William & Son, London: A Destination For The Unique, The Unusual, And The Fantastic
by Simon Cudd
Arguably, one of the most important boutique openings took place in the heart of Mayfair with a launch party on June 24, 2015. William & Son is a retailer with a distinctive Britishness about it, stocking bespoke luxury home wares, glasswares, writing instruments, and timepieces from brands and boutique makers such as Breguet, Breva, De Bethune, Graham, H. Moser & Cie, Laurent Ferrier, F.P. Journe, Ludovic Ballouard, and Romain Gauthier.
The locale founded in 1999 by William Asprey – a seventh-generation Asprey – opened its doors to special guests on this particular day to celebrate its spacious new three-storey boutique.
William & Son has had a presence on Mount Street over the last fifteen years in two separate premises, one for exclusively created gifts, accessories, and watches as well as a store for clothing and handmade shotguns. However, this new giant boutique spread across 8,600 square feet allows the retailer to show off the whole of its collection under one roof.
The store is broken up into different areas allowing clients to flow through it effortlessly while gazing at the treasure on offer. Glassware and silverware are located on the ground floor toward the front left, while timepieces and jewelry are found to the right.
A little further on we encounter leatherwear, with clothing to the left and a bespoke gunroom to the right housing new and refurbished shotguns.
Continuing the tour, up one level to the first floor are writing instruments, accessories, home wares, luxury leather games, and Just William, William & Son’s own men’s clothing accessories range consisting of ties, scarves, and bags.
Suiting those who still find a use for fountain pens in daily life, William & Son offers Swiss-made Caran d’Ache, one of the most luxurious pen brands on the planet. Even if I am firmly fixed in the digital age, I still use pens on a daily basis, so I fully understand the need to own a writing instrument and the want to own something that either reflects one’s personality or makes a bold statement as much as a timepiece does.
Exquisite timepieces from some of the finest independent watch manufacturers are displayed in William & Son’s windows and display cabinets. Some of these are unique to the retailer.
Laurent Ferrier, for example, made a special limited edition of the Galet Square to celebrate its relationship with William & Son. Five pieces each of the Galet Square are available in a choice of white or pink gold case with a brushed blue dial and subtly displaying the William & Son logo tastefully above the silver-colored subdial for small seconds. Laurent Ferrier and William Asprey share an affinity as Ferrier worked at Patek Philippe for 37 years and William Asprey collects Patek Philippe watches.
William & Son has some of my new favorite timepieces on offer, one of which is Romain Gauthier’s Logical One with its astonishing quadruple-patent chain-and-fusee constant force system featuring ruby chain links, an ergonomic push button winding system, dial-side visible balance, mainspring barrel with sapphire crystal inserts, and a 46-hour power reserve indicator. It is available in either a platinum or pink gold 43 mm case. I have to say it is mesmerizing to view in the metal. For more on this timepiece, please read Heartbeat: Logical One By Romain Gauthier.
Bespoke leather goods
Well known for its enchanting bespoke leather board games and accessories, William & Son offers something a little different to the boxed varieties of board games that one finds in conventional shops. Beautifully crafted examples of Monopoly, backgammon, bridge, and even Snakes & Ladders are available for that especially well thought-out gift for the player with taste and, indeed, style. All of these are made by master craftspeople in William & Son’s leather works, which are located in London.
The new Bruton Street boutique is bound to make for a totally different shopping experience for the London tourist as it is around the corner from more familiar and mainstream brands like Hermès and Louis Vuitton. It is more accessible to New Bond Street and what it has to offer by way of boutiques and restaurants; William & Son’s regulars will not have too much further to walk than the previous Mount Street address.
For more information, please visit William & Son, 34-36 Bruton Street, London, W1J 6QX and/or www.williamandson.com.