Visit to a Vacheron Constantin boutique in Istanbul

Hello fellow Loungers!

I would like to share my impressions of a short visit I paid to a Vacheron Constantin boutique in Istanbul over the weekend.

I was very excited to be able to come to Istanbul for a weekend of sight-seeing with my wife and friends. It is one of the most beautiful cities in the world I have seen. With its seven hills, its location and structure took pattern from Rome in Italy. There is an amazing strait of Bosphorus which divides the city into three districts: old city and new city (European side) and residential area (Asian part). They are all connected by two bridges (each totals over 1km in length and over 70m in height). It is a very beautiful and picturesque metropoly with over 12 million inhabitants and centuries of history and heritage. Many cultures, religions and rulers of Istanbul/Constantinopol have added up to a mosaic and blend of a kind I have never encountered anywhere else. Just amazing…

Back on the VC track… First of all, I have to say the premises of the VC boutique is located in the most posh section of the city where all designers as well as high-end watch manufacturers have their retail shops. Right next door there are IWC Schaffhausen and Jaeger LeCoultre… (more about that later). 

Visit to a Vacheron Constantin boutique in Istanbul

When I first took a quick look at window displays outside I noticed a standard VC one watch per display box strategy: clean and elegant (I remembered Geneva boutique window displays looked exactly the same). I was hoping to get to see more variety and novelties inside the shop… 

Visit to a Vacheron Constantin boutique in Istanbul

Visit to a Vacheron Constantin boutique in Istanbul

There goes a big disappointment: the VC flagship watch shop was completely merchandise deserted. There were empty display boxes all around the shop...
Visit to a Vacheron Constantin boutique in Istanbul

and the only interesting pieces I got to see in there were

Malte Tourbillon 
Visit to a Vacheron Constantin boutique in Istanbul

Cloisonne Dial LE 
Visit to a Vacheron Constantin boutique in Istanbul

Malte Power Reserve boutique edition (sorry the picture is over 3MB and won't be allowed by the serverVisit to a Vacheron Constantin boutique in Istanbul)...

Other than that there was nothing actually worth checking out… I guess having visited the Maison in Geneva in February my expectations were just too high for this place. I just hope the reason I found this poor selection of my beloved brand in a flagship store was that their business was very good and new arrivals were expected any time soon. To be absolutely honest, my feeling is it was not the case… There was simply a lot of vacant spots to be filled with amazing VC pieces on the display watch cases…

To top it all off, the neighboring shops of IWC and JLC were stuffed with the latest models of their watches and qualified staff to serve you. Such a dramatic difference between my favorite VC and competitiors’ boutiques was very painful and literally humiliating to me. 
Visit to a Vacheron Constantin boutique in Istanbul

To cut the story short, I believe the standard of the VC boutique in Istanbul doesn’t correspond to the brand’s image and values. Something needs to be done about it in a very short time. Today it is a disgrace to Vacheron Constantin… and such harsh comments coming from one of VC’s most faithful supporters and admirers, can you imagine?

Thanks Janek for your help with the pictures during our visit at the boutiqueVisit to a Vacheron Constantin boutique in Istanbul.

Cheers to all! 

that's weird, did you ask what was going on? Maybe a rich
09/09/2008 - 12:29
Istanbulite had raided the store the day before to offer watches to the guests of his daughter's wedding? The two watches on display were made specially for the Turkisk markets The Malte Tourbillon has a spacial engraving on the back inspired from the arabesques in Saint Sophie's Basilica The enamel dialed ref  30602 made in 10 pieces (case is same as the Audubon series)
Thanks for the report Radek, did you have the chance to compare with
09/09/2008 - 13:01
the PP Boutique (if any)?
I don't think they have one in Istanbul. Compared to the PP boutique..
09/09/2008 - 15:53
in Geneva we are talking two different worlds...
The engraving on the back of the tourbillon is beautiful.
09/09/2008 - 13:02
Thanks for sharing these images with us Alex. One question, is the boutique brand owned and managed or is it being done in partnership with a local retailer? Cheers, Duncan
Its a partnership with a local retailer. I believe that the only owned
09/09/2008 - 14:29
and managed boutiques are in Geneva and Shanghai.
Thanks for the clarification and info Alex. (nt)
09/09/2008 - 15:05
this would somehow explain the inventory situation... nt
09/09/2008 - 15:52
Dear Alex, is it worth this type of parternship? (nt)
09/09/2008 - 16:21
I am not replying for Alex, but thought I would add my 2 cents worth..
09/09/2008 - 22:32
There are pros and cons on both sides of the argument as to whether a brand should open a boutique on their own or do it as a partnership with a local retailer. If brand owned and managed, then control is absolute.  There are stricter price controls and comprehensive management of the inventory, along with how the boutique is managed and operated.  Typically, though, the sales numbers are not necessarily as strong in part due to the preceeding.  In many respects, the boutique becomes part retail outlet and perhaps even more of a marketing endeavor for the brand. On the other hand, a partnership will probably bring better sales numbers but presents a loss of control for the brand.  There are other factors as well and these are major generalizations as each situation has its own unique set of circumstances.  Personally, I have seen both options prove to be successful as long as expectations are managed and agreed upon at the outset.  Here in Singapore, both approaches are being used and there are also a number of new mono-0brand boutiques opening in the not too distant future.  Ultimately, it comes down to the brand determining its priorities and objectives and then finding an appropriate retail partner if necessary. As said, just my 2 cents worth... Cheers, Duncan
great response...
09/10/2008 - 12:48

