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 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania?
After being in business for nearly a century (they will have their 100th anniversary next year), you would expect a traditional jeweler like Govberg Jewelers to be rooted in the past and in their hometown of Philadelphia. Yet, these heavily watch-oriented folks continually push their watch business well past the confines of their classic retail stores in downtown Philadelphia. Danny Govberg, whose grandfather, Albert Govberg, founded the business in 1916, has challenged his father and grandfather’s business models upon entering the business in 1983 when they ventured into the watches.
Besides their locations in Philly proper, they have a store in suburban Ardmore, they own Yamron Jewlers in Naples, Florida, and a just opened Govberg Jewelers in the Cleveland, Ohio suburbs. But what sets Govberg apart is their depth, not just their breadth in regards to watches. Readers of International Watch magazine (iW) may know Mr. Govberg as its owner and president. They fully embrace the buying and selling of used timepieces at Govberg and went nation-wide with their web-based Govberg Watch Repair business. Their latest Internet offering is their Govberg OnTime mobile app (which we wrote about here). With a 4th generation Govberg (Danny’s son Brian) on board, their legacy of tradition mixed with forward thinking looks to continue for a long time.aBlogtoWatch: What types of watches are popular in your market? What makes Philadelphia a unique place to buy watches?
Govberg Jewelers: Philadelphia is a charismatic city – defined by history, culture, art, challenges, and innovation. It is constantly evolving, similar to the heritage-innovation interplay of the watch industry. It’s fitting Govberg Jewelers calls this city home, as we merge a traditional, family-owned retail experience with the interests and behaviors of the tech-savvy luxury watch consumer. We specialize in both new and pre-owned timepieces from an incredible range of brands, and offer services across multiple platforms – including our recently launched mobile app – Govberg OnTime – to meet the desires of our Philadelphia-based clients and those who come from all points across the world.
Our clients are drawn to complicated and highly limited models in prestigious metals, classically styled and sporty rubber-strap watches, and both heritage-inspired and true vintage timepieces.
Our inventory represents this full range, as we are an authorized dealer for Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, F.P. Journe, Rolex, Breitling, Vacheron Constantin, Hublot, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Omega, and many more. We also offer a constantly expanding pre-owned watch inventory and have built an active buying culture – purchasing pre-owned luxury watches daily from private clients.
ABTW: What would you tell watch lovers in other cities that watch lovers in Philadelphia like?
Govberg Jewelers: Philadelphia’s watch enthusiasts are, horologically-speaking, well-educated, well-traveled, and well-read. They tend to be thoughtful and intentional in their purchasing behavior, enjoying both the process of deciding what to buy and the subsequent experience on the wrist. The “typical” watch-obsessed Philadelphian is respectful and excited by brands with a strong heritage, and they gravitate towards relatively classic and conservative styles.
Overall, the Philadelphia watch community has embraced the pre-owned category, by purchasing pre-owned timepieces, by selling, and more and more, trading in watches they no longer wear. We have a phenomenal assortment of luxury pre-owned watches available to buy in store, which is a huge draw locally, and since we cater to a national clientele with the pre-owned category, this inventory is also presented on govbergwatches.com, and through the app – Govberg OnTime.
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?”
Govberg Jewelers: Definitely a strong mix. We have been entrenched in the Philadelphia community for nearly 100 years, building a reputation as a leading destination for a long-tenured watch enthusiast, the ultimate watch geek, and someone purchasing their first mechanical watch. By working with the finest brands and thousands of clients worldwide, we have truly benefitted from a global referral business.
Taking it a step further, we launched a web-based repair platform in 2012 to address the needs of mechanical watch owners nationwide – govbergwatchrepair.com – and today, we efficiently deliver watch service and repair to a far-reaching network. Nearly 1200 watches pass through Govberg Watch Repair each month, and the success of this model – traditional service enhanced with the support of technology – has paved the way for the growth of our pre-owned watch department, on both the buying and selling sides.
ABTW: What is Philadelphia best known for? What do visitors have to do, see, or eat while there?
Govberg Jewelers: Philadelphia offers an itinerary for every interest – from American history to post-Impressionist artwork, Man vs. Food-style dining, and so much more. A historic and culturally-driven tour through Philly includes stops at the National Constitution Center, the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, the Betsy Ross House, and family-friendly destinations like the Franklin Institute, Please Touch Museum… the list continues. Art majors will swoon at the Barnes Foundation, Rodin Museum; and of course, the Philadelphia Museum of Art. If you are feeling particularly touristy, run those steps like Rocky!
Foodies are impressed by Philly’s culinary scene, which has exploded far beyond the Pat’s vs. Geno’s debate over the last decade. Chefs and restaurateurs are among our city’s “celebrity culture,” from Marc Vetri (Vetri, Amis, Osteria, Pizzeria Vetri, and more) to Jose Garces (Amada, Garces Trading Co., Village Whiskey, Tinto, Volvér, and more), Michael Solomonov (Zahav, Dizengoff, Abe Fisher, Federal Donuts, and more) and the ultimate restaurateur, Steven Starr (Barclay Prime, Buddakan, Butcher & Singer, The Continental, Morimoto, Parc, and many more).
And this is just the beginning. Philadelphia is about to have a few major moments in the spotlight – with the Pope’s pending visit this fall and the Democratic National Convention in 2016. Two occasions that you will certainly want to be on time for.
Govberg Jewelers: We have an active event culture at Govberg and host and support a variety of community, collector-oriented, and philanthropic experiences throughout Philadelphia each year. In the watch-realm, we love bringing enthusiasts together to share in the dynamic and, at times, quirky nuances of this passion. From intimate dinners with brand representatives and leadership, to casual collector gatherings hosted in-store – including the recent launch event for Red Bar Philly – our engagement with enthusiasts is ongoing and remarkable.
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 Philadelphia what would it be?
Govberg Jewelers: Rolex; A strongly-admired conservative brand with deep roots, perfectly connecting with someone buying watches where the country was founded. govbergwatches.com