Project: Harrods Fine Watches

Design: Rundell Associates
Opening date: July 2018
Store size: 1,667 sq m

With 10 large boutiques and a multibrand area, as well as VIP suites and a special aftercare service, the Fine Watches department at Harrods is the ultimate destination for haute horology. The newly expanded and redeveloped space, which houses such brands as Hublot, Panerai, Rolex and Roger Dubuis, now occupies two floors adjoining the Fine Jewellery Room and has its own dedicated entrance on Hans Road.

There are five boutiques on each floor as well as a retro Italian Riviera inspired restaurant on the lower ground floor.

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Image: Rundell Associates

Designed by Rundell Associates, the department features a sweeping, marble-lined staircase beneath a vaulted ceiling, with leather-lined walls, terrazzo floor and fine bronze detailing throughout.

The face of the curved central staircase is crafted from a single block of Cipollino Tirrenia, with intricate veining that has a strong graphic appeal along its route from the ground floor down to the lower ground floor.

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The staircase, ground and lower ground floor are laid with bespoke Italian Terrazzo flooring that features iridescent mother of pearl fragments to enliven the pale cream background. It is also embedded with bronze inlay strips to echo the detailing on a watch face.

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Image: Rundell Associates

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 inspired by fine leather watch straps. Both the staircase handrails and the pale leather walls that run throughout the space have been created by Bill Amberg, with the use of leather intended to soften the ambience of the space.

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Image: Rundell Associates

Rundell Associates has reinforced this calming atmosphere by using materials designed to soften the acoustic resonance of the rooms. A domed lighting feature is crafted in the ceiling above the grand staircase; it's oval shape harking back to the spirit and grandeur of the lightwells that were once a feature of Harrods. 'The light level from this feature is programmed to mimic the external daylight levels, giving a subtle reference to the passage of time,' explains a spokesperson for Rundell.

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The space around the lightwell forms a generous gallery, linking the entrances to the boutiques and allowing free and unrestricted circulation around the room, while allowing clear sightlines to the boutiques below.

Indirect cove lighting has been used throughout the department, while specialist lighting has been designed for wall cabinets and general display to maximise the visual impact of watches on display.

'The redevelopment of Fine Watches showcases our commitment and dedication to offering the best in class to our customers,' says Helen David, chief merchant at Harrods. 'There is nowhere else like it in the world and we pride ourselves on retaining our position as the ultimate luxury shopping destination. 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.'

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