Watching the Windows, Our Favorite New York City Holiday Scenes

Watching the Windows, Our Favorite New York City Holiday Scenes

Join us as we go window shopping on New York’s Fifth and Madison Avenues. Brands including Cartier, IWC, and Hublot gussy up for the season.

By Hyla Bauer
Contributor & Special Projects

‘Tis the season in New York. The iconic Rockefeller Center tree is an American tradition, with its annual lighting ceremony attracting crowds in the thousands and countless other visitors during the holiday season. Store window displays are also a New York tradition, with luxury stores creating colorful scenes attracting young and old, visitors and native New Yorkers. Watch brands are no exception, and a walk up Fifth Avenue and over to Madison yields some spectacular sights.

Cartier Never Disappoints

Just two blocks north of the tree, the Cartier Mansion shines bright with action-filled displays including a fanciful roller coaster and elevators transporting uniformed sales associates carrying armloads of presents. A window dedicated to watches features a watchmaker holding a clock's hands and others playfully tossing oversized movement components. No Cartier display would be complete without the brand's signature panthers, and piles of tiny boxes wrapped with Cartier bows with the brand’s signature wax seal promise hidden gems in every window. To top it off, the entire Cartier Mansion, built in 1905, is wrapped in a gigantic red bow.

WEMPE Provides Wonderment

WEMPE created a festive spirit with brightly colored winter snow scenes evoking the Swiss Alps. While keeping its luxury brands center stage, WEMPE seamlessly incorporates its holiday decor into the glittering displays. Colorful winter scenes including skiers dotting the backdrop. In 2016, the boutique more than doubled its space to 5,500 square feet, featuring separate salons for Patek Philippe and Rolex. Ruediger Albers and his team of elves are hard at working delivering holiday cheer for collectors and their families.

The Watch Brands Dominating The Window Scene

Further up Fifth Avenue at Breguet, timepieces take center stage in front of a snowy light and airy backdrop evoking a winter wonderland. Reindeer figures mix in with the watches on display. An outstanding grouping of rare Reine de Naples pieces is one of the highlights of the watches on exhibit.

Hublot’s windows at 57th and Fifth reflect the modern design sensibility of the brand. Geometric and architectural, triangles within triangles evoking snow covered mountains showcase the timepieces. It's fresh winter white done in luxurious style.

Turning over to Madison Avenue, IWC's boutique features white houses with opaque windows, one of which shows Santa's shadow as he climbs a ladder to the chimney. Starry skies above the house feature falling snow and a crescent moon. The house is wrapped with a red bow, and green-lighted garlands frame the scene. The boutique's soaring windows allow a view into the space, which has a decidedly clubby and inviting atmosphere with bookshelves, a fireplace, and comfortable sofas on the ground floor.

The Only Brand That Can Out-Sleigh Santa

A couple of blocks south, Bremont's new supersonic watch, the ALT1-C celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Concorde, is the inspiration for a window display. A cartoon captioned "Rockin’ Around the ALT1-C” riffs on the “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree” song.  An altimeter and the watch’s custom case are also on view. The metal case’s shape echoes the design of the nose of the iconic airplane.

(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)

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