The recently opened Rolex Boutique by Cortina Watch promises immersion in the world of the famous Swiss horology brand. TRACY LEE dives in.
What if your next watch shopping experience felt like a visit to a luxe boutique hotel, with mood lighting, twinkling chandeliers, plush armchairs, an exhibition space, and an intimate bar proffering pastries, coffee and tea in the afternoons, a glass of vino and finger sandwiches in the evenings, and ice cream throughout the day?
The recently-opened 5,522 sq ft Rolex Boutique by Cortina Watch at Marina Square delivers just that.
Featuring interior design concepts created by Rolex in Geneva, the boutique uses materials and colours – brass and brushed steel, chocolateand- caramel-toned woods, and that distinctive emerald hue watch fanciers call “Rolex green” – to evoke design elements of the famed timepieces and their presentation boxes.
The retail section, which carries the most extensive range of Rolexes in the Cortina network, features cosy lounge areas and elegant display areas themed according to Rolex collections such as Cellini, Datejust, Day-date, Explorer, Professional, Semi-precious, Stainless Steel and Gold. Tucked away in the farthest recesses of the store is an intimate “gentleman’s library” furnished with sofas, shelves of design books, and a selection of precious Rolexes set with diamonds, sapphires and rubies. Sliding wooden panels provide extra privacy.
A passageway leads you to the first “The Rolex Exhibition” space in South-east Asia. Visitors are greeted by a lofty double-volume lobby with sheer, gold-toned panels hanging overhead in a circular arrangement that somehow makes you feel you’ve shrunk, Alice in Wonderland-like, and ended up inside a watch.
“After a 20-minute guided tour with our trained staff, you’ll have learnt more about watchmaking than perhaps you might from reading,” says Jeremy Lim, chief operating officer of Cortina Watch.
What else to look out for: special events like cocktail parties, and intimate live screenings of sporting events Rolex is associated with, such as Formula One and golf. Sign us up.
The Rolex Exhibition revolves around three themes.
1 Rolex and the Deep focuses on Rolex’s history of deep-sea exploration through two landmark submarine expeditions, in 1960 and 2012, to the Mariana Trench. It includes the only two watches that have ever been on manned dives to the deepest point in the oceans, the experimental Rolex Deepsea Special and Rolex Deepsea Challenge.
2 The World of Rolex is likely to ignite your guy’s fantasies of the perfect home theatre/ man cave. It has 12 oversized TV screens playing clips of the brand’s partnerships in the arts, exploration, philanthropic programmes and sports such as equestrian, Formula One, tennis, polo, sailing and skiing.
3 The Rolex Way highlights Rolex’s commitment, since its 1905 inception, to create the most accurate and reliable wristwatches in the world. Six automated showcases feature exclusive Rolex components such as the latest Perpetual movement, the Cerachrom bezel, and the new Chronergy escapement.
Trained staff are on hand to take you through the intricacies of precision watch engineering.
The Rolex Exhibition offers an immersive multimedia encounter with key elements associated with the renowned luxury Swiss watch brand.
Cortina COO Jeremy Lim weighs in on Rolex’s allure
• You are buying a very reliable brand that’s been on the market since 1905, and hasn’t gone through major changes in terms of looks and DNA. The main look always remains, but subtle improvements go into each subsequent model. Unless you are really familiar with the details, if you compare a model today with one from 20 years ago, you might see that the bracelet has improved, but the watches are still related in terms of style, look, functionality and performance. You can be assured of its quality and reliability, and of good after-sales service no matter which part of the world you’re in.
• People don’t usually stop at one. It’s popular as a graduation gift, and some people may buy one with their first pay cheque. Subsequent purchases tend to be for dressier models, like a bejewelled piece to mark your wedding or anniversary.
• The options are endless. Rolex usually releases four to six new dial designs each year.
• More women are buying men’s Rolexes these days, especially the professional sports models. As I always say, there are only ladies’ watches – my wife borrows my watches and looks good wearing them, but I can’t do the reverse.