The UK’s first standalone Rolex store outside London opens its doors to the public today.
Jeweller Prestons spent £800,000 renovating the three-storey shop in Leeds to the exacting design standards of the Swiss watchmaker.
The ground floor features lavish displays of luxury timepieces and a floating glass staircase, which leads customers up to an airy champagne bar and library, beneath a mezzanine-level workshop on the third floor.
Anna Leaver, spokeswoman for Rolex at Prestons, told the Yorkshire Post the ambition was to create a showroom that reflects the values of the Rolex brand.
Rolex UK regional manager Jonathan Flower said: “It was a project that Prestons came to us with and it just seemed the time was right.
“It is certainly the right location. Leeds is an affluent, vibrant city that does not seem to have suffered as some have during the recession.
“I don’t think it’s an accident we have ended up in Leeds. It says a lot about the city.”
He added: “We have had a lot of history with Prestons. They are a great supporter of the brand.
Prestons, which was founded in Bolton in 1869, owns and operates the boutique in Leeds and also has a sister store in Wilmslow.
Managing director Karl Massey said demand for Rolex “just gets stronger and stronger”.
“People feel very safe putting their money into a brand like this,” he added. “There are a lot of different brands out there but none of them have the cachet or longevity of this one. It is a brand that most people aspire to.”
Rolex has two standalone stores in London, in Knightsbridge and Bond Street.
The Geneva-based watchmaker is owned by a trust and has a reputation for discretion. Sales are estimated to have amounted to $5.1bn (£3.3bn) in 2010.