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New watch department for Harrods

Knightsbridge department store Harrods has expanded and redeveloped its Fine Watches department to create a new destination for customers. Design and architecture practice Rundell Associates has designed the new feature.

The expanded department now occupies two floors, adjoining the Fine Jewellery room. The levels are joined by a sweeping, marble-lined staircase beneath a vaulted ceiling, with leather-lined walls, a bespoke terrazzo floor and bronze detailing. The brief called for a retail environment of the highest quality to reflect the art of modern watchmaking.

The balustrades of the staircase and balcony are formed from patinated bronze, shaped to reflect the oval opening that has been created between the floors, and topped by handrails clad in leather with a profile directly inspired by fine leather watch straps. Both the staircase handrails and the pale leather walls that run throughout the department have been created by master leather expert Bill Amberg, with the use of leather intended to soften the ambience of the space.

Materials have also been used to soften the acoustic ambience of the rooms, while a domed lighting feature has been created above the staircase. The level of light emitted from the feature changes during the day to mimic external daylight levels. A range of cove lighting and direct product lighting is used to highlight the merchandise.

There are ten large brand boutiques in the department, plus a multi-brand area and VIP suites. A focus on enhanced service has been included in an Aftercare department on the lower ground floor. The redevelopment has also seen the reopening of an entrance to the store on Hans Road.

“The redevelopment of Fine Watches showcases our commitment and dedication to offering the best in class to our customers. There is nowhere else like it in the world and we pride ourselves on retaining our position as the ultimate luxury shopping destination,” says Harrods chief merchant Helen David. “The new space pays tribute to our exceptional watch portfolio and provides the perfect environment to showcase some of the world’s most sought after timepieces. Fine Watches is one of the first areas in-store to be redeveloped as part of Harrods’ masterplan and we’re very excited to unveil the new department.”

“The new Fine Watches department was conceived as a meticulously crafted environment that reflects the art and materiality of watchmaking, using the highest quality materials to create the sense of timeless elegance that Harrods is known for,” adds Rundell Associates principal Mike Rundell. “The sweeping staircase is a significant new architectural feature that we hope will be enjoyed by customers for years to come. The fine craftmanship demonstrated throughout the space defines the quality of the whole department.”