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HOT 100 RETAIL TITANS: Damian & Francois, Aurum


The last 12 months are sure to mark a milestone in the history of Aurum’s Watches of Switzerland business with the opening of 155 Regent Street, a vast, three-storey luxury store carrying a Who’s Who of luxury watch brands, not to mention a portfolio of in-store monobrand boutiques.

Few people have been as central to the establishment of this epic project as Watches of Switzerland’s Damian Otwinowski and Aurum’s Francois Le Troquer.

Damian simply refers to it as “the best watch store in the world” while Francois believes it has been responsible for turning Watches of Switzerland into a luxury brand in its own right.


“The aim was not to create an experience to remember but one to never forget,” states Damian. “Personalised experience and building relationships is all we do and we love sharing, from celebrating birthdays and anniversaries to creating memories that surely will last a lifetime.”

155 Regent Street is definitely a statement of intent and the store’s design language has been carried forward into recent openings at Canary Wharf and Heathrow T5. Francois believes this bold move will aid the business “not only with clients but with brand partners too”, sure to be helpful with Watches of Switzerland set to open new flagship stores on London’s Oxford Street in September and Knightsbridge in May next year.

Francois makes sure to round-off each weekend with a regular yoga evening with his wife, while Damian looks forward to switching off with food and a glass of fine wine in a suitably stunning locale.

This dynamic partnership have demonstrated little in the way of failure this year and Damian’s mantra might explain why. “You only fail if you give up, so to some extent the fact that I am a little stubborn means I enjoy winning.” A powerful argument for digging your heels in when the situation calls for it.

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