Professional Jeweler Archive: Know the Angles

July 2004

Image/Store Design


Know the Angles

The angled display cases used throughout the Watch Connection create nooks in which to display timepieces of similar price or style. Paul Dietz of E.F. Hilton says the nooks give customers a sense of discovery as they walk through the store.


When customers enter the Watch Connection in Costa Mesa, CA, they invariably comment on the new look for the 25 year-old business. “They tell us how nice the store looks and remark about how much more room we have now,” says Robert Penner, store principal.

That’s precisely why Penner expanded and why he extols the new design. “We are more interested in having happy customers than in selling the customer a watch that day,” he confesses. “If our customers love it, that’s why we did it.”

Moving & Growing

The store relocated to a former carpet store, doubling its space to 3,200 square feet. The old location was a less-visible spot in the same shopping center. “The business wanted to take advantage of its new street-side location,” says Richard Finkel, president of Bundy Finkel Architects, the Santa Ana Heights, CA, company that led the redesign project.

To increase visibility for the new location, Penner requested a 25-ft.-tall clock tower with three faces, which Finkel built of plaster, wood and Spanish tile. Three exterior display windows were added to the building also.

Open with 30 Brands

Inside, the store has 180 feet of countertops and the showcase space required for 30 watch brands. “Instead of a straight-aisle line-up of displays, we created numerous angles that allow the customer to discover brands as they walk around the store, ” says Paul Dietz, president of E.F. Hilton, Los Angeles, CA, which makes displays for jewelry and watch clients.

“These display-case angles create little nooks where brands of complementary price or style are placed together,” says Dietz. “There’s really no one single line anywhere longer than eight feet.”

Reinforcing the Image

Many of the watch brands are promoted on wall signs and displays, but not at the expense of the Watch Connection brand. “We kept the store’s own image strong with the consistency of stained birch wood, which allows the watches rather than the cases to draw attention,” says Dietz. Inside the cases, the displays echo the case exteriors with numerous angles and, more critically, varying levels. Fiber-optic lighting focuses customers on the timepieces, and overhead recessed lighting is used throughout to keep things bright.

The store is uncluttered because it has dedicated space for everything, including an office, storeroom, restroom, jewelry repair area and vault. The repair area is visible from the sales floor.

The store also features a 6-ft.-diameter floor clock cast in terrazzo. The numbers beam from the ceiling via fiber-optic lights. Customers also feel a sense of openness with the internally illuminated arched ceiling that becomes the centerpiece of the store.

  • Watch Connection, Costa Mesa, CA; (714) 432-8200.
  • Bundy-Finkel Architects, Santa Ana Heights, CA; (714) 850-7575, www.bundyfinkelarchitects.com.
  • E.F. Hilton, City of Commerce, California (323) 278-7760, www.ef hilton.com.

– by Michael Thompson

The angled display cases used throughout the Watch Connection create nooks in which to display timepieces of similar price or style. Paul Dietz of E.F. Hilton says the nooks give customers a sense of discovery as they walk through the store.
The open design of the store is augmented by natural light streaming through the three new windows looking onto the street.
Even with 30 brands represented, the recessed overhead lighting, consistent case styling and illuminated arched ceiling reinforce the image of the Watch Connection.

Copyright © 2004 by Bond Communications