Living in the UK and speaking to watch-lovers and people connected to the watch industry, conversations inevitably veer towards the phenomenon that is Bremont. Of note, of course, is the seemingly meteoric rise of the brand out of nowhere, and now, in its twelfth year in 2013, it has five main collections, a number of sold-out limited editions, and legions of fans among celebrities and watch-lovers alike.
Just take a look at their website if you are unfamiliar with the brand, and allow the sleek and clean presentation seduce you into wanting to own one of their watches. I know this, because every single one of the people I have spoken to about Bremont in the UK, references that one experience when a shift occurred that told them that this brand was pretty cool.
It’s no wonder that I consider founders Nick and Giles English of Bremont as ace marketers at the highest level. It takes a high level of understanding of the motivations of the watch-buying public to build a brand that causes people to respond emotionally to it. Bremont has done this, and done it in a way that elicits effusive praise among many I have met, more so if the person in question is British and proud of it. Then, the love is even deeper and more pronounced.
This was the reason why I made it a point to visit the barely eight month old Bremont boutique in Mayfair, in the heart of London. This is Bremont’s first boutique and unlikely, in my opinion, to be the last. Putting up a flagship boutique represents a significant step for any brand in their growth, and it certainly feels right considering how founders, Nick and Giles English have done much to create a well-loved British brand in such a short time.
Furthermore, a flagship boutique in the capital of the country of origin signals a level of maturity and confidence coinciding with a need to make a stand for its identity. For what the boutique is and for what it marks as a chapter in the brand’s history, it is frankly about time that this has happened.
The location of Mayfair in London was chosen for a number of strategic reasons. The Mayfair district also goes by the nickname of “Hedge Fund Alley” where scores of financial businesses have set up shop in what is the most expensive office neighbourhood in London. With proximity to other high-end retailers and a stone’s throw away from the US Embassy, the boutique is away from the hustle and bustle of London’s main shopping thoroughfare, Oxford Street, but near enough for easy access for shoppers wanting something a little more exclusive.
As co-founder, Nick English explained to me, the reason for deciding to have a flagship store was beneficial on so many levels that it was something that just had to be done. The boutique would be first and foremost a place where fans and new customers could come to have a proper experience of the brand. Not only would there be ample space to see and interact with the entire range, the interior decoration and the unique pieces displayed about the store would add an entirely more visceral and intense experience. Little details like the aviation inspired aluminium countertop for example are the types of things that just add a little tinge of delight.
Upon entering the store, one immediately gets a sense of what Bremont is all about from just seeing pieces like the Norton motorcycle, the Martin Baker ejection seat and the model of the HMS Victory. Pieces like these certainly add a sense of occasion and drama to the watch-buying experience but more than that, they allow, from a watch selling stand-point, the staff to expound on the unique attributes of each piece in relation to their range of watches.
Add to that, the interior design, taking cues from a traditional gentleman’s club with its heavy wood paneling, plush comfortable chairs, bookshelves, various bits of memorabilia and a fully stocked bar, and it truly becomes an experience bound to be appreciated and approved by any Bremont fan.
Indeed, the nicest thing about this boutique is that it doesn’t have the allure of intimidation and inaccessibility that most mono brand boutiques have. Instead, it comes across instead as a friendly clubhouse for the Bremont faithful, and is just a wonderfully relaxed setting for talking about watches. In fact, this store space is used almost every week for events by Bremont, whether it be relating to the watches themselves, or relating to a presentation by an explorer for a new expedition relying on Bremont chronometers.
As Nick English explained to me, the side benefit of being located in a place like Mayfair is the amount of qualified walk-in traffic. Many a Bremont customer started out as a curious passer-by who walked into the store to check it out and walked out with a new watch. In terms of building momentum then to brand awareness, the boutique has proven to be extremely productive. In fact, in the two short visits that I made there, I witnessed a steady stream of customers walking in, most of whom had not heard of the brand before. Many stayed for quite some time, partaking in the history as told by the store staff, and occasionally walking out with a brand new Bremont on their wrist.
I was very comfortable when I was there, helping myself to the occasional Chivas, while having the chance to see any watch I wanted with helpful answers to any of my questions. That in itself was wonderful given how rare it really is for many other brands. For new customers, I have no doubt that it will leave them with a positive brand experience.
Bremont has come a long way, and this boutique stands as a sign of a mature brand reaching a new level of confidence. This, along with their new assembly facilities and offices at Henley on Thames certainly shows why it’s not a big surprise that the brand has won its ardent followers.
If you’re in London, it’s certainly worth your time to come by to have a look, and just let them know that aBlogtoWatch sent you. bremont.com
The boutique is located at: Bremont Boutique , 29 South Audley Street, London W1K 2PE Tel. +44 (0) 203 394 2680 (nearest tube stations are Bond Street or Green Park)