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Westime Interview

Greg Simonian, President of Westime

INTERVIEWS

Eastern Expansion

By Samson Crouhy

Westime

03.10.17

"We strive to offer something to excite every watch enthusiast, as well as newcomers to the world of mechanical watches."

Even as it celebrates an expansion to the East Coast with its opening of a new boutique in Miami, Westime preserves the special touch that separates it from other high-end watch retailers. The family-run business demonstrates a profound understanding that behind the luxury lies an intense passion for horological art, exclusivity and exciting innovations. In that sense, Westime has firmly become a gallery-like institution connecting enthusiasts to the world of haute horology with a spectacular blend of variety, personalized service and unique creations.

What does it mean for Westime to have opened its first boutique outside of California with the launch of Westime Miami?
It definitely marks a new chapter for our family company, and means Westime is bi-coastal! While the opening of our downtown Miami boutique is entry into a new market, serving new customers, I am continually reminded of how many clients we already know in South Florida because they travel the world and have already shopped at Westime in California.

As Westime continues to grow, both in prestige and with new locations, how does the brand maintain the personal, family-owned touch that makes it such a unique retailer?
Growing without losing sight of what made a company great to begin with is a challenge that anyone on an upward trajectory faces, Westime included. My father, John Simonian, and I are very much involved in every aspect of the business and are committed to plenty of cross-country flights to keep our fingers on the pulse of all boutiques, and to spread the gospel. 

Westime interview

A Westime VIP client learning the art of polishing a tourbillon movement from a Girard-Perregaux master watchmaker

Do different Westime locations possess their own individual personalities? Which principles and qualities are universal throughout all the stores?
Most definitely. Our boutiques are designed to complement their specific communities and the preference of customers who shop there. Westime Malibu, for example, is small in terms of square footage but with its high open ceilings, sunshine-filled windows, and constant gentle ocean breezes it feels like a corner of a beach town, which it is. Westime Sunset, in West Hollywood, has a very modern, asymmetrical architecture that complements the iconic Mel’s Diner next door as well as numerous luxury high-rises nearing completion in the trendy neighborhood. And Westime Miami represents a new design concept too. Enter Westime to discover expansive showcases for each of our watch brands, and linger in comfortable chairs in a rotunda in the center of the store. Then, branch off to explore two connecting mono-brand stores that are also owned and operated by Westime: Richard Mille Miami, and Audemars Piguet Miami. Across all locations, Westime presents a unique and surprising selection of watches, attentive service, a low-pressure shopping environment that leans toward a gallery experience, and expert skills of on-site watchmakers.

What part does philanthropy play in Westime’s vision? How does the company leverage its numerous partnerships into a greater charitable impact?
Philanthropy is part of our DNA, and an important part of any business’s relationship with the community it serves. We are eager to support local causes in our communities, from raffles, to gala fundraisers, to fun-runs and event sponsorships. And we are very proud to be entering our fifth year hosting a fundraising gala night at the home of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in support of the national children’s charity he founded: After-School All-Stars.

What type of variety should customers expect when they enter a Westime boutique? How often does Westime add new brands to its locations?
We strive to offer something to excite every watch enthusiast, as well as newcomers to the world of mechanical watches. We love it when people allow themselves to explore and stumble upon a complication, or a brand, or a limited edition they never imagined seeing in person! And we also carry the most popular models. We don’t add new watch collections casually. On the occasions that we do, you can rest assured that we have gotten to know the watchmakers and executives behind the watches very well, ascertained a level of quality, and fell to some degree in love, for lack of a better term, with the watches!

Westime interview

Breitling Jet Team at Westime La Jolla with Greg Simonian, Thierry Prissert and John Simonian

Why is it important for Westime to be such a leader when it comes to exclusive and limited edition timepieces?
Luxury products today are manufactured on a nearly mass level, and distributed in major cities around the world in the exact… same… way. The excitement of shopping while traveling really diminishes if the products available are identical to what you can find at home. We have to offer customers something special, something different, and of course a higher level of service than they find everywhere else.

What steps is Westime taking to match and complement its brick-and-mortar success within the digital/online world?
This year sees the relaunch of Westime.com, making it very easy to browse our inventory, contact a sales representative directly with any questions, and educate oneself about watches. It’s also a fun place to follow Westime’s event news, and browse our catalogs and newsletters. We are also committed to featuring our own original watch photography when it comes to social media sites.

Does Westime have anything special in the works as it prepares to celebrate its 30th anniversary?
To absorb our big growth spurt!