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 Carmel-By-The-Sea, California?
In 1983, Jim Genone created Jewelry Atelier in world famous Carmel-By-The Sea, California. In the ensuing years, the location, name, and ownership have changed, but this remains a family owned and operated business which has been in its current incarnation since 2010. However, they have been selling watches for over 10 years and have a special affection for interesting smaller brands. We spoke with co-owner Ryan Genone whose father was the founder of Jewelry Atelier.
aBlogtoWatch: What types of watches are popular in your market? What makes Carmel a unique place to buy watches?
Jewelry Atelier: Carmel’s visitors tend to seek out unique items that they won’t find in their home town. As a result, we tend to be very successful with smaller independent brands who offer novel features. Brands like Ball and Bremont who have small annual production numbers and exciting in-house features like anti-shock, anti-magnetism, or special metal alloys satisfy this desire. Similarly, the in-house mechanics of brands like Frederique Constant and Maurice Lacroix are also a big draw.
Jewelry Atelier: Because we are a vacation destination, our watch clients are coming from all over the world. I’d say our watch lovers encompass the entire range from well-rounded enthusiasts who delight in both boutique manufacturers as well as larger brands up through dyed-in-the-wool brand enthusiasts who only buy from one or two manufacturers.
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?”
Jewelry Atelier: Our clientele is probably 95% tourists who come from all across the US and the world. Because of this, we have a very diverse crowd of watch buyers visiting us. As opposed to a major metropolitan location, our customers are probably a bit more conservative and possibly less image focused. Our buyers tend to appreciate a solid combination of features and value. We do have a fair number of knowledgeable watch collectors and enthusiasts as clients, but we also deal with a lot of people who are simply looking to purchase a high quality timepiece at a fair price that they can cherish as an only piece.
Jewelry Atelier: Carmel is known as one of the most beautiful places on the west coast. With Pebble Beach next door, we are obviously one of the premiere golfing locations. We also have a lot of local history connected with the film industry (Clint Eastwood was our mayor and is still a big draw). Along with boutique shopping, we have incredible beaches practically on our door-step. We also have many local food and wine events which draw top/celebrity chefs, not to mention an amazing number of fine art galleries. On top of that, Big Sur, arguably the most gorgeous stretch of coastline in all of California is just south of us along Highway One.
Jewelry Atelier: Carmel hosts the Concours d’Elegance car events every year in August. Those events draw an amazing number of people and we always try to do something special during that time of year.
ABTW: What are some of the watch brands you are known for carrying? If you could pick a watch brand or model that epitomizes the culture or style of Carmel what would it be?
Jewelry Atelier: Our emphasis is on small boutique brands like Bremont, Meistersinger, Ball, etc. Rather than a specific brand, I think it’s our commitment to offer our customers the best value for the feature set they desire which really sets us apart. Our customers appreciate our breadth of experience and knowledge of the industry. We have a unique background having sold many of the top brands in the industry which allows us to seek out what we believe are the brands which offer the best value.