Madison Avenue in July 2011. To commemorate the occasion, Vacheron Constantin built three watches available only at this location, including the stunning Patrimony Tradionnelle Calibre 2755 Boutique New York—an exceptional one-of-a-kind grand complication, with scrollwork reflective of the architecture of the William E. Mowbrayand-designed boutique (above). Also available were the Overseas Chronograph Perpetual Calendar Boutique New York watch, which bears the colors of the American flag, and the Historiques American 1921 Boutique New York. “The choice to open Vacheron Constantin’s first US boutique on Madison Avenue is no coincidence,’ says the company’s president, Hugues de Pins. “The opening is a very symbolic and strategic decision that dates back to 1832, and the three timepieces created in celebration pay tribute to the brand’s deep roots in New York.”
TOP ROW, FROM LEFT: This Blancpain 8 Day Le Brassus watch ($81,800) is a New York exclusive. The 21-part self-winding watch offers date and seconds hands, as well as 192 hours of power reserve. 781 Madison Ave., 212-396-1735. Audemars Piguet’s 57th Street Royal Oak watch ($33,000) is crafted in steel with 32 brilliant-cut diamonds weighing 1.25 carats. The black dial features a Mega Tappiserie pattern. It is created in a limited edition of 150 pieces. 65 E. 57th St., 212-758-8400. MIDDLE ROW: Recalling the elaborate façade of the historic building where America’s first Vacheron Constantin boutique is located, this Patrimony Tradionelle Caliber 2755 ($780,000) is a one-of-a-kind rose-gold repeater. It features the decorative elements of the building, reinterpreted on the watch case sides in a hand-engraved frieze motif. 729 Madison Ave., 212-317-8964. BOTTOM ROW, FROM LEFT: From David Yurman, the Black Dial Chrono with black diamonds ($9,000) houses a Swiss automatic 49-jewel Dubois Depraz movement with ETA base. It features 40 hours of power reserve and is housed in a steel case with integrated cable, black-diamond-set bezel, and sapphire crystal case back. 712 Madison Ave., 212-752-4255. In celebration of its Madison Avenue boutique, Chopard is offering the Mille Miglia GT XL Speed Silver Madison Avenue limited-edition watch ($9,680). It is crafted in titanium with a silver dial and has COSC-certified chronometer standing. It offers chronograph, tachymeter, and date. Just 10 pieces have been made. 709 Madison Ave., 212-223-2304
While it was the grand opening of a flagship that sparked exclusive timepieces at Vacheron Constantin, Breitling, and Hublot, other luxury brands, such as Breguet (which celebrated its 10th anniversary on Madison Avenue this past September), Blancpain, Ralph Lauren, and F.P. Journe, created boutique-exclusive watches to captivate a competitive collector market. “The collectors are buying, but they’re being more selective,” says James Seuss, CEO of Tourneau. “Having specialty boutiques that cater to them and their discerning tastes with exclusive pieces is important.”
Among the timepieces to be found exclusively in New York are Audemars Piguet 57th Street Royal Oak watches (designed in honor of the 57th Street boutique opening), the Mille Miglia GT XL Speed Silver Madison Avenue limited-edition watch from Chopard, and an impressive selection of 10 different top-quality Villeret watches offered by Montblanc, which can be found nowhere else in America.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY KENJI TOMA