PARIS — On a recent trip to the City of Light, I ventured into the Hermès flagship on Faubourg Saint-Honoré to have the battery replaced on my "H-our" watch and have a look around.

At first glance, there were scores of women preying on the scarf counter on the first floor, leafing through the printed silk squares and inquiring about additional colors. The fine jewelry section was upstairs, next to women’s apparel, and the environment was much more sedate. I was helped immediately by a male sales associate who was dressed impeccably in a suit and tie. He whisked my ragged timepiece away and 15 minutes later, returned it with a new battery and a bill for roughly $25 at current exchange rates. It was quick, courteous, efficient and relatively well priced. So far, so good.

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