The Group has also reopened all of its Mayors showrooms in the US and Watches of Switzerland showrooms in Las Vegas.
Following consultation with an independent health and safety consultant and the necessary risk assessments, the Watches of Switzerland Group is now Covid-19 secure and will be welcoming clients back into its UK showrooms for the first time since they were closed on March 22 in response to Government guidelines following the Covid-19 outbreak.
Brian Duffy, the Watches of Switzerland Group chief executive, said: “Clearly, lockdown has had a significant impact on our business with stores closed for more than two months.”
"This is therefore a very positive moment for group colleagues, who are excited to return to work and serve our loyal clients. It’s also an exciting moment for watch enthusiasts, who have been waiting patiently to view this year’s new products."
Mr Duffy continued: “This period of lockdown has presented us with challenges, but also opportunities. We’ve seen significant growth in our ecommerce business, which saw an 82.8 per cent year-on-year increase in April and for the first time offers clients pieces from some of our high-end brand partners, including Vacheron Constantin and Jaeger-LeCoultre. Our teams around the country have also been able to deepen their relationships with our VIP clients using tools such as Zoom to stay in touch, show product and arrange for watches to be delivered directly to them. We are confident that as we gradually reopen our network, we are well positioned to drive the business forward and emerge even stronger.”
For now, visitors to Watches of Switzerland, Mappin & Webb and Goldsmiths showrooms will be accommodated on a by-appointment-only basis. Clients will be invited to contact their nearest showroom to arrange or use the enquiry form online. In addition, there will also be a number of walk in appointments available each day. This system has been designed to help manage in-store footfall and to ensure the safety and comfort of group colleagues and clients at all times. Each showroom will have a maximum occupancy level, determined by the size of the showroom and the number of colleagues available to serve clients.
Mr Duffy said clients are excited to return to showrooms: “During lockdown, the luxury Swiss watch brands have continued to present very high-quality new collections. We have been highly impressed by the attitude of many of our brand partners, who have proved their eagerness to work with us on delivering both fabulous products and world-class service to discerning clients either online or, where it’s safe to do so, in person.”
Following social distancing guidelines
In line with the UK Government’s guidelines, the Watches of Switzerland Group has gone the extra mile to ensure the safety of colleagues and clients. Social distancing measures will be signposted and carefully adhered to in all showrooms, and only cashless payments will be accepted. Gloves, protective masks and hand sanitiser will be provided for those who require them and sneeze screens have been implemented at consultation desks as well as there being strict cleaning protocols in place for products, including the use of a UV sanitiser.
This new way of working will also enable the Watches of Switzerland Group to demonstrate the outstanding levels of personalised service for which it is world-renowned. Watches of Switzerland, Mappin & Webb and Goldsmiths have been tailoring each client’s experience to their needs for hundreds of years, suggesting the company is extremely well positioned to meet the requirements of this uniquely challenging time.
Mr Duffy added: “The Covid-19 pandemic has been a uniquely difficult period for the whole world. By reopening on June 15, we are demonstrating to our clients and to the industry that the Watches of Switzerland Group is a dynamic, adaptable and optimistic business. We are confident in this reopening schedule and delighted to be able to offer our clients a safe, comfortable environment in which they can realise their dreams of owning a luxury Swiss watch.”