Definitely Doux: A stalwart in France’s luxury watch and jewelry scene
Doux Joaillier’s journey from a traditional retailer to a modern maison is marked by an unwavering pursuit of excellence, both in the physical boutiques and the digital storefront.
The only son of a modest family from Avignon (his father sold automotive tools, while his grandfather was a window washer), the late Henri Doux loved watches and clocks from an early age. Starting as a watchmaker at 25, he worked his way up the ranks before setting up his eponymous boutique, Horlogerie Doux, in 1965 on Rue Joseph Vernet in Avignon.
The humble watchmaker spent days behind the counter selling and nights repairing watches, a service that allowed him to earn his living for the first few lean years. It took some five years before Henri’s passion, hard work and professionalism finally paid off, when the name Doux was established in the world of jewelers.
Henri’s flourishing business was set on a solid path of success in 1974, when it gained the distinction of becoming France’s first Cartier authorized dealer. Soon, the store also carried Rolex and other big brands at the time.
Aside from watches, Henri was also known to be a gemology aficionado with a knack for creating jewelry so original that clients would travel from Paris to his boutique in Avignon for his unique know-how.
A legacy continues
Although Henri shuttered Horlogerie Doux and retired in 2014 at age 73, he passed on his love for the art of jewelry to his two children. His son Richard, a graduate of the Lyon Jewelry School, first set up his own manufacturing workshop in the 1980s.
However, he went on to continue his father’s legacy by establishing the first Doux Joaillier boutique in Avignon in 1996. Four years later, Richard assumed the role of company director and set up a second boutique in the upscale ski destination of Courchevel in the French Alps.
Then in 2006, the third store opened in Saint-Tropez, along one of the most beautiful coastal promenades overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Richard recalls, “One day, the president of Boucheron called me and suggested that since we have a store in the winter destination of Courchevel, why not replicate the Doux Joaillier experience with a summer counterpart?
“He then proposed an ideal location in the heart of Saint-Tropez that I could take over.”
Doux Joaillier also has a fourth multi-brand boutique in historic Nîmes (also known as the French Rome), which was established by Richard’s sister, Diane, in the 1990s. And come 2024, the retailer will welcome its fifth store in Deauville, an exclusive upscale holiday destination on the Côte Fleurie of France’s Normandy region.
The opening of another multi-brand boutique in this city is a judicious move by Doux. After all, Deauville, known as the Parisian Riviera, has been the seaside escape for Paris’ elite since the 1860s.
Furthermore, its reputation as a playground for the affluent is bolstered by prestigious events, such as the Deauville American Film Festival, which establishes it as a cultural epicenter that contends with the splendor of Cannes. Amid this luxurious setting, elite equine auctions and the allure of high-stakes gaming at the opulent Casino Barrière also draw an international elite, cementing Deauville’s position as a pinnacle of lavish living.
Additionally, Doux owns three mono-brand boutiques, two of which are Rolex stores in Saint-Tropez and Courchevel, which opened in 2016 and 2022 respectively. The third store, for French jewelry Maison Messika, was established in 2020 in Saint-Tropez.
Doux Joaillier’s portfolio boasts esteemed names such as Piaget, Hermès, IWC, Greubel Forsey, Cartier, Omega, and more. Complementing these timepieces are dazzling creations from Chaumet, Repossi, Chopard, and Pomellato, alongside the Doux jewelry brand, which highlights the family’s own creative prowess.
Thanks to the know-how of in-house master watchmakers and the latest generation technologies, Doux’s workshops are approved by top-tier watchmaking houses such as Rolex and Cartier. Then, there are the masterful hands of its resident artisans, who can translate clients’ dreams into tangible treasures that resonate with their personalities.
New digital horizon
However, beyond an impressive inventory, reinvention is a necessity in the ever-evolving luxury retail industry. Doux Joaillier embraced the digital revolution with the advent of an online store in 2018.
Still maintaining Doux’s renowned standards of excellence, service and exclusivity in the virtual world, this space complements its physical boutiques perfectly.
Doux Joaillier’s online store has grown from strength to strength, making up for 10 percent of total sales. Its vast selection of over 3,000 items ranges from a Le Gramme bracelet at 200 euros to a piece of haute joaillerie signed by Messika.
Thanks to the work of the family’s third generation, Doux Joaillier’s e-commerce site is akin to its eighth boutique. Richard’s son, Arthur Doux, who joined the company in 2019 as communications manager, adds, “Our e-commerce site was pretty basic when we launched it, but since then, we’ve incorporated some features to ensure our clients have a nice online shopping experience.
“Now, we have special packaging and even scent it, and we make sure to have a human touch every step of the way. For instance, customers will get a reply within 10 minutes should they have any queries via phone or any of our other channels between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.
“I think this personal touch is our strength and that’s why many clients become long-term patrons via our website. Typically, it’s hard to get repeat business via e-commerce; most customers buy one item and will Google for another vendor for their next purchases, but many of ours patrons return to enquire about another product after their first buys, so I think we’ve done a good job.”
The company’s digital strategy is also an extension of the Doux experience. The website serves as a prelude, inviting clients into the Doux world, while social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp allow Doux to respond to and engage with clients on a more immediate and intimate level.
Arthur says, “E-commerce isn’t solely for sales. I think 90 percent of our clients who come to our boutiques have visited our website.
“They have something in mind, then check on the website for its availability, so e-commerce acts like a display. We use our social network to bring new clients to our e-commerce site, so there’s a good synergy between various platforms.
“When customers visit our physical stores and see that we are an established brand, they will confidently purchase from our e-commerce site.”
What also sets Doux Joaillier apart is the unforgettable customer journeys it crafts. “We organize various events, from intimate ones with five to 10 clients involving a special experience like sailing or ski racing, to a big cocktail party where we invite many clients to discover a new collection.
“There was one we did in Courchevel with Cartier, where guests enjoyed an amazing dinner by a Michelin-starred chef in a beautifully decorated cable car as it climbed to the top of the mountain. Our high-end clients in Saint-Tropez and Courchevel can buy anything they want, so they won’t be impressed by a dinner at a five-star hotel.
“We must give them an experience that money can’t buy and that allows us to foster long-lasting relationships with them,” explains Arthur.
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FROM THE SHOP
|Manual winding Sellita caliber AMT5100, with rose gold plating and custom bridge for Furlan Marri; 58-hour power reserve; heated blued steel screws
|Hours, minutes, small seconds and flyback chronograph
|38mm (46mm from lug to lug); stainless steel with olive-shaped pushers for Honey Blue flyback, Taupe flyback and Tasti Tondi pushers for Salmon flyback; water resistant to 50m
|Taupe, blue, or two-tone salmon and black (Revolution edition); double printed text with pulsations scale, polished applied indexes
|Italian leather with quick release system
|270 pieces per reference + 30 collector boxes (including one of each references) in addition.