We didn’t originally start out in the watchmaking sector; we worked in direct marketing. The idea of opening our own boutique came simply from our disappointing experiences when buying watches in Belgium… That sparked the idea that we could have been better received. We wanted to treat our future customers the way we would have liked to be treated!
- Françoise Lanoizelet, Hall of Time / Bruxelles
Of course, 2009 was the year when the last thing to do was open a boutique, since the sector was in total crisis. But as the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention! In actual fact, our project got a very good reception: we soon got the support of Jean-Claude Biver and Hublot. There was a lack of watchmaking knowledge in Brussels; incidentally we wanted our store to have a very modern look from the start, that’s maybe also the advantage of not having inherited a boutique that’s been handed down through generations.
As watch retailers, since we manufacture nothing ourselves, but sell products you can find all over the world, the only way to differentiate ourselves is through service. That’s what you call the buying ‘experience’, something that’s enjoyable. We often receive people who want to celebrate an event. So we need to create an appropriate atmosphere! We wanted to create a little haven, recognised for its quality welcome and service. That’s all the more important since our boutique is tucked away behind Avenue Louise, behind a grand hotel. It doesn’t open onto the street, so you really have to know it and appreciate it to come. In contrast, the Rolex boutique is situated on a grand boulevard, surrounded by other big names.
How did we come to sell Rolex? They contacted us to launch the boutique project. We’ve been their agents since 2015. It’s a great mark of confidence and a kind of seal of approval on our approach to the watch retail trade. They’d been wanting to open a boutique in Brussels for some time, but they hadn’t found the right partner.
We have all kinds of customer. Some see the price first and foremost, others are keen on service. Above all, we need to reassure them in relation to the information they accumulate left, right and centre. The challenge is to build a loyal customer base, primarily Belgian and French in our case. The world is no longer such that you can just sit behind a counter. Potential customers are being solicited from every direction. You need sufficient inventory, quality staff, a well-designed website that links to the brand platforms. We’ve also launched our own magazine and we’re trying to personalise relations with our customers. All this while at the same time trying to attract younger customers, for birthdays or exam results, for example. You have to think about tomorrow today! We don’t have the image of an ‘old world’ shop where a customer’s grandfather was a customer already. We try to take advantage of that to forge a really contemporary image for ourselves with our own space and a strong identity.”
Name: Hall of Time
Launch date: 2009
Category: Haut et moyen de gamme
Brands represented: Baume & Mercier, Bell & Ross, Blancpain, Breguet, BRM, Cartier, Chanel, Hermès, Hublot, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Jaquet Droz, Parmigiani, Piaget, QlockTwo, Rolex, Swiss Kubik, Tudor