NEW YORK — To inaugurate the fifth annual Madison Avenue Watch Week, luxury watch executives and collectors gathered for breakfast at The Surrey Hotel Tuesday morning.
Benjamin Clymer, executive editor of watch blog Hodinkee, moderated a panel that included Gaetan Guillosson, president of A. Lange & Söhne; Ralph Simons, president and chief executive officer of Chopard U.S., and Philippe Bonay, president of Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Both A. Lange & Söhne and Jaeger-LeCoultre recently opened their first stores on Madison Avenue, which is the largest fine timepiece marketplace in North America, according to the Madison Avenue Business Improvement District.
The panelists discussed new products, innovation, clients’ current affinity for traditional timepieces and the strength of the U.S. luxury market, which they all said has almost rebounded to pre-recession spending.
“Our fastest growth is in the U.S. We are doing very well in the region, and the U.S. customers are picking up the phone to call us more often than they did,” Bonay said.
A tour of Madison Avenue watch shops followed the president’s breakfast, which is in its third year. Through this Saturday, participating retailers, which include David Yurman, De Grisogono, Fabergé, F.P. Journe, Georg Jensen and Hublot, will hold in-store previews of new product that recently debuted at Baselworld and SIHH in Switzerland along with private and public events.
The Hublot boutique will have a master watchmaker on hand and guests will be able to deconstruct the brand’s signature UNICO movement. John Varvatos will invite watch collectors to join Leonid Khankin, the managing and creative director of Ernst Benz, for an evening of cocktails and watches. Ernst Benz created a limited-edition collection of watches for Varvatos.