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. Here is a map of stores we have covered so far.
Where to buy watches in Grand Cayman?
Tropical paradise? International banking center? Uniquely, Grand Cayman is both, and comfortably so. While the Cayman Islands are a British Overseas Territory, an American influence helped make the (now sunken) USS Kittiwake the only artificial reef outside of America created by a former U.S. Navy ship. Not that the Kittiwake is the only reason to dive in the Caymans. Heck, even if you don’t scuba dive, there is the world famous Seven Mile Beach and Stingray City. Or just go to soak up the sun and relax on a Caribbean island.
Being such a world class dive setting made for a perfect location last year when aBlogtoWatch had a dive trip giveaway contest sponsored by Oris. Grand Cayman was an obvious choice for Oris as they have a premier retailer on the island who were the local hosts during the dive trip. So, welcome to The Mansion Jewellers, which has been around since 1978 and has been selling watches for 30 years. While they proudly feature Oris, they also carry a number of other brands and are equally enthusiastic about both watches and their island lifestyle.
aBlogtoWatch: What types of watches are popular in your market?
The Mansion Jewellers: Naturally, dive and sport watches do very well. However, the Island is home to many working professionals and second-home owners who are watch enthusiasts, so we sell many classic styles as well.ABTW: What makes Grand Cayman a unique place to buy watches?
The Mansion Jewellers: Tax free – Duty free, so significant savings are a key component. However, the selection is truly mind-boggling. When people are looking for that special Limited Edition Oris or Ulysse Nardin watch, they’ll often find it in Grand Cayman.
ABTW: What would you tell watch lovers in other cities about the tastes of watch lovers in Grand Cayman?
The Mansion Jewellers: I don’t imagine they are really any different. I think watch lovers worldwide can appreciate the unique styling and mechanical artistry of watches. I will say that most of our watch-loving local residents own several luxury dress watches, but can be seen every Sunday on the beach in their favorite sport watch.
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?”
The Mansion Jewellers: Cayman is unique in that we serve both segments on the luxury end. As the sixth largest financial center in the world, Cayman has a workforce that enjoys discretionary purchases all year round. However, tourists are still the driving force of our watch business. Given the large number of tourists that purchase watches in our marketplace, the percentage of collectors is marginal… less than 20%. However, those percentages grow significantly with our locals, stay-over visitors and second-home owners.
ABTW: What is Grand Cayman best known for? What do visitors have to do, see, or eat while there?
The Mansion Jewellers: Tourism and Finance. The diving is superb and our stunning seven mile beach was just rated number one by US News and World Report for 2015. What do visitors have to do, see, or eat while there? Get in the water! Truly, Grand Cayman Island has incredible beaches and relaxing on one of them is the law here. There are dozens of watersports to enjoy and the best diving in the world. Visit Camana Bay for world class shopping and great eateries. Lastly, visit Rum Point… have a cocktail and take a 2-hour nap in a beachside hammock – this should be a law too.
ABTW: As a business, do you sponsor or participate in any local events, watch-related or otherwise?
The Mansion Jewellers: Yes, we are always working with brands to sponsor events. Recently, we worked with Oris and the Cayman Islands Tourism Association to sponsor the USS Kittiwake dive site. This new artificial reef served the United States for 54 years as a rescue ship. She was built in 1944 and now rests in about 60 feet of water. Oris produced a Kittiwake limited edition pro-diver watch to celebrate the sponsorship and a portion of all Kittiwake watch sales are donated to the Kittiwake conservation project.
ABTW: What are some of the watch brands you are known for carrying?
The Mansion Jewellers: We are not your average branded watch store and, in fact, most of the really big brands are carried by the competition. However, we have been able to find our watch niche. We focus and educate consumers where others rely on the brand to sell the watch. We are known for Ulysse Nardin, Parmigiani, Hermes, Oris, Ball, Cuervo y Sobrinos, Movado, and several Swatch Group brands. We truly try to feature a watch brand for every budget.
ABTW: If you could pick a watch brand or model that epitomizes the culture or style of Grand Cayman what would it be?
The Mansion Jewellers: That’s easy, for me, anyway. Living in the Cayman Islands means you will be on a boat, in the water or on the beach very soon. That being said, I reach for my Oris Titanium Pro-Diver. I can spend all day fishing and diving with that watch on and still love it on my wrist at dinner. Life on an Island does have its challenges, but choosing my favorite watch for the day isn’t one of them. islandcompaniesltd.com/store/mansion/