Anyone who has spent time shopping for a watch at retailers, boutiques or department stores, knows the environment can be cold and brisk, pressure-laden and impersonal. Committing to a watch, whether for yourself or as a gift, should be a relaxed and thoughtful experience—watch purchases themselves should be based on emotional resonance as much as functionality. And that’s exactly what SoHo’s new concept shop Material Good is predicated upon. The magnificent second-floor store embraces visitors, offers an array of lush seating options (also for sale) and incorporates all watch and jewelry product seamlessly. Spin Design and Meg Sharpe Interiors designed the space and the result is a chic destination you might just want to hang out in.
Co-founder Rob Ronen tells CH, “The initial drive to create this space came from the fact that I worked for Audemars Piguet for a really long time and oversaw all sales for North America. I got a chance to see first-hand what our existing network of retailers were doing right and doing wrong. I noticed over and over again that the shopping experience wasn’t as elegant or luxurious as the products. With this store, we wanted to make luxury unforced and bring the experience back to the client. It’s not just about product and price.” From the Basquiat and Warhol pieces on the walls to the Douglas Little light fixture, the execution of this desire is evident at the moment of entry.
Material Good stocks Audemars Piguet, Richard Mille, Cool Hunting favorite Bamford Watch Department, and an array of vintage watches as well as fine jewelry, diamonds and more. Ronen continues, “I always like to say, on the watch side, we really only want to carry the things that not only do we appreciate but also that we would wear ourselves. Bamford is so unique that it brings Rolex buyers back to Rolex. And, on any given day I will be wearing AP or RM. These are brands based on style, craftsmanship and passion.” Rather than stock an “entry-level” brand, Ronen offers the vintage pieces. “I never wanted to carry an entry-level brand,” he says. “If we do want to sell to someone at a lower price point, I would rather sell them a vintage piece of history.”
Everything about the store has been considered. It’s upstairs to allow for the notion of open privacy; it’s downtown because the energy of SoHo is different from Fifth or Madison Avenue. From the lighting arrangements to the security systems, everything is cutting-edge. As for the furniture, “Everything is a true iconic piece of vintage design or it was custom made for our specifications in the store,” Ronen notes. The impact of such is felt. And with coffee and champagne also stocked, it’s hard to leave.
Material Good is located at 120 Wooster Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY.
Images by Eric Piesecki