GENEVA, Switzerland — IWC Schaffhausen has become one of the first Swiss watchmakers to have its own bar.
Next door to a new IWC boutique in Geneva selling five-figure timepieces, watch aficionados can plunk down 26 francs ($26) for a cocktail melange of lavender syrup, Perrier-Jouet Champagne and Aviation American gin at Les Aviateurs, which is reminiscent of a gentleman’s club.
The bar, which opened Saturday, is run through an alliance with Globus, one of Switzerland’s highest-end department stores, whose entrance is smack-dab between the IWC shop and the bar. The bar’s decor features metal-riveted leather sofas, old-fashioned light bulbs, lots of brass and an oversize IWC clock in the corner. The 149-year-old brand, owned by Richemont, has been making pilot’s watches since the mid-1930s, and its lineup now includes the Spitfire and Top Gun.
Swiss watchmakers are experimenting with new ways of attracting clients amid a glut of timepieces, and one way they do it is to try to sell experiences rather than just products.
A friendly tip from behind the bar: before asking for a free drink with your watch purchase, talk to the salespeople next door.
By Mara Bernath; editors: Lukas Strobl, Eric Pfanner, Thomas Mulier and John J. Edwards III.