Cobalt gets timing right in watch deals

COBALT has started working on concession concepts for its dedicated watch store Watch2Watch, following approaches from six major department store chains wanting to include the format in their retail offer.

The consultancy developed Watch2Watch from the ground up, after spotting a gap in the market for a dedicated watch outlet stocking all major brands (DW 29 May). A City consortium funded the venture, with Cobalt as the main shareholder.

Cobalt chairman Ian Woodhouse says while no concession deals have yet been finalised, talks are at an advanced stage.

“We have only just started to work on the concessions and have not yet established if they will vary from one department store to another,” says Woodhouse.

The group is also searching for two new sites in London.

These will retain the existing aesthetic design concept and will be funded by Cobalt and the City consortium. The consultancy will continue to do all the design work.

In the longer term, Woodhouse says he plans to roll the concept out “pretty aggressively”.

“Come next March we will look to open outlets outside London in places such as Brighton, Cambridge, Dublin and Edinburgh. After that we will look to Europe. The scope for expansion is massive,” says Woodhouse.

Meanwhile, Face for Watches, another dedicated watch outlet in Covent Garden, is also planning to open two new sites in London in time for the Christmas market.

“We would not look to launch concession outlets until we have made our brand presence more strongly felt. This could easily be as soon as next year,” says Creative Action Design senior designer Tom Williams.

Creative Action Design worked with client Antony Paine to devise the design and strategy for the concept (DW 5 June).

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