The historic auspices of Burlington Arcade have been home to David Duggan Watches since 2002, and we love welcoming our clients in London Mayfair’s best loved luxury shopping location. The arcade is currently preparing for its own 200-year anniversary, kicking off the celebrations with Vogue 100, which features a stunning exhibition of twenty-foot-high vintage Vogue cover prints throughout the venue. It’s the focal point for a three-month programme of events and celebrations organised in partnership with Vogue magazine. So it seemed a fitting time for us to reflect on what makes our home in Burlington Arcade so special.
Two centuries of distinguished history
Burlington Arcade was originally designed by architect Samuel Ware, who was commissioned by Lord George Cavendish in 1819 to design a covered promenade of shops. The official reasoning was to entertain the public and provide employment to London’s women. Rumour has it, though, that unofficially Lord Cavendish’s somewhat less altruistic motivation was to stop London’s underclasses from throwing rubbish into the grounds of his property, Burlington House, which visitors know these days as the Royal Academy.
The grand architecture of the arcade belied the reality of early life for the original shop keepers who took up tenancy there – with many living above or below their shops in very cramped conditions. Thankfully, arrangements are much more civilised now – although the David Duggan “family” wouldn’t hesitate to call Burlington Arcade our much loved second home even today!
As well as housing some of the world’s most well-known luxury brands, Burlington Arcade has also seen its fair share of famous faces pass through its arbours. Fred Astaire became a fan in the 1900s, when he visited seeking to restock on a set of unique designer slippers originally sent to him by an admirer. Other high profile moments include a private shopping visit by Ingrid Bergman, whilst in more recent years the arcade’s architecture has provided the backdrop for numerous Hollywood film shoots, including the modern classics “Patriot Games” and “101 Dalmatians”.
But probably the most impressive accolade is Burlington Arcade’s royal seal of approval. In 1856, highly respected Burlington Arcade jeweller, Hancocks, was commissioned to provide the first designs for what would become the Victoria Cross – first presented by her Majesty Queen Victoria to 62 servicemen in 1852. In fact, since then every single Victoria Cross ever presented has been produced by Hancocks in the same location.
Burlington Arcade’s residents have seen more than their fair share of high drama as well. A major fire in 1936 caused chaos and high profile robberies include a notorious 1964 smash and grab raid by robbers in a Jaguar Mark 10, where thieves looted themselves a cool £35,000 of jewellery. They were never caught. However, although occasional robberies have hit the news in recent years, today’s advanced security strategies have made the arcade altogether more secure.
Home to David Duggan Watches for fourteen years
Our own David Duggan took up premises in the arcade in 2002, following a long and none too glamorous residency in a small showroom in Bond Street. In 2007, the David Duggan team moved to a prime storefront location in the arcade, which is still our home today. In the best of Victorian tradition, the showroom is intimate and curious, with charming original features that are fiercely protected both by us and by the arcade’s management team. Our clients love the welcoming, friendly atmosphere where they can explore pre-owned luxury watches in a venue that’s steeped in history. And we love the privilege of serving them from this wonderful location, where we are part of a truly unique community.
To explore the Vogue 100 celebrations, life at Burlington Arcade and its luxury retailers, visit http://www.burlington-arcade.co.uk.
If you are interested in buying or selling a luxury watch, you will always enjoy a warm welcome in our showroom. Contact David Duggan – or simply visit us at your convenience.