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Cartier’s Fifth Avenue boutique is ticking to a new beat.

The jeweler unveiled a reconfigured main floor last month that highlights its watch assortment in a stand-alone space away from fine jewelry and other categories the house offers.

Whereas before, clients entering the grand mansion from Fifth Avenue would find watches neatly displayed in linear cases along with fine jewelry in the front salon, Cartier now offers its watches in the lowered back of the flagship past the oval room. That space once contained bridal offerings and accessories including small leather goods, which have now been moved to the front salon.

Cartier’s North American president and chief executive officer Stanislas de Quercize said the company wanted to more effectively highlight its watch assortment, so “one way to do it is to show the choice of Cartier watches in one location,” he said. “Cartier watch sales have continuously increased over the last few years, and we wanted to maintain the momentum and set ourselves apart from other watch brands.”

And from any other Cartier boutique: With 238 styles, the new 2,020-square-foot salon displays the largest assortment of Cartier watches in the world. The mix includes Tank Française, Pasha and Roadster watches, as well as one-of-a-kind bejeweled styles and pieces from the Collection Privée Cartier Paris collection. The new salon also has a strap bar displaying an array of leather, crocodile and alligator skin straps in mouth-watering colors. Clients can have their straps replaced on the spot.

“There is always good traffic going to the watches,” de Quercize said. “Now customers will walk through the jewelry area [to get there], which will offer them a nice way to experience the breadth of Cartier. We see the area as the heart of the store, and our heart is now beating with a new pulse.”

Cartier launched the salon with a party for Evelyn Lauder to highlight Breast Cancer Awareness Month. To mark the occasion, the jeweler unveiled a new, limited edition stainless steel Tank Divan watch featuring a pink mother-of-pearl dial and a pink alligator strap, for $3,900. The watch comes in a pink Cartier box. Since the party on Sept. 21, 42 watches have been sold in the U.S. and Canada. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation charity.

This story first appeared in the October 11, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

— Marc Karimzadeh