Harrods is the world’s best-known luxury department store, famous for being able to procure just about anything under the Sun. Spread over seven floors and divided into 330 departments are 4.5 grandiose acres of retail bliss, making it the largest department store in Europe. From Gertie the baby elephant sold to Ronald Reagan in 1967, to custom-flavoured ice-cream whipped up within 24 hours, Harrods is the stuff of dreams and its retail motto emblazoned on the storefront Omnia, Omnibus, Ubique (All things for All people, Everywhere) lures in 15 million customers a year. It will come as no surprise, then, that the range of Harrods watches is the largest selection congregated under one roof anywhere in Europe.
Located in the Fine Watch Room on the ground floor, more than 40 brands from the world’s top watchmaking firms, ranging from A. Lange & Söhne to Zenith, are represented, offering something for every horological taste.
For women with a penchant for diamond or high jewellery watches, you will find a plethora of Cartier, Chanel, Chaumet, Chopard, Dior, Harry Winston and Piaget over in the neighbouring Fine Jewellery Room, plus a good selection of coloured gemstone models from de GRISOGONO, Fabergé and Van Cleef & Arpels displayed in counters in a central island.
The more mechanically inclined with a reverence for the traditional will love the individual boutiques with the latest range of Jaeger-LeCoultre, Vacheron Constantin, Omega, Panerai and Breguet watches, while devotees of avant-garde timepieces can try on some of the most exclusive Richard Mille watches - a treat usually reserved for sports legends such as Rafa Nadal.
Harrods likes to go that extra mile when it comes to offering customers more than most retailers could only dream of, and many of the watch brands who have set up shop in the Fine Watch Room procure coveted limited-edition and unique watches. Last week I saw a very rare Hublot LaFerrari watch - one of a limited edition of just 50 produced worldwide - plus a super skeletonised Roger Dubuis Spider watch, a Chanel J12 Flying Tourbillon dripping with diamonds, and a one-off Chopard high jewellery sparkler with marquise-cut diamonds. The fun thing is that the limited editions change on a regular basis so you will always be in for a surprise.
Every three months or so, a thematic pop-up boutique will appear in the Fine Watch Room. The end of this month is devoted to Bulgari, accompanied by seven limited-edition watches.
Harrods is synonymous with the ultimate luxury shopping experience and the personnel in the watch boutiques are courteous, professional and well versed in the intricacies of horology. In addition, there is an interesting Harrods Reward Card, which awards points that can then be redeemed in the shop. Needless to say, the more you spend, the more points you earn, so the £238,000 Hublot LaFerrari watch might just make that Christmas stocking.