Late last month, I visited the Watches of Switzerland NYC flagships in SoHo, Hudson Yards, and the Grand Seiko pop-up in SoHo to check out some of the latest watch releases.
Interestingly, while SoHo and Hudson Yards are not physically very far apart, the clientele and selection vary between the two high profile addresses. According to Lorcan McCabe, the Multi-Site Director at Watches of Switzerland, SoHo receives predominantly local consumers and collectors, whereas Hudson Yards caters more to shoppers and tourists. McCabe mentioned to Professional Watches that Watches of Switzerland kept their entire US staff on the payroll throughout the crisis, which is good to know.
Between the two permanent locations, the assortment of timepieces is quite comprehensive, with mainstream brands such as Omega, Patek Philippe, Breitling, Longines, Tudor, Grand Seiko, IWC, Rolex, and Hublot at both locations. Complementing each location are additional brands that are only available at one store or the other such as Ulysse Nardin, Girard-Perregaux, Cartier, Vacheron Constantin. There are also a variety of vintage watches that have been curated by Analog Shift at both locations, although the selection for this department is significantly larger in SoHo. A number of independents are carried as well, such as Armin Strom, HYT, Speake Marin, and L’Epee, to name a few.
In speaking with the Watches of Switzerland Group management team it’s clear that they are constantly evaluating new watches to be carried at each location, and that they continually rotate in new pop-ups and concepts at each store. The aforementioned Grand Seiko SoHo pop-up, however, is a separate dedicated location, just a block away from the two-level 60 Greene Street SoHo flagship and has a huge selection of GS timepieces, in addition to Hudson Yards and SoHo each carrying a full-selection as well.
With no watch shows in recent months and none planned in the near future, my visit to the trio of stores was in a way equivalent to a journey to a watch show, with many of the latest timepieces on hand to peruse, including one of the year’s most elusive, the new Rolex Submariner. The one I was shown at SoHo was already sold but considering I had visited an AD in Denver the week before, and they had not received any Submariners yet, it was at least nice to see one in an actual store. Hudson Yards had a Submariner Date — presold as well — that I also got to see up close.
I’ve selected nine timepieces that appealed to me across the three locations, eight are available for sale, while the Submariner is #waitlisted.
Originally announced as a concept watch, the Carbon Glass Laureato Absolute Chronograph (pictured top) is a reality now. The look of the material is uniquely futuristic and different from any wristwatch case I’ve ever seen. $15,900
Introduced by Rolex at the end of August, the Submariner and Submariner Date received its first major overhaul — including a new movement — in over a decade. A lot stayed the same but the case grew slightly to 41 mm in diameter up from 40 mm, and perhaps as notably, the lugs are now thinner and more ergonomic than the outgoing Submariners. $8,100
L’Epee 1839 is a Swiss company that specializes in making incredible high-end mechanical clocks and the Time Fast D8 Car Clock is one of their coolest creations. Measuring approximately 15″ x 6.3″ x 4.7″ you must pull the car back to wind the mainspring. The all-metal race car weighs 10.4lbs, has 289 components, and a power reserve of 192-hours. The hours and minutes are displayed like a race number, visible from the side of the car. A glass dome, the looks like a driver’s helmet, houses the escapement. The steering wheel is used to set the time. Each color is limited to 100 pieces. $32,000
This 1991 Rolex GMT-Master Pepsi Ref. 16700 comes in a 39 mm steel case with applied markers and date. The 16700 is the last GMT-Master reference before the GMT-Master II was introduced. Analog Shift refers to this watch as “neo-vintage.” $15,500
At 39 mm the Chronoris Date has a cushion case and throwback styling in a size that will fit a wide variety of wrists well. The is a special Movember Edition from 2019. Comes with a soft vintage-style two-stitch leather strap. $2,000
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Date features a 42 mm stainless steel case, black textured dial, prominent, luminous Arabic hour markers, and indices. An internal rotating bezel is controlled by the extra crown. Comes with a textured black rubber strap and folding clasp. $8,400
The 40 mm bronze case with a coin-edge bezel of the Oris Big Crown Bronze Pointer Date looks great and its brown dial is reminiscent of a patinated tropical dial. The size, aesthetic, and price are attractive. $2,100
The Grand Seiko 60th Anniversary Limited Edition Ref. SLGH002 is the first GS watch to receive the company’s awesome new Hi-Beat 5Hz caliber 9SA5 which has a precision rate of –3/+5 seconds a day and a power reserve of 80 hours. Plus, it features a patented dual-impulse escape and free-sprung balance wheel. Not to mention high-end Swiss-style finishing. $54,000
This is the Ulysse Nardin Freak X is presented in a 43 mm titanium case with the hands-free Freak design and is powered by an automatic in-house movement with 72-hours of power reserve. $21,000
Watches of Switzerland stores are open for business and can accept walk-ins based on store capacity — for the best service, appointments are preferred.