Man of the Hour: One on One with Westime President Greg Simonian

At Westime, it’s hard to lose track of time, but you will want to anyway. With 50 brands of women’s and men’s classic and modern timepieces, like Urwerk, Longines, and Audemars Piguet, the luxury watch boutique is where even the most punctual has no concept of time. The store boasts watch names of all price points, such as Richard Mille, which had one of its first introductions into the U.S. market by Westime, and brands you wouldn’t find in many other places, such as California-based Nixon. With the company’s intuitive strongholds at the forefront of luxury watch retail, there are always new dials, movements, and complications to be encountered.

Not to mention the Westime stores serve as a hangout for many of its customers. President Greg Simonian welcomes the come-in-and-hang-out-with-no-pressure-to-buy vibe and ensures his clients are always comfortable and relaxed enough to want to prop their feet up while sitting across from him at his desk.

“I didn’t want to make the store this crazy luxury experience with VIP treatment,” Simonian says. “They get all that, but they get it in a very casual manner.” Where suits and ties are optional for the salespeople, Westime truly caters to the gentlemen and gentlewomen of leisure. “I don’t think our customers want to walk into a stuffy atmosphere,” Simonian says. “But we really will go the extra mile, like deliver watches to clients in Dubai, Italy, Russia, and Japan, because that’s what they want.”

This non-stiff customer service approach—call it California style—is just one of Simonian’s executive decisions as a recently appointed president of the company. The 25-year-old has taken over the entire retail operation of Westime from his father, CEO and founder John Simonian, a leader in the watch business who’s developed Westime into the most influential, powerful watch retail concept in the world. John’s son, however, isn’t shirking from the huge responsibilities of this title, which includes managing the two current locations on Pico Boulevard and Rodeo Drive as well as the forthcoming store on Sunset Boulevard. Simonian, who’s bringing in new energy and strategies to Westime, is indeed proving to be like Donald John Trump, Jr. and other successors who are triumphant as leaders in their family’s establishments.

And with Simonian in charge of retail, his father can concentrate solely on the distribution segment of the company. “After many years of retail, my dad was happy to see someone take over the day-to-day,” Simonian says. “I am fortunate to have a father who will give me the space to take the company in the direction I want.”

That direction is the first freestanding Westime store on the Sunset Strip. “The street is legendary in L.A.,” Simonian says. “Having a store like ours—a destination place—will bring the traffic back to the strip.” As for what we can expect at this new location, much is still confidential. “We haven’t finalized the future of the store, but we’re looking at all these different projects and venturing into luxury items beyond watches,” he says and provides an example with the $12,900 Roland Iten hi-precision mechanical belt holding up his pants, a piece that took six months to engineer.

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