Larsson & Jennings, the London-based watch firm blending Anglo-Swedish aesthetics with Swiss mechanics, is having its New York moment.
Following the launch of its first full media campaign the week before, a store opened Monday at 335 Bleecker Street in the West Village, adding a different flavor to a venue peppered with big brand names like Marc Jacobs and Ralph Lauren that have opened shop over the past decade or so.
At 470 square feet, it’s a small space for a small brand, though no small deal for Larsson & Jennings as it strives to develop greater awareness in the U.S. and build revenues. The watches are sold at several Nordstrom, Holt Renfrew, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols locations, as well as Harrods, various specialty stores, the Larsson & Jennings stores on Prince Street in Manhattan, and Covent Garden in London. Last year, Larsson & Jennings posted revenues of eight million pounds, or $11.3 million at current exchange rates, half generated through the web site.
“We are still new in the U.S. but this store puts us on the map and gives us some credibility here,” said Andrew Jennings, the 31-year-old owner of Larsson & Jennings, who was interviewed at the Bleecker Street site. He considers it “a flagship,” pointing out that Larsson & Jennings on Prince Street opened in late 2015 as “an introductory concept space” and will be open only through 2016.
Based on the Prince Street experience, “we know there is an appetite for us,” Jennings said. The company this month launched its first marketing campaign, in magazines, social media and some wild postings, and took over a gallery space on Ninth Avenue for a media preview last week of the new Norse collection of watches. It’s only a matter of time before Larsson & Jennings opens a store in Los Angeles, where space is being eyed, and a second London store. For 2016, Jennings hopes to double the revenues.
When British-born Jennings was 10 years old, he inherited a Rolex watch from his uncle. He’s been fascinated with watches ever since. He’s job hopped from being a wealth manager in London to a seasonnaire at a ski resort in Austria. Four years ago, he parlayed his passion for timepieces into a business by launching Larsson & Jennings with his friend Joakim Larsson, a fellow seasonnaire in St. Anton, Austria. About a year ago, Jennings bought Larsson’s 35 percent stake and decided to maintain the brand name. He said the company is self-funded.
The Bleecker Street shop is marked by a seven-meter-long watch bar, a neutral palette of whites, gray and black offset by glass display cases with copper trims, and an unusual asymmetrical shape. In the back, there’s white tiling as a nod to the neighborhood’s Our Lady of Pompeii Church. There is also a Fika coffee bar for a jolt of caffeine before shopping the range of watches. There are more than 40 styles, primarily unisex, with prices from $360 to $1,595. The Lugano line is the least expensive and is characterized by round, thin cases. The most expensive is the Saxon Automatic, with a thicker case, automatic movement and second hands with smooth sweeps and a deployment clasp. The new Norse collection offers square-faced watches and British-made leather straps. Matte plating is offered for a contemporary touch. Larsson & Jennings partners with two Swiss manufacturers of watch movements, Ronda and ETA.
Asked what sets his watches apart, Jennings said, “We try to contemporize vintage and minimalize the look. We use the phrase, ‘reimagining classics.'”