I prefer (like many, judging by the level of sales) the partnership approach - this way there is an increased chance of the store having some good stock and being able to offer some of the rare LEs to their customers, but they are also a lot more flexible on pricing, which means that the chances of customers actually buying from them is a lot higher...

Thanks Francois...
09/10/2008 - 13:08
Pricing is one of the reasons that some folks prefer the partnership approach but these collaborations do not guarantee any increased likelihood that they will have a greater variety of pieces.  If anything, anecdotal evidence would probably suggest the opposite. You have also mentioned perhaps one of the greatest benefits to collectors and that is the availability of so-called "boutique only" limited editions.  These often prove to be some of the nicest and most highly coveted timepieces produced by the brand.  The boutiques also have the option of establishing a certain color/metal combination and make it easily identified as a "boutique" piece.  I believe that VC has done this with rose gold/black dial pieces... Bottom line, brand boutiques, no matter how they are formed, are wonderful showcases for brands and provide fans and collectors of particular brands an oportunity to see and acquire some exceptional timepieces. Cheers, Duncan
I'm 100% with you (nt).
09/12/2008 - 14:54
chances are that the stock was taken to the retailer's boutique on the
09/09/2008 - 18:37

beach resort in Antalyia since that's where all the rich guys hang out during the summer. But if that is the case he should have closed the boutique.

might be the case, Alex -I saw a couple of VC retailers in Antalya nt
09/09/2008 - 23:26
Agree on this one: the back engraving of the tourbillon is exceptional
09/09/2008 - 15:57
The other watch with enamel dial is not the one I saw there...
09/09/2008 - 15:49
the dial was dotted not "flowered" and  was told it was a cloisonne type of dial!?
yummy pic - for the Malte, that is (nt)
09/09/2008 - 18:52
Thanks for sharing your trip report with us Radek.
09/09/2008 - 13:00
I would also share your disappointment with the inventory situation if I had made a visit to a brand boutique.  And i thought that it was hard to get pieces in Singapore. Hopefully, there is some good explanation for this situation. Cheers, Duncan
The Istanbul Shop was pretty empty!
09/09/2008 - 18:10
The whole boutique had 2 floors which where not used at all!!! The ground floor was only in use only, even when their was like 5m2 of the space used for the watches! Like Radek i was very disapointed as this was my first vc boutique i have ever visited! Janek
as they say you never get a second chance in making a
09/09/2008 - 18:35
first impression! This really sucks especially since that was your first encounter with a VC shop. I don't know about the others but the Geneva Maison is definately worth the visit especially since there is always a thematic historical exhibition of their museum pieces.
I hope i'll be able to visit the vc boutique in Geneva!!! nt
09/09/2008 - 18:58
La Maison in Geneva is most definitely worth a visit...
09/09/2008 - 22:21
As much as it is a so-called retail outlet, it is really more of a showcase for the brand.  It is part museum and exhibition space as well as being an archive for VC.  When I was there last year, they were having a wonderful exhibit of the Chronometre Royal.  It was a real treat to see the evolution of the timepiece, culminating in the release last year of the new model. A visit to the manufacture should also include a stop at the boutique.  A must see in my opinion. Cheers, Duncan
Re: Visit to a Vacheron Constantin boutique in Istanbul
09/10/2008 - 02:37
Radek, thanks for your very candid report and photos. I fully understand your disappointment. Appreciate the photos as well. Regards, Matt
Same here in Manila. Only 3 models available on display!
09/10/2008 - 07:03
Hi Gilbert, I think the situation and circumstances are...
09/10/2008 - 08:22
a bit different in Manila as opposed to the other cities being dicussed in this thread. It has been a few years since I was last in Manila but I believe that there is no VC boutique in the city.  The point of sale is actually in a department store (Rustans?), which is a very different environment from a mono-brand boutique.  I would theorize that there are probably a number of reasons for the inventory and display situation in Manila.  However, I feel confident in saying that the brand will monitor the situation and work towards having the best possible presentation of itself and its products. A final point worth noting is that I believe global demand for VC products far exceeds supply and that will cause some challenges across all markets.  By the way, I know some Filipino collectors who regularly shop for their watches in Singapore. Cheers, Duncan