Welcome back to an aBlogtoWatch original series, where we discuss important stores that sell watches all over the world. Each store we profile has an interesting story to tell about where they operate and who they sell to. Whether you buy watches from brick and mortar retailers or prefer to buy watches online, these are the stores that help shape our watch culture around the globe. There is a long list of stores to cover, but if there is a retail location in your favorite city that we simply can’t miss, let us know in the comments below.
Where to buy watches in Birmingham, Michigan?
“The report of my death was an exaggeration” (the proper quote of Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens) might equally apply to Motor City, USA, as Detroit is very much alive these days. Its biggest fans may well be those who stuck with their home town during the lean years and are now proudly enjoying its reemergence as a major American city and economic center. In that vein, we today feature Darakjian Jewelers, which has served the Detroit area since 1964 and has been offering watches to their customers since 1976. About a year ago, this family business moved into their new location in the Detroit suburb of Birmingham, Michigan.
aBlogtoWatch: What types of watches are popular in your market? What makes Birmingham and the Detroit area a unique place to buy watches?
Darakjian Jewelers: Detroit is a great watch market. It has its roots in the automotive industry as you already know, and watches and cars go hand in hand. Men like gadgets, whether it be watches or cars! The affinity towards working toys for men has been forever in Detroit. The watch market is pretty strong, and not only for the usual suspects. Exotic brands also sell in our area. Most of our collectors have second homes also elsewhere. This is the place they work and earn. In their travels they see things, and to deliver the kind of service that Darakjian Jewelers is known for, we need to keep in tune to the complete watch industry. New brands, exotic brands, brand announcements, brand shifts, and personalities. Detroit is a conservative, hard working community, and when they want, they want the finer things in life.
Darakjian Jewelers: The watch lovers in Detroit are understated and many times misunderstood. Over the years of bad press for Detroit, the industry has not looked favorably on Detroit. The difference is those who know Detroit, been in Detroit, and see what Detroit can do, won’t leave and know it’s a very viable collector community. With Detroit on the economic comeback and the new restaurant culture blossoming, there is not much you can put by a Detroit area watch collector. They are well traveled more than most imagine, they are smart, cautious, and looking for that timeless piece that makes a subtle statement. Whether a dress or casual piece, it’s worn impeccably with the finest fashions.
ABTW: Do you serve mostly locals or tourists, or is it a good mix? Also, what percentage of your customers would you call “knowledgeable watch collectors?”
Darakjian Jewelers: For our business as a whole, the customer base is increasingly growing in the tourists that we never had. This year celebrates our 50th Anniversary, and our 1 year anniversary in our new location in Birmingham, which is a surprise to most unknowing visitors. On a beautiful summer day in Birmingham, you have as many exotic and classic cars as anywhere else, not to mention the wrists driving those cars are similarly exclusive. With that community awareness and involvement, and now with the perfect location, state of the art showroom, and world famous brands, the new clients we’re meeting are a joy, and our long time clients are just as excited about our new location as we are. For the watch buyer in our store, they are very knowledgeable. We joke about it, but there aren’t too many distractions living in the Detroit Metropolitan area. No beaches, mountains, etc. So when you love something, you dive right into it.
ABTW: What is Birmingham best known for? What do visitors have to do, see, or eat while there?
Darakjian Jewelers: Eat? Now you’re talking my language. Detroit and some of the surrounding areas are soon becoming an eating mecca. There is a huge interest in the Detroit skyline by international companies investing. That brings night life, food, business, and residential growth. This is all very exciting for us locals. Detroit is for sure known for cars. The automotive world is pretty strong here. We have amazing lakes, and up north (approximately 3 hours away), is world-class laid-back living. People come from all over the world to Traverse City and Mackinaw Island. Greenfield Village and other museums throughout the city offer to those who enjoy a walk through time. And for the car enthusiast, the Woodward Cruise is the worlds largest “cruise” down a 4 lane each way street attracting more than 1.5million people.
ABTW: As a business, do you sponsor or participate in any local events, watch-related or otherwise?
Darakjian Jewelers: My father, who started the business and who still comes in daily, has always been part of the community. Giving back has always been part of Darakjian Jewelers and will continue to be. We do this by participating in many of our local charities. Now if you are talking watch-related events, we do have a variety of collector dinners and our anniversary party (which I have to say is something to see). Although, this year, we have a few surprises planned for our events throughout the year. So keep your eyes open.
Darakjian Jewelers: There definitely is a watch culture at Darakjian Jewelers. We are not your average local jewelry store. We are proud authorized dealers of Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin, Ulysse Nardin, Carl F Bucherer, Maurice Lacroix, Bremont, SevenFriday, to list a few. Over the years, we have positioned ourselves with our brands and some that we’ve had over the years that really capture our clients discerning tastes.