WEMPE Fifth Avenue Is Flying High For Its 40th Anniversary
New York City is no stranger to an ever-evolving retail landscape. Especially in today's watch market, mono-brand boutiques and even online sellers have a physical presence in the city that never sleeps. Yet despite the always-changing landscape, one constant has emerged, and that is WEMPE Fifth Avenue.
For 40 years, the renowned German retailer has enjoyed now-landmark status at their Fifth Avenue Boutique located at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 55th Street. Helmed by President Ruediger Albers for the last 30 years, WEMPE's presence in the US is not only felt in New York City but throughout the country as the retailer cultivates and attracts a steady stream of clientele and visitors from around the USA.
Albers got his start at WEMPE in Hamburg, Germany where the 142- year old family owned company is overseeing its 34-store empire. He moved to New York City in 1987 to lead WEMPE’s service center as a master watchmaker and to train their sales team. Now three decades removed, Albers is leading WEMPE’s entire efforts in America which includes the Rolex Boutique inside the Rolex Building, also on Fifth Avenue just two blocks south from the WEMPE flagship store.
It’s truly an American success story that is not lost on Albers. "If you had told me 30 years ago that I would be flying over Manhattan to celebrate the 40th anniversary of WEMPE in America as the company’s #1 producer, I wouldn't have believed you,” Albers told Watchonista. “I'm proud of the success of WEMPE in America. None of which would've been possible without our amazing team, always willing to go the extra mile," continued Albers.
Flying High With WEMPE
New York City looks decidedly different than it did when WEMPE first arrived in 1980. Massive skyscrapers continued to replace the mom-and-pop shops, and from the financial district to midtown, 50+ story condominiums have largely replaced tenements and walk-ups. But one thing remains a constant, WEMPE Fifth Avenue.
From our perch high above New York City, we could see for miles in any direction. The changing fall colors of Central Park reflected off the iconic mansions of Fifth Avenue. While Jackie Kennedy Onassis enjoyed a great view of her namesake reservoir from her Fifth Avenue pad, we may have one-upped the former first lady with this gorgeous view from high above New York City.
But all of this wouldn’t be a WEMPE photoshoot without a selection of fine timepieces. Along for the ride was the just-released Chopard Alpine Eagle Wempe 5th Ave Edition, the New York exclusive WEMPE Iron Walker 40th Anniversary edition, along with a Ulysse Nardin Blast and an Iron Walker Chronograph. We wanted to bring a lot more, but FLYNYON only permits what's on your wrists to fly!
Chopard Alpine Eagle Wempe 5th Ave Edition
Released on the official day of WEMPE’s 40th anniversary, November 16, the Chopard Alpine Eagle Wempe 5th Ave Edition is a limited edition version of Chopard’s popular Alpine Eagle. This 41mm stainless steel (Lucent Steel A223 to be exact) timepiece with an integrated bracelet is decidedly a New Yorker. Its exclusive Vals gray dial echoes the texture of the bustling metropolis in which WEMPE operates. As such, a blue WEMPE logo is placed at 6 o’clock on the dial.
Contrasting the dial are blued indices and hands which are exclusive to this limited edition. The hands and indices are filled with Super-LumiNova Grade X1 lume to provide further visibility during a nighttime stroll down Fifth Avenue. Produced in partnership with the legendary Maison of Chopard, the Alpine Eagle Wempe 5th Ave Edition celebrates not only four decades of WEMPE but three generations of the Scheufele family, who had a hand in its development.
Powered by the Chopard 01.01-C manufacture calibre, the Alpine Eagle Wempe 5th Ave Edition beats with a 60-hour power reserve and is chronometer-certified. The caseback is emblazoned with "5th Avenue” in a nod to its inspiration, the original Wempe 5th Avenue watch, a descendant of the Chopard St. Moritz.
Limited to just 40 pieces, the Chopard Alpine Eagle Wempe 5th Ave Edition is priced at $12,900 and available exclusively at WEMPE boutiques. "When it came time to deciding how we would celebrate our milestone anniversary, Chopard was a natural partner," said Albers in a press release. "The Maison has been a part of WEMPE New York’s and my personal journey from the very beginning as I was working evenings as a watchmaker in their Rockefeller atelier so this new Alpine Eagle Wempe 5th Ave Edition timepiece brings us full circle. It's also just a really great looking watch."
WEMPE Iron Walker Automatic Diver 40th Anniversary
Another timepiece made to celebrate WEMPE Fifth Avenue’s anniversary is the WEMPE Iron Walker Automatic Diver 40th Anniversary. This 42mm stainless steel diver with an integrated bracelet is the more accessibly priced choice for any enthusiast who wants to celebrate WEMPE’s 40th anniversary in style. Priced at just $3,450, this robust diver offers a lot of value for a wide range of collectors.
Featuring a vibrant blue dial with an internal dive timer bezel, this Iron Walker Automatic Diver is a colorful addition to the Iron Walker collection. Notable WEMPE 40th additions are the bright red second hand, the red and white 0-15-minute dive time indicator, and the red “40” indicator on the internal bezel. Limited to just 40 pieces, this three-handed with date diver offers a lot of versatility for casual collectors and even professional divers.
Powered by the automatic ETA 2892-A2 calibre and boasting a 50-hour power reserve, the WEMPE Iron Walker Automatic Diver 40th Anniversary is a robust and dependable timepiece well suited for any urban adventurer.
You certainly don't need to take a helicopter to reach WEMPE's Fifth Avenue boutique. The famed retailer accepts walk-ins, appointments, and curbside pickups seven days a week. For store hours, directions, and a comprehensive list of carried brands, visit WEMPE’s website.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell and Ryan Pereira)