Luxury watch brand Breguet took the wraps off a remodeled Beverly Hills boutique in high style Thursday night, rolling a swath of blue carpet across Via Rodeo (a nod to the signature color of the timepiece's hour and minute hands), whipping up a signature cocktail, and providing musical entertainment that included a three-story harp.
The Beverly Hills store, which opened in 2006, was the brand's second U.S standalone boutique (behind New York's Madison Avenue), but it was the first to get the lighter, airier remodel that dials back the man-cave vibe and makes the postage-stamp-sized boutique feel a bit more inviting to luxury shoppers of both genders. Interior details like decorative frosted glass with guilloche designs, outsized gear displays and a prominent pair of the blue Breguet watch hands (the signature color, we're told, comings from heating -- not painting -- the metal by hand) evokes the feeling if having somehow stepped inside a pocket watch.
Swatch-owned Breguet, which dates to 1775, likes to point out that founder Abraham-Louis Breguet was awarded a patent in 1801 for inventing the tourbillon (a mechanism designed to counteract the affects of gravity, thereby increasing the accuracy of mechanical watches) and champions the brand's namesake in press materials as "the father of contemporary horology."
So it was wholly appropriate that the evening's signature cocktail was dubbed the tourbillon -- a mixture of Bourbon, ginger beer and just a splash of lime juice. (A couple of those in quick succession, we have to confess, did a bang-up job of counteracting gravity.)
Gravity seemed to be on the losing end elsewhere as well; a musical group called String Theory mesmerized the party guests not just with its sound but also its equipment, including one instrument that consisted of a half-dozen wires tethered to a waist-high pylon in front of the David Orgell store on one end and disappearing into the night sky somewhere over the roof of the Versace boutique on the other. ("It's called a circle harp," a publicist said.)
Along with celebrating the revamped store, the party marked the kick off of a touring U.S. exhibition called "Breguet, the Innovator. Inventor of the Tourbillon" (we told you they like to point that out, right?) that includes a handful of very rare and very old timepieces. Among them: a tourbillon repeater chronometer from 1812, a legendary perpétuelle pocket watch with "à toc" quarter repeater known as the "No. 5," and several antique tourbillon movements.
The tiny touring exhibition, part of a larger one that made stops across Asia and Europe, will be on display to the public at the 208 N. Rodeo Drive boutique through October 19, before heading on to Chicago and New York.