Lavish Attic watch collectors

From a commercial perspective, Hong Kong is indeed a watch mecca with every major brand represented by elaborate flagships flogging the latest — and often the brashest — styles. But multibranded watch retailers with a tightly curated collection are few and far between. The more discerning collector in Hong Kong heads to the Lavish Attic.

This story first appeared in the November 4, 2015 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Nestled on the fifth floor of the prewar Pedder Building in Central, the shop is an exclusive dealer for independent, niche brands such as Manufacture Contemporaine du Temps, Ressence, Lang & Heyne and Linde Werdelin.

The store was opened in 2005 by Piano Chow, who had previously embarked on careers in design and journalism. She “looks for the soul” of every piece she selects for her store.

The shop itself is not much to write home about. It’s a modest space with a few display cases and a sitting area toward the back, but that’s because the watches are the real attraction.

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At any given point in time, Chow keeps only about 50 timepieces in the store.

The collections range from 200,000 Hong Kong dollars (about $26,000), but can go up to 1 million Hong Kong dollars ($129,000).

Popular requests from clients include bespoke Titan Blacks and Ressence Type 3s, the oil-filled minimalist watches that “break all the rules in the industry.”

The Lavish Attic doesn’t sell vintage watches, but Chow is happy to use her intimate industry connections to help her clients source special pieces.

Mostly the customers come by word of mouth, or watchmakers point them the Lavish Attic’s way. Other than that, it’s the odd person who wanders in after visiting a neighboring art gallery or men’s wear boutique.

For now, smartwatches are fun, but have not yet earned a serious place in a collector’s mind, she maintains. Most of Chow’s clients have bought an Apple Watch, but the devices are relegated to workout sessions — or they wear it on one arm while their “real” watch sits on the other.

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