Watches of Switzerland: AutoCAD Helps CallisonRTKL Combine Three Stores Into One

Customer Spotlight

Imagine designing one of the world’s largest luxury watch stores. And, on top of it all, it needs to serve a diverse set of clientele.

CallisonRTKL, a global architecture and design firm with 19 offices, was ready for the challenge with the Watches of Switzerland emporium in London. According to a new article on Inspired by AutoCAD, the firm found creative ways to approach the design with a three-story, 17,000 square-foot location on Regent Street, and, much like a department store, each level became its own experience.


Circular stairway and elevator on the ground floor of Watches of Switzerland store. Courtesy CallisonRTKL.

One Door, Three Stores

“During the project, we called it ‘one door, three stores,’” says Tom Pulk, Senior Associate Vice President at CallisonRTKL in the firm’s New York City office and the lead designer for the Watches of Switzerland project. “The basement floor, also known as the Calibre Room, became the very fast purchasing area for the customers who come in and want to purchase several watches within a short period of time.


Watches of Switzerland’s Calibre Room. Courtesy of CallisonRTKL.

“Then you have the ground floor for the aspirational customer who wants to go into boutiques and look at products,” he continues. “On the top floor, which is much more moody, we designed it to have the longest dwell time. There’s a private elevator to it and a service lounge so customers could sit for a couple of hours.”


Top floor of Watches of Switzerland store. Courtesy CallisonRTKL.

A Circular Elevator

With the concept of “one door, three stores,” CallisonRTKL created an innovative, elegant approach to achieve it.

“We linked all the spaces together with a circular elevator and stairway that was a reference to the movements of timepieces,” Pulk says. “Imagine coming in on the ground floor and you’re going downstairs. There’s a circular stair that rolls around the side and customers are immediately taken down to their floor. Other customers either take the private elevator up or the circular elevator to the top floor. So there’s this dance going on and the counter movements reminded us a lot of a watch.”


Close up of circular stairway and circular elevator at Watches of Switzerland store. Courtesy CallisonRTKL.

Role of AutoCAD

Of course, AutoCAD was vital in helping to achieve the design for the Watches of Switzerland store.

“We do all of our drawings in AutoCAD, and all of our standards are set up in it from detailing through lineweights and page sizes,” Pulk says. “It really is an integral part of our business… we have used AutoCAD to organize all the ways we put together drawings and communicate with other consultants.


Watches of Switzerland’s elevator and stairway in AutoCAD. Courtesy CallisonRTKL.

“For the Watches of Switzerland store, the elevator manufacturer was also on AutoCAD,” he continues. “We had a seamless relationship with them, sending drawings back and forth and establishing a kind of rigor around the way that we shared files.”

The end result of a retail design with AutoCAD is magnificent to say the least. Check out the full article on the design of the Watches of Switzerland store to learn more!

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