NEW YORK — Fashion brands aren’t the only ones rushing to open in the Meatpacking District — watch brands are now flocking to the Manhattan district as well, with brands such as Tourneau, owned by Switzerland-based Bucherer, having positioned Tudor and Rolex (whose parent the Rolex Group recently acquired Bucherer and Tourneau) next door to each other and Audemars Piguet’s AP House, a concept for how watches are sold in private luxury suites instead of stores (one of 13 worldwide).
As part of its continued global retail expansion, now it’s time for luxury watch brand Breitling to move into the district, as the brand’s third boutique in New York City opens at 875 Washington Street. New York is currently one of Breitling’s larger markets, with two other flagships already, on Madison Avenue and in The Oculus at World Trade Center. The new Meatpacking boutique will mark the brand’s 36th store in North America, joining recent openings in locations such as Dallas; Costa Mesa, California; Miami; and Nashville, Tennessee. Upcoming openings will include Boston; New Orleans; Palo Alto, California; and Salt Lake City with the goal to have 43 stores in North America by end of year.
The new 3,740-square-foot, multilevel Meatpacking boutique features a modern-retro design concept, equipped with a contemporary interpretation of an industrial loft, offering a relaxed yet sophisticated ambience to explore Breitling’s air, land and sea collections.
The boutique has been designed to not only offer retail elements featuring the latest offerings from Breitling’s top collections but also includes many hospitality components in a continuation of the Breitling Kitchen initiative the brand already introduced in Seoul, London and the latest opening of a Breitling Kitchen in Geneva.
The top level features a barista and coffee bar (the first U.S. boutique to offer such services), with the lounge-style basement featuring a bar, along with vintage video games and a photo installation that incorporates the brand worlds of air, land and sea. The relaxed watch bars and private seating areas invite visitors to explore the timepieces in comfort and at their own pace.
“I think the mission of a boutique should be of course selling watches but that’s not the mission, that’s the end result. The mission is to help people discover who we are and find a watch that fits their wrist. And we think there’s something cool about having a cappuccino and having an experience taking the time to understand what Breitling is to see if it’s the right fit for your wrist,” said Thierry Prissert, Breitling USA president.
On the basement level, the boutique will have a dedicated accessory corner, as Breitling has also partnered with Australian surf-and-motorcycle outfitter Deus ex Machina to create a capsule collection that will include apparel pieces ranging from hoodies, vests, T-shirts and jackets to travel gear such as duffels, as well as towels — along with accessories including mugs and hats.
The pair are no strangers to collaborations, having released a limited-edition chronograph in 2021 which was a quick sellout, along with a creamy white and sky blue colorway in March and most recently in June the Top Time B01 Deus — a chronograph style with a black, white and red color scheme on the dial as well a perforated leather racing strap.
The business of selling watches has begun to take a turn as brands recognize that while making the sale is important, it’s not the only key to retain and attract new consumers. Adding a lifestyle and hospitality component is becoming more prominent within the horology market, and Breitling’s expansion is well recognized on that front. The brand also has active plans to add another Barista Bar element in Miami.
“As the U.S. market is the number-one market for the brand, we want to be able to offer to the customer the real experience of what branding is in the lifestyle we have, so we are definitely looking at locations across New York City and also Miami and an important city like L.A. to develop our hospitality. I would say it’s a new way of developing the brand, so if there is potentially a restaurant coming very soon to the U.S. like you have seen in Geneva next to the boutique that could allow the customer to continue the experience in a Breitling environment with a specific menu and a good time.
“And we’re definitely looking in New York City for that and it will be next year — we have a project where we visited locations yet our CEO worldwide wants to find the perfect opportunity. The restaurant is in development and in the concept phase. We don’t have a lease signed yet but we’re clearly looking at offering that development of the brand for U.S. customers,” Prissert told WWD exclusively.
The boutique’s official unveiling is set for Sept. 6, which will include a special guest to commemorate the opening, as well as a new watch collection and campaign featuring the guest that will debut in conjunction with the boutique’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.