THERE’S A TUG we feel when we see something we want in a store. Through Lucerne’s new franchise concept store, WSI (Watch Style Insider), expect to feel dozens and dozens of tugs when you encounter watches from Fossil, Michael Kors, Emporio Armani, Diesel, DKNY, Skagen, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Armani Exchange, and Karl Lagerfeld, all under one roof.
The store has been open for about four months, but it was officially launched on Oct. 21, in its home in the Upper Ground Floor of Mega A, SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City.
The store comes from a concept that originated with the Fossil Group in the US, selling watches under the Fossil group along with watches with licensing agreements from certain designers. The original concept -- then called Watch Station International -- spread out to the world, but was especially “resonant” in Asia, as WSI Brand Director for APEC Emily Towe put it. It was then reformatted and rebranded in Asia as Watch Style Insider. “If it works well, we’ll rebrand the other stores around the world,” said Ms. Towe. She added: “There’s nothing wrong with Watch Station International. We just improved it for a particular audience.” The first rebranded store opened in Singapore in 2013. As of today, the rebranded stores have a presence in 13 countries: Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, India, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, and the Philippines, with a special flagship store in Macau.
Although the designer brands such as Marc by Marc Jacobs have a special clout all their own in the fashion industry, the Fossil Group’s licensing agreements with these designers places the watchmaking arms of these brands in good hands. “Watchmaking is a very complicated process. It is an art; it is a craft. The brands that you see here, they got their start in fashion. They have an aesthetic… but when it comes to the actual watchmaking, it’s best to leave it to the experts,” she said.
Vohne C. Yao, managing director of WSI in the Philippines, brought here under the Lucerne Group, said that many of the brands in the store are already in the country, also sold by the group. However, he said: “This is a separate home for Fossil… we kept exclusive pieces that we wouldn’t have otherwise gotten had we not brought in WSI.” One of these brands is named for and designed by Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel’s creative director.
Aside from the Megamall store, WSI is also present in Ayala Center Cebu, and will open a store in TriNoma.