The Jewelry District

The Jewelry District

Episode 94: Tiffany’s Reopening, Watches and Wonders, Signet’s Investor Day

April 25, 2023

JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky and news director Rob Bates discuss the much-anticipated reopening of Tiffany & Co.’s iconic Fifth Avenue store, now called The Landmark. Victoria also reports on her recent trip to Geneva for Watches and Wonders, where traffic was brisk, the mood was upbeat, and Rolex wowed the crowds with unexpected splashes of color and whimsy. Rob updates listeners on what’s new at Signet Jewelers after attending a recent Investors’ Day at the New York Stock Exchange.

Sponsored by De Beers:

Show Notes

00:49: Tiffany & Co. Reimagines its Famous Flagship

05:30: Rob Heads to AGS Conclave to Gauge the State of the Industry

07:10: Rolex Brightens a Busy Watches and Wonders Exhibition

15:18: What’s New at Signet Jewelers


Episode Credits

Hosts: Rob Bates and Victoria Gomelsky

Producer and engineer: Natalie Chomet



Show Recap


Tiffany Offers a Sneak Peek at its Reimagined Flagship

Victoria seldom flies across the country to attend a party, but she’s making an exception for the much-anticipated reopening of Tiffany & Co.’s Fifth Avenue flagship store on May 27th. After a three-year closure and a complete makeover, what will The Landmark—as it’s now called—look like? Rob remembers visiting the iconic store as a JCK mystery and being surprised to find it warmly welcoming. It was almost homey in those days, he says. Victoria predicts the new iteration will be decidedly sleeker and more luxe since the brand’s target demographic is now considerably more affluent.


“There’s a parallel story about the importance of brick-and-mortar,” Victoria observes. When she interviewed Tiffany CEO Anthony Ledru recently, he called The Landmark “the heart and soul of Tiffany.” The company is putting a major focus on its physical stores, expanding and renovating flagships in Seoul, Sao Paolo, and other parts of the world, she adds. When the pandemic reached its zenith, it looked like the future might be entirely virtual and digital, but “that’s not the case at all,” Victoria says. “The importance of brick and mortar is more apparent than ever.”


Rob to Moderate Conclave Panel

Victoria’s not the only one with travel plans. In early May Rob will head to Louisville, Kentucky, for the American Gem Society’s Conclave event, where he’ll moderate an expert panel on how the industry is faring in 2023 and gauge the outlook for the future. Victoria is eager to hear his takeaways. She predicts JCK’s audience will be too. “It’s been a confusing year, with the lingering specter of recession,” she points out. “People are waiting for some guidance.”


Rolex Brightens a Busy Watches and Wonders

The conversation shifts to Victoria’s recent trip to Switzerland for Watches and Wonders in Geneva. This year’s bustling conference was a far cry from the quiet show of 2022, when quarantine kept Chinese buyers, retailers, and press away. “It felt upbeat and buzzy” in spite of the logistical frustrations inevitable in a crowded convention center, she says.


The optimism surprised Victoria, who expected the drop in secondary watch prices after last spring’s crypto collapse to put a damper on people’s moods. Instead she found an enthusiastic crowd and a robust array of new offerings. The most talked-about were whimsical, colorful watches from Rolex, a new direction for the brand. One featured a Celebration Dial with balloons in a rainbow of colors. Another was an off-catalogue model with 31 emojis and seven inspirational words like “love” and “faith” instead of dates and days of the week. Victoria says this is the first time she has seem Rolex introduce a concept piece and, despite some hate from internet trolls, show attendees loved the fresh, vivid newcomers. She gives the company kudos for introducing innovative offerings that break through some sameness in the category.


Rob asks about Rolex’s recently introduced Certified Pre-Owned Programme. Victoria says people still aren’t sure how it will work, but she thinks secondhand dealers are likely diversifying and refocusing on other brands because they may not be able to compete with Rolex’s proprietary program.


Signet Focuses on Affordable Luxury

Turning their attention back to the U.S., Rob reports on the Signet Jewelers’ Investor Day he recently attended at the New York Stock Exchange. He was impressed by the executive team—and the fact that the majority of its members are female. “Five years ago it would have been all men and one woman,” he notes. “It’s a very different company than before Gina Drosos took the helm” and one he believes is in very capable hands.


Signet is focusing on expanding its accessible luxury offerings, though Victoria notes that the term is highly subjective. We all define “affordable” differently. In Signet’s case, Rob expects it will mean higher price points. The company also plans to expand its bridal offerings and to attract female shoppers, a goal that may pose challenges for traditionally male-focused names like Jared, James Allen, Blue Nile, and Diamonds Direct, Rob says. These four companies were once competitors, so finding their place in the Signet family of brands may take some time, Rob predicts.


Signet also reported that engagements are expected to return to normal levels now that the boom is subsiding. Rob points out that Signet has become the go-to source for market statistics, data that he and Victoria agree is extremely valuable for the industry.