Retail is experiencing something of an identity crisis. Traditional brick-and-mortar stores are struggling to compete with the ease of e-commerce, Millenials’ fleeting loyalties make them a challenging market to woo, and — especially when it comes to watches and fine jewelry — consumers’ appetites just aren’t as ravenous as they once were. But rather than crying uncle, or simply sticking to their guns, luxury brands have taken this upending of the status quo as an opportunity to reimagine how they connect with customers. Necessity, after all, is the mother of invention. Watch and jewelry brands have long known how to turn shopping into an event: tantalizing displays tucked into glass vitrines, dramatic reveals in plush private salons, doting salespeople with bottomless supplies of champagne. Now, they’re modernizing that formula with experiential events that bring their personality and products to life, and shake off the perception of being staid or aloof. Not quite a pop-up shop and more than a standard party, this new breed of experiences has brands applying their DNA to everything from nightclubs to nail salons — the kinds of settings that make highvalue, exclusive products seem approachable, fresh and even fun. To celebrate the relaunch of the Panthère watch in 2017, Cartier staged an immersive two-day event at Indochine, the iconic downtown Manhattan canteen. Called Panthère Studio, the event featured such Instagram bait as a manicure station and “stacking bar” where guests could try on the watch and style it alongside Cartier jewelry, elaborate photo booths, and a champagne vending machine. Nothing was actually available for purchase, the sole objective was to get millennials buzzing about the brand. “We’re coming out of our boutiques and bringing the world of
THE DINING ROOM AT AUDEMARS PIGUET’S AP HOUSE IN HONG KONG.
The J Jewelry Journal