Paris, Vienna, Prague, Moscow, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Taiwan, Singapore, Beijing, Macau and now – Melbourne. Stroll through the hallowed walkways of The Block Arcade (corner of Elizabeth and Collins Street) and you will chance upon shop number 23. This is where Bell & Ross has found its first foothold downunder, in the heart of Melbourne City, Australia. Coincidentally, the number 23 also happens to be the number of years the French-Swiss watch brand has now been in existence. Whether the occurrence of the same number in the 2 instances was intentional or chance, I can only wonder. What I can tell you for certain is that, this is the brand’s 13th international boutique that forms part of its global expansion master plan, due to be curated by Lion Brands Australia.
Appropriately adorned in aircraft guts, pilot suits and other aviation paraphernalia, the retail space is stocked to the brim with offerings from both their Heritage and contemporary collections. But Bell & Ross didn’t just stop at having a well-stocked store. While the ground floor storefront is more than adequate to cater to the casual watch buyer, the adjoining floor above has been fitted out to serve as a consultation space for discerning collectors.
But all that perhaps is, dare I say, formulaic to expect from a respected watch brand. However, there are 2 questions swirling about in my head right about now:
- Why Australia?
- And since Australia, why Melbourne and not, Sydney?
Well, the answer to my first question is very nicely spelled out by Graeme Goldman, Founder of Lion Brands, “The Bell & Ross Boutique opening is a pivotal milestone for Lion Brands and a strong gesture of the strengthening relationship with Bell & Ross Head Office. As recent sales dictate, the brand is perfectly suited to a growing segment of the discerning Australian consumer market.” And that’s basically it. Today, there is an undeniable slow but sure growing number of Aussie watch collectors, and watch brands are moving in response to this growth.
As to why not Sydney, the assumed capital of Australia (for the unaware, the capital of Australia is in fact Canberra)? I don’t have an answer there – but I assure you, I for one am grinning ear to ear knowing that yet another Swiss watch brand has taken up residence in my favorite Aussie city.
More pictures below for your viewing pleasure.