Industry News: Tudor Opens Its First Boutique In North America

Industry News: Tudor Opens Its First Boutique In North America

The watchmaker’s first exclusive mono-brand store is a partnership with retailer Raffi Jewellers.

By Rhonda Riche

Say what you will about 2020, but this year has seen a lot of innovation in watch sales. Watchmakers are exploring better ways to reach customers and build new relationships with retailers.

In Toronto, for example, leading luxury watch retailer Raffi Jewellers has just partnered with Tudor to open the brand’s first mono-brand boutique in North America. Located in Yorkdale Shopping Centre and opened on November 19th, here’s how the partnership came about and how it’s still evolving.

Geography Lessons

Tudor has always had a special relationship with Canada. The country was one of the watchmaker’s first markets outside of Switzerland when it was still a Rolex sub-brand. Then, in the 1950s, after Tudor became its own entity, Tudor secured contracts to supply watches to the Royal Canadian Navy. The configuration of the dial and hands of these RCN MilSubs contain the original DNA of the modern-day Heritage Black Bay.

Likewise, Canada has always had an attachment to Tudor. When the company briefly discontinued sales of Tudor-branded watches in the US and the UK in the early 2000s, the Canadian market stayed open, leading to a sudden surge in cross-border shopping.

Raffi Jewellers has also enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Tudor. “What we have built with our business today started as a dream over 30 years ago and became a reality when we had the privilege to join the Rolex family,” said Raffi co-owner Vahe Garabetian. “We decided to concentrate on the Rolex and Tudor brands of watches as time progressed to create something special and unique.”

After opening freestanding Rolex boutiques in Toronto and Mississauga, Ontario, Garabetian and his team wanted to take the concept even further. “Our philosophy is consistent; we provide exceptional customer service – an authentic experience of excellence honorably delivered through brand loyalty and shared values,” said Garabetian.

And a statement from Tudor read, “[We are] excited to work with long-standing retail partners, Raffi Jewellers, to open our first mono-brand boutique in North America. This will further cement a strong presence in Canada for Tudor as well as expand our brand awareness and network.”

Final Destination

With over 270 stores, Yorkdale is Toronto’s premier destination luxury shopping center. And part of Raffi’s strategy has always been to serve both local and out-of-town shoppers. “This strategic focus has enabled positive growth even during these challenging times,” said Garabetian.

“Yorkdale is Canada’s most successful shopping center and attracts a wide range of shoppers, including those with an interest in luxury products of Tudor’s caliber,” added Kimberly Barnard, Yorkdale Shopping Centre General Manager. “We’re delighted to welcome the first Tudor Boutique in North America in partnership with Raffi Jewellers, ahead of the holiday season with the brand’s complete inventory in one place.”

Site Sights

Location is everything, but so is timing. The Toronto Tudor boutique opened up just in time to accommodate holiday shoppers. Unfortunately, because of a surge in COVID-19 cases, Toronto went back under lockdown just days after the November 19th opening.

But this challenge hasn’t stopped the new Tudor boutique from offering a robust seasonal shopping experience. The boutique had already built a beautiful website with a full catalog to accommodate clients, and even before the opening, Tudor made plans for virtual appointments and curbside pickup. You could describe the virtual version of the Tudor boutique as an extra level of shopping experience.

In-store or online, the shopper is fully immersed in the Tudor environment with a sales team dedicated to the brand and equipped with the most up-to-date product knowledge to ensure that each customer receives an optimal shopping experience.

The 450 square foot space features a red, black, and grey color scheme to immerse you in the Tudor story. This identity is closely tied to Tudor’s lifestyle image. Images and achievements of ambassadors like David Beckham, Lady Gaga, and Jay Chou figure prominently in the environment and set the energy for space.

And finally, the architectural finishes. The boutique uses clean, streamlined materials with a satin-finish or brushed black, transparent red, and structured white surfaces. The design of the boutique is immersive, allowing you to lose yourself in the exceptional range of men’s and women’s timepieces.

This exclusive North American boutique offers an array of Tudor timepieces, including classic, sport, diving, and heritage-inspired watches, plus the newly released Tudor Royal line, a sport-chic range of watches with integrated bracelet, signature-notched bezel, and automatic movement, that’s both versatile and affordable.

Ultimately, Raffi’s and Tudor’s commitment to customers is what is really driving their innovative approach to this standalone boutique.

Raffi’s Peter Garabetian said, “As a proud Canadian retailer of fine jewelry and Swiss timepieces, our company values remain intent on developing and adapting our business to the needs of our valued clients. Despite the current challenges, the long-term relationships we have built throughout the years with our loyal clients remains strong.”

(Images © TUDOR Watches)

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