Alan Teo & Michael Tay at L'Atelier
The Ion at Orchard Road was one of the most expensive commercial estate deals when it was bought by the developers who had planned something special for that plot of prized land. Planned as the mall for ultimate luxury, it was inevitable that top luxury Swiss watch houses would set up boutiques there. Patek Philippe, Rolex, Omega, Cartier, Tag Hauer and IWC have showrooms there - in expectation of business from the large community of watch collectors in Singapore and the region. Hour Glass and Cortina has well placed shops as well but the L'Atelier deserves special mention.
The word "L'Atelier" is a term of art used by the watch industry to represent the place or room where the artisan or watchmaker works. There you find all his necessary tools to repair, make or assemble parts of the watch he or she is working on. Mr Michael Tay (Executive Director of HG) planned for such a concept for his new jewel in the Hour Glass crown.
A retail outlet with a sense of being a watchmaker's place where his magic is woven. When one steps into the L'Atelier, the opulence of fine leather chesterfield seating in the centre of the boutique brings a sense of a well appointed living room of a gentleman's home. Surrounded by both watch books, art and curios connected with horology, the boutique is almost a museum of horological curiosities.
There are two antique workbenches, one on the left of the entrance and the other stands on its own as a separating feature between two rooms with all kinds of watch making equipment as well as beautiful watch movements under glass bells.
The boutique features an inner sanctum where curtains could be drawn for clients who demand a higher level of discretion. In this room along the walls, the lower half features - as a design element - the watch cases from Daniel Roth and Gerald Genta.
All round the walls of the boutique are found the displays of the high end luxury brands. Including Lange & Sohne, the dealership which was extended to Hour Glass just recently. Watches are also displayed in cabinets but their dimension and designs reflect a more tasteful manner of display to create a highly exclusive yet a warm atmosphere of sophistication and comfort for the regular and potential customers. No detail was overlooked and that included new uniforms for staff that are replicas of watch maker's coats.
This new boutique raises the bar even higher in an already competitive market in Singapore. However, its an exciting development for watch collectors to be able to see retailers bringing the art form in horology one step closer to the public and for us to see the rare equipment once used in watch making.
For a photomontage of the L'Atelier, click on the image above.