Swiss luxury watch and accessory brand TAG Heuer has officially opened its first standalone Canadian store at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre. It’s the latest international brand to enter the Canadian market by opening a store and is another example of a brand adopting a direct-to-consumer model which is a significant trend in the retail industry.
The 762 square foot Yorkdale TAG Heuer boutique features the brand’s latest store design. A metal facade features interlocking metal triangles based on the TAG Heuer ‘shield’ with overlapping layers referencing the internal mechanisms in a watch. The high-quality interior features monochromatic tones of grey and black that complement the stone flooring which is said to reference the brand’s Swiss roots of heritage and craftsmanship. Touches of red, including carpeting and trim, highlight the brand’s partnerships and attachment to the world of motor racing. This includes the Aston Martin Red Bull Formula 1 team, the Formula 1 Monaco Grand prix among others. Construction on the project took several months of precision work and top-notch project management, according to custom retail build specialist Amachris Corporation which built the beautiful new space.
Within the boutique, TAG Heuer’s timepieces and accessories are displayed in branded showcases. Styles include the Carrera Heuer 02 Tourbillon, new green-dial Aquaracers, as well as the iconic Monaco which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The brand’s core collection of watches are also on display including chronographs, which are highly desirable to a market seeking quality as well as brand recognition.
The company designs, manufactures and markets watches and fashion accessories. It also licenses its name for eyewear and mobile phones, and markets a line of men’s accessories including wallets, belts, bags, jackets, bracelets and cufflinks. The brand was founded in 1860 by Edouard Heuer. In 1999, French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH acquired 100% of TAG Heuer. The name TAG Heuer combines the initials of “Techniques d’Avant Garde” with the founder’s surname.
TAG Heuer watches can be priced well into the thousands of dollars, depending on the design and materials used. The company has innovated with its designs over the years — in 1911, Heuer received a patent for the “Time of Trip”, which was the first dashboard chronograph that was designed for use in automobiles and aircraft. Its design includes two large hands that are mounted from the center pinion to indicate the time of day, while a small pair of hands, mounted at the top of the dial (12 o’clock position) indicates the duration of the trip. TAG Heuer operates in four production facilities.
TAG Heuer has paid numerous celebrities over the years to endorse its products with a few names such as Chris Hemsworth, Tiger Woods, Leonardo DeCaprio, Brad Pitt and others.
“We are very happy to open our first store in Canada after 35 years in the market. During this time, we have experienced tremendous organic growth and we are excited to now offer our own standalone boutique. TAG Heuer is investing in retail more than ever to ensure we are engaging with our customers through exceptional service and a rich brand experience,” said Benjamin Beaufils, President of TAG Heuer North America. “This is an important milestone for us as we keep growing our retail network and consolidate our presence in Toronto.”
The Yorkdale TAG Heuer boutique is the brand’s ninth retail location in North America. In the U.S., boutiques can be found in New York City, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Orlando and Las Vegas. Globally there are 4,500 points of sale, including 170 TAG Heuer boutiques as well as the brand’s global e-commerce site.
Various retailers in Canada carry the TAG Heuer line. In the Toronto area, retailers carrying the brand include Maison Birks’ Yorkdale, Bloor Street, CF Fairview Mall, CF Sherway Gardens and CF Fairview locations, which feature small TAG Heuer shop-in-stores. Family-owned Toronto-based multi-brand jeweller European Boutique opened a licensed TAG Heuer shop-in-store in its renovated CF Sherway Gardens location in the fall of 2017, and the retailer also features TAG Heuer shop-in-stores at CF Toronto Eaton Centre and Square One locations. Hudson’s Bay’s CF Toronto Eaton Centre flagship carries an assortment of TAG Heuer watches, as do jewellers such as Bandiera, Berani, L’Oro, and several others. Raffi Jewellers’ Yorkdale location also carries a selection of TAG Heuer.
Additional corporately-owned TAG Heuer storefronts could open in Canada, with Vancouver expected to be the next target market. While the Toronto TAG Heuer shop is contained within an enclosed shopping centre, many luxury brands are seeking street-front retail spaces in downtown Vancouver, particularly in the Alberni Street ‘Luxury Zone’. Vancouver’s Oakridge Shopping Centre is said to be in talks with luxury brands to open there, with Tiffany & Co. having recently relocated to a new wing that will become a ‘luxury run’ set to rival downtown Vancouver, according to landlord QuadReal. Montreal could also be a target for a freestanding TAG Heuer unit, and Toronto’s Bloor-Yorkville would be an obvious choice for a second flagship Toronto location. Although TAG Heuer has prime locations in other global cities, Yorkdale has managed to secure this brand as well as several other luxury brands not otherwise available in Toronto’s downtown core.
TAG Heuer’s corporate store launch marks a trend being seen in the Canadian retail industry. Many brands are going direct-to-consumer by opening free-standing stores, in some cases bypassing wholesalers and multi-brand retailers altogether. The same brands are also opening Canadian e-commerce sites, which in effect are another local storefront.
International brands continue to target Canada by opening stores, and 2019 is another banner year as Retail Insider tracks movements of international brands entering the country. In early 2020, we’ll tally up the number of international brands that entered Canada by opening stores, and also analyze how the competition could affect homegrown retailers.
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Swiss luxury watchmaker, TAG Heuer has officially opened its first Canadian flagship store at Yorkdale Shopping Centre. Amachris is extremely proud to have built this space, bringing the retailer’s vision to life! The 760 square foot boutique features the brand’s latest store design, which includes an intricate metal facade, referencing the complex internal mechanics of a watch. The high-quality grey and black fixtures complement the beautiful stone floors, while red details seen in the carpeting and trim, highlight the brand’s involvement in the world of motor racing. Building this store was another great project to work on, as it marks a fantastic international brand entering the Canadian market! 🙌🏼😍 . . Photography: @tagheuer . . #luxuryretail #designbuild #retailinsider #retaildesign #tagheuer #projectmanagement #generalcontractor #Amachris