The Time+Tide Watch Discovery Studio is finally hereLuke Benedictus
Editor’s note: We’re beyond excited to share with you the news of the Time+Tide Watch Discovery Studio finally being open. In a sneak peek of one of the features in our latest magazine, our own Luke Benedictus brings you the story of the Studio from a visit a few weeks ahead of its opening, and brings you up to speed on what this new development is all about. From Baltic, Boldr, and Fears to Norqain, Studio Underd0g, and Zodiac – we can’t wait to show you what we’ve got in store.
Scott Jungwirth, Time+Tide’s General Manager, pauses for a second as he considers his precise choice of words. We’re in Melbourne, on the first floor of 178 Collins Street, in a space that is soon to become the high-tech home of the new Time+Tide Watch Discovery Studio. During our visit in late June, it’s still a frenzied hub of construction with scaffolding, tool kits, and paintbrushes scattered about the room.
This half-finished appearance doesn’t make it any easier to visualise what this bold new proposition will look like when it finally opens in August. Hence Scott’s careful deliberation when I ask him to break down the underlying concept behind the dramatic renovation. “Essentially”, he says, “this is going to be the physical representation of the Time+Tide brand.”
It’s a good answer to a tricky question, because the Time+Tide Studio definitely resists easy categorisation. Instead, it’s set up to become a dynamic, shape-shifting beast that’s purpose-built to deliver on multiple fronts. It’ll include a retail space that will serve as the official dealer for a tightly curated range of watch brands. It’ll offer a welcoming lounge space with a well-stocked bar and a gigantic TV. It’ll provide an event space capable of holding brand launches, talks, and seminars. Plus, it’ll also remain the working office for the Time+Tide editorial team and include a dedicated studio for podcasts and video production. If that sounds like a lot to squeeze under one roof, that’s because, well, it absolutely is, but that diversity reflects the changing nature of the watch world. In 2023, watch culture no longer plays out on our wrists alone – it exists on a variety of platforms and through an ever-growing multiplicity of forms.
Time+Tide’s founder, Andrew McUtchen, has played an active role in this omnichannel evolution that’s taken place over the past decade. The Watch Discovery Studio is his attempt to create an interactive space to cater to this brave new world. “Watch culture ain’t what it was when Time+Tide started 10 years ago”, Andrew readily admits. “Back then, being really into watches was a niche thing. Forums. Clandestine small groups. Swap meets. It’s crossed over, and it now deserves a similar home – where you can actually hold that microbrand you’ve never handled in the metal. Where you can meet touring watchmakers and brand ambassadors. Where limited editions and rare releases will live. The mantra for this space is ‘Rare. Limited. Exclusive.’, and that’s what you’ll find at the global flagship T+T Watch Discovery Studio.”
While retail may be a key part of this new package, it’s one that Time+Tide will be approaching in a novel way to other watch retailers. Truth be told, walking into many luxury watch boutiques can prove a distinctly chilly experience. The vibe is often stuffy and uptight, as you’re openly scrutinised by shop employees trying to gauge the size of your wallet and whether or not you qualify as a serious customer. Just as Time+Tide has always endeavoured to make their editorial content fresh, accessible, and fun, they also want their retail space to have a similarly customer-friendly vibe. “We really want this to be a place for people to explore and just chill”, says Scott, who was previously the Australian Brand Manager for Tissot. “There’s going to be bars and comfortable seating. We hope to create a space with an inviting, community-based feel.”