High-end fine jewelry retailer Fourtané in Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif., has opened a Rolex boutique in San Diego that nods to the Swiss watchmaker’s dedication to ocean exploration.
The 1,500-square-foot shop recently debuted at San Diego’s upscale Fashion Valley shopping center with an immersive exhibition, “Deepest Dive,” that focuses on the only two successful manned expeditions to the bottom of the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific Ocean.
The first of two videos featured in the exhibit showcases the 1960 bathyscaphe Trieste dive to the Mariana Trench, the earliest manned dive to the deepest-known point in the world’s oceans. The expedition was equipped with an experimental Oyster model, the Deep Sea Special, attached to the hull of the vessel. (Rolex’s Oyster was the first-ever waterproof wristwatch.)
The second video details the 2012 solo dive by filmmaker James Cameron to the bottom of the deepest point in the Marina Trench. An experimental divers’ watch, the Rolex Deepsea Challenge, accompanied him on the expedition—it was attached to the submersible’s robotic manipulator arm.
The exhibit also displays a selection of timepieces showcasing the evolution of Rolex’s divers’ watches, many of which came to fruition through collaborations with diving professionals.
The store’s interiors look unlike any other Rolex store we’ve seen. Its design, which was conceptualized top-to-bottom by Rolex’s design team in Switzerland, is very nautical, and nods to San Diego’s rich maritime history.
An illuminated, sculpted wall affects undulating waves, while light-wood tables echo the interiors of classic yachts. Sleek walnut wood cabinets line the walls, and floors are a mix of polished deck-inspired wood and light-hued marble.
Bonifas, whose family ran an outdoor jewelry store in nearby La Jolla, Calif., in the 1980s, says Rolex has been a passion of his since college: “I’ve always dreamed of having a single-brand Rolex store. There are only 14 dedicated Rolex boutiques in the country. It’s a rare opportunity.”
Top: Inside the store’s “Deepest Dive” exhibit (all photos courtesy of Fourtané)Follow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
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