There’s always plenty of talk in the watch community regarding famed watch stores such as Tourneau located in the USA, as well as Watches of Switzerland located in the UK. Both of these well known shops have multiple store locations, with Tourneau boasting an impressive 33 store locations and Watches of Switzlerland providing 16 store locations throughout all of the United Kingdom. The majority of high-end offline retail watch sales are made through these two stores in their perspective countries, this is including Rolex since they are both registered Authorized Dealers. With Rolex making up 25% of the entire watch industries sales, the sales numbers coming from these two stores are equally as impressive since Rolex is only available for retail purchase through designated Authorized Dealers.
As a fellow Canadian who’s had the luxury of travelling quite a bit pre-COVID, I’ve been able to experience the atmosphere and state of affairs that these two massive watch retailers bring to the market – and the only store that comes close to mimicking the greatness of these giants in Canada is Royal De Versailles. Ranked as Toronto’s most favoured Rolex AD and located in downtown Toronto, Canada’s largest city by population and geographically our most southern city and closest in proximity to New York City.
There’s a few key elements that Royal de Versailles is matching when comparing to our friends in the South, namely the vast selection of luxury and haute horology watch brands available, high sales rate allowing for larger quantities of watches during re-stocking or pre-ordering of certain watch brands, as well as amicable customer service even though they maintain a large store “corporate vibe”. This cannot be said for any other high-end watch store in Canada, most of whom I’ve visited personally. This is not to say that the other stores in Canada are not meeting standards, but they do usually fall short in one of the three mentioned categories. It’s possible for an alternative watch store to have an excellent brand selection but they usually won’t have many watches in stock due to smaller volume turnover, most stores are lacking in brand selection to begin with making it very rare to find the “holly trinity” of watch brands in the same location.
The odd thing is the other alternative Canadian watch stores do not lack in one or more of these categories out of willingness, but it comes down to sheer economics and watch sales demand in Canada that is no match when comparing to the USA and UK. Somehow Royal De Versailes has been able to flout this with a combination of excellent store location and understanding of the watch enthusiast market beyond any of its Canadian competitors, as well as perhaps a little bit of sheer luck. It’s also difficult to not notice the similarities of their business model when comparing to the big and successful watch stores in the USA and UK, perhaps some influence has been cleverly implemented by this. The one thing we’re yet to see is multiple store locations, which may or may not be the way forward for Royal De Versailles – only time will tell.