April 10, 2016
by Mark Carson
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.
To fully understand Marcus Watches in London, it helps to understand Marcus Marguiles. The world of watches has been very important to the Margulies family, spanning more than 80 years on the front line of Swiss watchmaking.
In 1931, Marcus’ father Alexander arrived in Britain from Poland. The following year, he setup ELCO Clocks & Watches Ltd. and was importing Swiss watches for the UK market. During WWII, Alexander Margulies setup up factories in Wales and Aylesbury manufacturing cockpit instruments for the legendary Spitfire fighter aircraft as well as components for anti-aircraft guns. During this period, in 1942, Marcus Margulies was born. By 1962, their parent company “Time Products” had gone public on the stock exchange and in 1963, Marcus joined his father’s company after having apprenticed in Swiss watch factories. Fast forward to 1977 and Marcus became Chairman of Time Products. In 2001, Marcus took Time Products back to being a family-owned private company. So while the Marcus Watches store only opened in 1999, Marcus has been intimately involved in the watch business all of his life.aBlogtoWatch (ABTW): What types of watches are popular in your market? What makes London a unique place to buy watches?
Marcus Watches: The kind of watches that are popular in London are always the hard-to-obtain pieces. We get asked for them on a daily basis, as I expect most retailers do. Being a capital city and a destination for many international clients both on business and holiday, we get many big watch collectors from all over the world who are looking for pieces that they have not been able to find elsewhere. Also, being in a state to have a different monetary currency as the rest of Europe, we have our own exchange rate – which can be both good and bad for the shopper. When exchange rates are favourable, we will see an influx of customers. Our client base is a very eclectic mix from people buying their first pieces right up to the high-end big watch collectors. As we have a good large selection of the brands that we do, if a client is looking for something, we are usually bound to have it in stock.
ABTW: What would you tell watch lovers in other cities about the tastes of watch lovers in London?
Marcus Watches: Most of our clients are from all over the world. From experience, the tastes seem to be similar the world over, and as we only have a small number of watch brands, we have a very good selection of their collections. Our preferred brand is, of course, Audemars Piguet as it is not too extroverted and is a good well-known brand with history.
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?”
Marcus Watches: Most of our clients are tourists. We get a small few that are UK-based. Because of the types of brands we carry, people are very knowledgeable and come in to have their questions answered and their thoughts confirmed. It is hard to pick a watch from an image, it is a personal thing and needs to be tried on to be truly appreciated.
ABTW: What is London best known for? What do visitors have to do, see, or eat while there?
Marcus Watches: London is full of sites, historic and contemporary, as well as a huge variety of restaurants for all cuisines due to tourism and it being a capital city.
ABTW: As a business, do you sponsor or participate in any local events, watch-related or otherwise?
Marcus Watches: Owning the Hublot boutique as well as Marcus gives us the opportunity to meet many of the Hublot clients. Hublot has been a very fashionable brand for many years now and is highly collectible. We find that most people who buy a piece tend to return to purchase another.
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 London what would it be?
Marcus Watches: We do six watch brands: Greubel Forsey, MB&F, Urwerk, Ressence, Audemars Piguet, and Hublot, but we also have many unique pieces from other brands that Marcus has distributed and acquired over the years due to him having been a distributor. Most people do not realize but Marcus used to distribute brands such as Audemars Piguet, Piaget, Breguet, Vacheron Constantin, and Blancpain before they became parts of larger companies. During this time, he had many unique pieces made and we still have some available.
I think the Royal Oak perfectly matches the London culture being sleek and sporty, yet elegant and refined. marcuswatches.com