Citizen’s First Multi-Brand Store in North America Is Now Open

WatchesDec 12, 2023

Citizen’s First Multi-Brand Store in North America Is Now Open

It comes at a seemingly perfect time for the company, as watches are “hot” right now, says Citizen Watch America President Jeffrey Cohen.

Citizen’s new flagship store in North America
On Dec. 6, Citizen celebrated the opening of its new flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York. It is the company’s first multi-brand store in the North America, carrying Citizen on the first floor (seen here), as well as watches from Accutron, Alpina, Bulova, and Frederique Constant on the second floor.
New York—Citizen opened its new flagship store in New York City last week, right on time for the holiday season.  

Officially opened Dec. 6, it is Citizen’s first multi-brand store in North America. It carries watches from all five brands the company sells in the region: Citizen, Accutron, Alpina, Bulova, and Frederique Constant.  

The store is on Fifth Avenue between 48th and 49th streets, one of the most heavily trafficked areas of New York, particularly during this time of year. The tree at Rockefeller Center, arguably the city’s biggest holiday-time draw, is a two-minute walk away, while Saks Fifth Avenue and its famed holiday light display are on the next block.    

In an interview with National Jeweler just prior to the store’s grand opening celebration, Citizen Watch America President Jeffrey Cohen said they view the store as a way to educate people and give them an experience with Citizen’s brands they will not have anywhere else, at least in North America.  

“I felt it was something that was missing [in this market],” he said. “We’re very excited about this store. This will be the greatest opportunity for us [to share] our history, and to present products as we want to present them.”  

 Related stories will be right here … 
Spread out over more than 7,000 square feet, Citizen’s North American flagship occupies three floors of a townhouse situated along a stretch of some of the most recognizable names in retail, including H&M, Lululemon, and Sephora.  

The first floor is all Citizen watches, while the second floor houses Accutron, Bulova, Alpina, and Frederique Constant. 

The store’s mezzanine level will look familiar to anyone who visited Citizen’s booth during the last couple years of the now-defunct Baselworld show.  

It is the new home for Paris-based Japanese architect Tsuyoshi Tane’s “Light Is Time” installation featuring thousands of golden, glittering, Citizen-manufactured watch base plates suspended from invisible strings.  

Citizen will use the mezzanine level to tell different stories, rotating out the displays on regular basis. From now through Jan. 1, it’s an exhibition on the career of Grammy-winning musician and Bulova ambassador Marc Anthony, who attended the grand opening.  

While opening a big brick-and-mortar store that sells watches in an age of online competition and other technology may seem like a questionable move, it’s not, according to Cohen.  

Watches are having a moment, fueled by myriad factors—the growth in watch-collecting communities, men’s heightened interest in accessories, Gen Z’s interest in brands with a history and heritage, and smartwatches.  

Initially viewed as competition, particularly for the more affordably priced watch brands, Cohen said smartwatches actually have aided the traditional watch industry because “they’ve brought more attention to the wrist.”   

Cohen said Citizen uses data to make decisions on watch styles, prices, and materials.   

What the data shows is that consumers today want watches that are more exclusive, much in the same way they want customized or personalized jewelry. 

They are in search of something that expresses some aspect of their personality, experiences and/or preferences or, as Cohen put it, a “point of differentiation.” 

Consumers also want watches that are more complicated and more high-end. 

There are collectors of the brand’s more complicated watches, as well as collecting communities for its Disney watches and the timepieces created for the “Marvel” and “Star Wars” franchises. (Citizen signed a partnership with Disney in 2018, the year the watch company turned 100.) 

To that end, Citizen has reserved the top floor of its three-floor townhouse as a museum for its brands, as well as an event space for educational events or gatherings for collectors.  

“Watches are hot right now,” Cohen said. “We’re seeing a lot of collectors, a lot of watch communities.”  

Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.

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