Omega's new Beverly Center store is a response to changing times
Times are changing -- and luxury Swiss watchmaker Omega is keeping pace. On Wednesday, the brand, which is part of Swatch Group Ltd. portfolio, officially cut the ribbon on a new boutique in the Beverly Center.
The 1,600-square-foot, monobrand shop, designed to showcase the entire Omega product range (including the new Ladymatic line of mechanical watches for women that launched in October) replaces the former 329 N. Rodeo Drive location that was converted into a multi-brand Boutique Tourbillon in late May 2010. (Owned by the same company, that store showcases Swatch Group's high-end brands, Blancpain, Breguet and Jaquet Droz among them.)
At a Soho House dinner in West Hollywood later that evening (the glamorously dressed ribbon-cutter of record -- actress Sofia Vergara -- was in the house briefly before cutting out), we had a chance to chat with Omega's President Stephen Urquhart about choosing the Beverly Center -- and about the rush of retail expansion.
"At the Beverly Center, we're surrounded by stores like Louis Vuitton, Prada and Dolce & Gabbana [D&G line]," Urquhart said. "What could be better than that?"
"And people don't go just go into a store and say 'I want to buy a watch' anymore. The way people are buying luxury watches is changing, and we think that a location like the Beverly Center responds to that."
Urquhart said the push into mono-brand retail is an important part of controlling the brand's image, not just in the ability to display the product line, but to interact with customers (and potential customers).
"Customer service is very, very important," Urquhart said, noting that issues such as depth of product knowledge, the ability to address repair and warranty issues and even a sense of enthusiasm are becoming more crucial in the luxury arena as the retail experience evolves.
"Many of our retail partners are good at it, but department stores are a problem."
-- Adam Tschorn
Photo: "Modern Family" actress Sofia Vergara and Omega's President Stephen Urquhart at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Omega boutique at the Beverly Center Wednesday. Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images