Situated adjacent to star class hotels of the city the Chatham Luxury Store stands at the roadside of Galle Face Court in subtle, understated elegance. The signage and names of brands shimmer through the glass façade amidst a muted ambience and lighting. The colonial character of the building further exemplifies the desired atmosphere fitting of housing legendary brands that each lay claim to a 100-plus-year pedigree. Brand consciousness has influenced much of the design aspects of the building—both exterior and interior. A modern, glitzy effect is evidently absent. Accordingly, a study of the brand stores themselves have influenced certain design elements such as the black canopy that ornament the building frontage – a trait of some of the luxury brand stores.
Displayed within the sprawling expanse of the interior are the five brands IWC Schaffhausen, Omega, Cartier, Chopard, and Jaeger LeCoultre in their designated niches of the space. Every aspect of the displays remains true to each of the brands, constructed to finer detail of specifications. Accordingly from display designs, dimensions, lighting to mirrors and even gloves have been provided by the brands to meet exact specifications—all of which have been incorporated to assure clients of authenticity. For instance, the personnel at Chatham Luxury Watches have received training from the display artist for Chopard in the Asian region so that exact specifications on presenting the products are met. While trained staff well-versed on each of the brands and products offer a service on par with repute of the brand names, a fully-fledged technical staff is also at hand functioning the service centre so that all client queries could be met under one roof.
Ensconced within the premises, a sense of privacy prevails and to further exemplify the customer experience a lounge area and books on luxury watches are shelved to peruse at length when needed. The conscientiousness that extend to warmth and hospitality, is intended to capture a holistic experience for clients. In addition to the extensive collection of Swiss timepieces in-store customers can also order any watch from the extended collections offered by the brands.
Although predominantly catering to a male clientele, the trend of larger-sized watches has become prevalent amongst women in recent times. Producing solely mechanical watches, either winding or automatic, the watches can range from the basic hour, minute, second watch to chronograph with power reserve indicator. IWC watches are defined by exclusivity with starting prices of 650,000 rupees.
The collections at Chatham Luxury Watches include, Aquatimer, Ingenieur, Portuguese, Portofino and Pilot’s. Identically priced, the watches in a collection vary in appearance, for instance ranging from steel watch with black dial to steel watch with white dial, blue numbers and a blue strap. Set apart within the same collection is the rose gold watch of greater value. Similarly the chronograph watch comes in steel and rose gold as well. The collections are thus categorised within the displays so that potential buyers may gauge the value of the watches.
With a broader collection of models the price range of Omega watches commences at 320,000 rupees. The collections at Chatham Luxury Watches include Seamaster, Speedmaster, Constellation and De Ville.
Of the models in the Seamaster Collection, Planet Ocean and Seamaster Diver possess the rotating bezel while Aqua Terra does not. Incidentally, Seamaster Diver is recognised as a classic watch—a model worn by James Bond.The displays of these watches are such they carry features of the sea and sailing to convey their brand identity. While Seamaster watches are specified for diving and sailing, the Speedmaster is all about racing featuring a tachymeter.
While Seamster and Speedmaster are sports watches the Constellation and De Ville are evidently dress watches. The Constellation is a popular collection of watches with the price range starting at 300,000 rupees reaching up to 3.5 million rupees for a rose gold watch. The De Ville Ladymatic in particular is a popular classic ideal for both everyday and eveningwear.
Earning repute as one of the first brands to introduce the wristwatch, Cartier comes with a history that lays claim to the very origins of the wristwatch. Improvising a pocket watch that could be attached to the wrist, on the request of a World War I aviator Alberto Santos Dumont, marked the birth of one of the first wristwatches and in turn the Santos Collection.
The design carries exposed screws on its bezel as an interpretation of the aircraft rivets that existed in bygone times. The Santos 100 models were introduced to mark a century since the making of the first Santos watch and as such is an iconic gent’s watch collection.
The other collections of Cartier displayed at the store are Tank and Ballon Bleu.
One of the signature features that pervades many if not all Cartier timepieces is the roman numerals on the dial of its models.
Among the collection are Tank Anglaise and Tank Solo with the latter being the entry level model priced at 350,000 rupees. These classic watches have earned prestige for being favoured by world leaders and public figures including Jacqueline Onassis who adorned a Tank and in turn gifted John F Kennedy a watch from the Tank Collection.
The Ballon Bleu, is so named for its resemblance of a balloon shape with its round case and its crown encased with a blue sapphire. The sapphire nestled in the crown is also a signature feature of Cartier watches. Cartier designs can be found in steel, steel and leather, combination of steel and gold, full gold, gold with diamonds and white or rose gold. Starting at 350,000 rupees the prices can reach one million US dollars plus. Cartier also specialises in limited edition jewellery watches of high exclusivity.
With a 100-year span Cartier watches can be regarded as classics where even its latest models are modern classics dating back eight-nine years.
A watch company bought over by a jeweller, Chopard watches emphasises on aesthetics with high-end jewellery watches amongst the collections. The collections at Chatham Luxury Watches include Classic, Happy Sport, Imperiale and Mille Miglia.
The Happy Sport watches feature Chopard’s patented concept of free moving diamonds—the brand’s iconic signature that resulted in the Happy Diamonds Collection.
The Mille Miglia are a collection of men’s watches named after an open-road race that took place in Italy from 1927 to 1957. These watches are specifically designed for precision and come with a rubber strap designed after the tyre featured in that respective year. Interestingly, the strap gives off a distinct whiff of vanilla essence fragrance and is a mark of high regard to subtle details.
Like IWC, the JLC too is a brand known for sophisticated mechanism. With a distinct classic appearance these watches pack in as much technology as possible into an ultra thin case. As a result these watches are of high and varying complications that give rise to a number features.
For instance the Master Ultra Thin Perpetual is a mechanical watch complete with a perpetual calendar that runs till the year 2100. Furthermore the watch also comprises of the moon phase. The brand’s automatic watch range is remarkably thin—considered exceptional for watches of its nature. Consequently the steel automatic watches retail at prices as high as 1.2 million to 3.2 million rupees. The Rendezvous is a ladies steel watch combined with diamonds and arrive in varying sizes.
Reverso is the JLC’s signature collection. It has been so named as the watch can be reversed—a mechanism adopted in the 1920s to meet the request of a client who was a Polo player, as means of protecting the watch’s glass surface. Although in the present day watches possess scratch resistant surfaces, this mechanism has remained to date, sparking a collection, which has further gained versatility in features; the Reverso also comes with a dual watch feature with a second dial on its reverse side.