The International Watch Company definitely didn’t pull any punches with the grand opening of their newest flagship boutique in Manhattan last Wednesday, what with the boxing greats, movie stars and supermodels present to help celebrate its long awaited debut, but the real story here lies with the watches, and the novel way that IWC has chosen to present them.

At first blush, one might be forgiven for mistaking this new retail presence on Madison Avenue for a chic Tribeca loft, yet in spite of the imposing scale of the double-height “living room” that greets customers, the space remains improbably intimate and inviting. Are there watches on display? Of course there are, but you’ll have get up from the comfortable leather sofa you just sank into and dig a bit deeper to discover all of them. Indeed, it is for precisely this reason that IWC’s newest boutique shines; rather than simply toss some watches into an elegant display case, IWC has created different zones where one can view the various model lines in their own element. Want to check out the Aquatimers? Take a deep breath and plunge into the ocean blue. Interested in taking to the skies with a piece from their Pilot’s line? The flight locker beckons, and while you’re there, why not strap into their state-of-the-art flight simulator and give your prospective timepiece a proper workout?

Naturally, all of this comes with the level of service and personal attention that one would expect from a luxury brand such as IWC, but by creating a space where customers can explore and take an active role in discovering their ideal timepiece, the notion has been put forth rather convincingly that IWC can be a lifestyle as well as a watch.

If you plan on paying them a visit (highly recommended), our advice would be to make sure you have some time on your hands, because you’re going to want to stay for a while.

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