It’s often said that the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts; a sentiment that perfectly sums up luxury watchmaking.
Recently I was invited to attend a private showcase of luxury watches by Rox, one of Glasgow’s most renowned jewellers and luxury watch retailers. I’m interested in watches, yet regardless of how many editorials I read in The Rake about the Swiss watch world, I must admit I’m a tourist.
On a cold morning in Glasgow I was warmly greeted by the Rox team and introduced to Maxine the brand’s Content Manager and George the in house Luxury Watch Specialist. I was taken upstairs to their beautifully decadent salon style showroom; overlooking the diamonds and jewels of Argyll Arcade, the space is curated opulence and comfort. Indulgent yet relaxing with a mix of ornate features like the stained glass skylight, marble counters and mirrored surfaces, softened with furnishings in luxurious velvet and cottons.
At ten30 we’re dedicated to customer service, making sure our customers are relaxed and at ease as we guide them through the tailoring process so it’s always interesting to experience it from the other side. Sitting with George and Maxine I felt completely comfortable and marvelled at the detailed knowledge and passion they both had about the industry, the brands and the individual pieces on show.
The presentation started with Zenith. Started in 1865, the brand is one of the few watchmakers that produce all of their movements in-house. I was particularly impressed with the El Primero; first produced in 1969 it’s one of the brand’s iconic pieces and a true classic.
George then talked me through Hublot, a fairly young brand on the luxury watch scene has quickly gained a reputation as one of the most well known. Hublot’s world wide recognition comes in part from it’s multiple partnerships with some of the biggest sporting brands in world, from Manchester United and Bayern Munich to the LA Lakers and Miami Heat, as well as sponsorship deals with Ferrari, The Financial Times and the World Ski Championships. The Hublot aesthetic is big, bold, chunky and angular; combining heavy materials such as alloys, rubbers and leathers to create a statement look.
Of all the watches we looked looked I must say the stand outs were from Arnold & Son and Bremont, coincidentally both quintessentially British.
The Bremont history is as tragic as it is inspiring; founders Nick and Giles English started the brand after a tragic flying accident killed their father. Realising that life was too short not to pursue their passions, the brothers founded Bremont; combining their love of watches, engineering and flying. For me Bremont encapsulate the spirit of adventure, simple and elegant design embody a certain timeless antiquity in their pieces. Bremont are fanatical about British manufacturing and innovation, boasting a case seven times stronger than most luxury watches and a timekeeping accuracy of 99.998% with most components made in their UK factory. Working with iconic British brands such as Jaguar and Boeing as well as having an impressive roster of ambassadors that includes Olympians and World explorers, wearing a Bremont awakens your inner Ranulph Fiennes whatever the occasion.
Having only ever read about Arnold & Son watches, it was real treat to see a selection of them up close and chat to George about the brand’s history and collections. John Arnold is known as one of the inventors of the modern watch and chronometer as we know it today, with his designs remaining largely unchanged over the last 200 years. The story of Arnold as an engineer and watchmaker is fascinating, with tales of travelling the world and building timepieces for the King; innovation and design seems to have been at the forefront of the brand from the start. The complications within Arnold & Son watches are often debated, some see them as useless ostentation whilst most believe that their presence is a show of skill and craftsmanship. Within the Rox collection I was instantly drawn to the Moonphase with it’s blue and gold colouring and beautifully crafted moonphase dial, however after learning more about the Tourbillion I have to say it was my favourite.
The presentation was closed with a showcase of one of Rox’s most coveted brands; Audemars Piguet. Founded in 1875, Aaudemars Piguet has remained family owned since it’s founding and is one of the most renowned Swiss watchmakers in the world. Worn by the likes of Conor McGregor and Pharrell Williams Audemars Piguet attracts superstar status, with aesthetics to match.
My experience at Rox was fantastic. Chatting with George and the team about the luxury watch world was fascinating and I felt very looked after in the beautiful surroundings of the store. Working in the luxury sector it’s always interesting to speak to brands who share our values of providing outstanding quality of product, genuine customer service and experience and real passion for what they do, values that Rox clearly hold dear and very much deliver on.
For more information on Rox Jewellers and the brands they stock, or to book an appointment with them – follow the link to their site here