Chopard is giving its retail stores extra polish.

The 147-year-old family-owned watch and fine jewelry firm announced plans for a revamped retail look including a 3,000-square-foot New York flagship at 709 Madison Avenue designed by International Hall of Fame designer Thierry W. Despont.

“We love our existing boutique [at 725 Madison Avenue]. It’s a beautiful little jewelry box,” at 900 square feet, said Marc Hruschka, Chopard’s U.S. president and chief executive officer. “But we’ve been outgrowing that space for some time. We really wanted to establish a retail flagship in New York City….We really like Madison Avenue, we’ve had a lot of success there.”

The 725 Madison Avenue store will close on an unspecified date this summer.

The firm’s six U.S. doors will be refreshed in the new Despont aesthetic, including locations in Bal Harbor Fla., Beverly Hills and Las Vegas.

“The consumer has an expectation in the environment they’re shopping in, not just in the merchandise or service,” Hruschka said. “I think it’s important now, and it’s going to be important in the future…. [Consumers] want high-quality things in an environment to get to know the brand and get to know the spirit of the brand.”

Although the flagship will have some contemporary elements, the design is intended to last a long time. “We’re not a company that changes its look every three or five years,” Hruschka said. “We’re in it for the long term.”

Chopard is known for its diamond jewelry and timepieces, including a proprietary technique that allows several diamonds or colored stones to float freely within the watchcase.

The firm has appointed Susan Duffy to be executive director of marketing, a newly created role in which she reports to Hruschka. Duffy, a former senior executive and vice president of Chanel, was most recently a brand-building consultant. She is responsible for the firm’s marketing, advertising and public relations.

This story first appeared in the January 12, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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