Not long after opening day at the new IWC Schaffhausen boutique on Vancouver’s prestige Alberni Street, store manager Alan Lio noticed a couple standing outside, looking in. They spent a few minutes surveying the window display and discussing before Lio decided to poke his head outside and invite them inside.
It turns out, the husband was curious about something he had just seen on Facebook, something very specific: the limited-edition Portugieser Chronograph Rattrapante Edition “Boutique Canada.” Created by IWC to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary of confederation, the double chronograph compilation timepiece—of which only 150 exist, with a commemorative maple leaf etched on the backside—caught this man’s eye. Lio was proud to answer in the affirmative: the rare watch was here.
After spending nearly an hour together, discussing not only the rich legacy of IWC but also the couple’s lifestyle, likes, and dislikes, the husband decided to purchase the watch—his first IWC piece. They took photos to mark the exciting day.
This is the kind of experience that makes Lio the proudest. No stranger to the luxury segment, having managed Vancouver’s Gucci boutique for many years, he walks through the new IWC store—only the second in Canada, following Toronto—with a distinguished pride and professionalism.
The modestly-sized space is flanked by shiny dark wood and sleek glass, with accents of natural stone. Displays highlight the Swiss brand’s six product families, from Aquatimer and Portofino to Portugieser and Da Vinci. The whole space is tied together nicely with books and artifacts that line the shelves and walls, nodding to each collection. In the chic lounge at the back of the store, a framed pilot’s jacket and other aviation-inspired artworks highlight the importance of the ever-popular Pilot’s Watches.
IWC’s deep history dates back to 1868. What the new Vancouver boutique hopes to do is educate the local consumer, and draw them in not just to the beautiful timepieces, but to the care and attention behind them.
As for the man who purchased the Portugieser Chronograph Rattrapante Edition “Boutique Canada,” it may have been his first IWC watch, but it is unlikely to be his last.
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