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Checkland Kindleysides has created a new retail concept for watch and accessories brand Nixon for their first store in Europe. The first store opens on Rue Froissart in the fashionable Marais district of Paris. For their retail concept we created an architectural horizon line, which is a device that lets us own any space in a simple way and becomes the canvas for the Nixon story allowing us to showcase Nixon’s perspective and product in a bold, distinct way.

On the exterior of the store, this manifests itself in a subtle matt to gloss black, following through to the confident, monochromatic interior. The glossy black and matt grey concrete contrast and create a horizon line which divides the space and references a common thread which runs through the Nixon (wearers) landscape: oceans, mountains, parks, concrete jungles. A subtle nod to the diverse environments of surfing, snowboarding and skateboarding, in our store concept this becomes an ownable architectural design statement, rather than a literal interpretation.

Through the use of photography and film, the relevance of this datum line becomes more obvious; especially in the execution of the ‘tide’ movie and other films featuring Nixon ambassadors. The films play on the large LED video-wall at the back of the store, providing an exhilarating backdrop to the watches, and a sense of the energy behind the brand and its wearers.

The Nixon store is a story about immersion, a subtle reference to the ocean rhythm and flow, but this also relates to product immersion. This is reflected in the merchandising, where we created an artful watch presentation which provides a sculptural centrepiece in the store. Watches are displayed rhythmically on undulating plinths, partly immersed below the surface of an under-lit aqua blue tank; they punch through the glass top, appearing to float on the surface.

This also demonstrated a step change from traditional watch merchandising, where watches are displayed behind glass. Nixon felt it was really important that their watches were accessible, encouraging customers play with the product unassisted. Adjacent to this sculptural centrepiece, a large footwear inspired ‘watch wall’ displays 100 No. watches on a tinted glass matrix; this is set against a watch tile backdrop – with tiles inspired by the original tooling used to cast Nixon watch cases, which gives a sense of the craftsmanship behind the making of Nixon products.

This store is divided into two distinct spaces, the front of the store with the main watch displays which is linked to the customisation area at the back of the store by a transitional space displaying soft goods. This space makes good use of the datum line, with a single shelf, placed on the line running along the store wall. Apparel and accessories are presented below this shelf, whilst opportunities for visual merchandising are provided above, with products displayed on raw steel peg boards, set alongside brand and campaign art and imagery. Towards the back of the store a premium product area showcases Swiss made Nixon watches and Californian leather goods in a locked cabinet.

At the back of the store the customisation area appears to have been dropped into the space like a wooden packing case. Constructed from plywood panels and punched steel pegboard, it has a temporary workshop aesthetic and also provides a material reference to skate and street culture. Following the ‘horizon line’ design, the plywood has been partly varnished, giving the illusion that it has been dipped into water up to the datum.

At the customisation bar the store’s clientele celebrate ‘designed in California, customised in Paris’ by following the step by step guide of how to create their own customised watch, choosing elements for their own unique watches from a palette of component parts of watch faces, straps, cases and engraved detailing options. Their bespoke watch is made in front of them, while they wait, before the ‘curator’ carefully packs it into the bespoke packaging.

The curator is also on hand to share local knowledge of events relevant to the Nixon collective in the surrounding areas. Returning to the front of the store customers pay for their goods at the cash and wrap station, which mirrors the design of central watch display, branded with a neon Nixon logo, encased in a glass case.

“The new Horizon retail concept is something we’re all very excited about. In an often overly cluttered retail landscape, the new Nixon retail locations are simple, bold, and curated; allowing for a more immersive and inspiring retail experience. This new visual language, paired with industry firsts– such as the sneaker style watch wall and above glass merchandising– clearly express the brand’s confidence and point of view. We think these new ideas will create a more inclusive customer experience creating deeper connections with our product.” Tom Jones, Nixon Creative Director.

Following the use of the ‘horizon line’ concept in-store, it has now become a signature for the brand which has been applied across all of Nixon’s marketing communications. Chad DiNenna, Nixon Co-Founder and EVP of Marketing, adds: “The opening of our first stores in Paris and London are indicative of bigger brand initiatives taking place globally. Our focus is to turn up Nixon’s awareness in key cities around the world and introduce ourselves, our premium products and our point of view to new people in a big way.”

The London store in Newburgh Street, London will open in October, with a further store to open in Miranda, Sydney and Chadstone Shopping Centre in Melbourne, Australia as well as Hong Kong at the end of this year. Each of the new stores will follow the horizon line concept, using interior colour iterations, relevant to their location and audience.

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