“Shreve, Crump & Low recently opened the doors to a gleaming new salon on Boston’s iconic Newbury Street. Here, fine Swiss timepieces and extraordinary jewels are presented to the sophisticated shoppers of New England. Exuding luxury and expertly-appointed finishings, one would not readily detect they were standing in the home of America’s oldest jeweler.
Shreve, Crump & Low’s story began in 1796 when young watchmaker and renowned silversmith John McFarlane opened a workshop across the street from Paul Revere’s own silversmith shop. McFarlane had an affinity for luxury and built a business procuring such items as sterling silver tea sets and other wares. With the entry of globally influential Benjamin Shreve into the company landscape, they soon delivered diamonds, jewels and other rarities from Europe and the Orient to the elite patrons of Boston.
The firm changed hands, ownership and names through the ensuing years, before it consolidated, reorganized and presented itself by its current name, Shreve, Crump & Low, in 1869. Throughout the years, the company has attracted an international following in both clientele and the firms whose wares are sold in-store. Shreve, Crump & Low was one of the first retailers in the country to offer Patek Philippe and Rolex timepieces. They fittingly earned a distinction of excellence and became regarded as an American business legend.
2006 proved another turning point in Shreve, Crump & Low’s history as it joined the ranks of Boston’s renowned jeweler David Walker. Walker grew up against a backdrop of the jewelry industry and was running the successful store David & Company at the time of purchase. He later transitioned his eponymous shop into Shreve, Crump & Low’sChestnut Hill location. Recalling the allure of Shreve, Crump & Low from his childhood, Walker made a pledge to restore the company’s grandeur.
David Walker’s sons, Brian and Brad recently joined their father in operations and development of Shreve, Crump & Low. He became deeply engaged in all aspects of the Newbury Street store construction.
“Every aspect of the store was methodically calculated and exact, down to the trim and fixtures,” Brian shared. “In fact, lighting specialists from six different companies were hired to assess the space before we selected the perfect LED options.”
“There is a niche for each of our represented collections,” Christopher remarked. “A. Lange & Söhne in particular, is highly esteemed and sought after by our clients, who are impressed by the watchmaking firm’s perfectly executed design, superior attention to detail and absolute level of craftsmanship.”
The exclusive and sophisticated timepieces by Audemars Piguet were a recent addition to the company’s prestigious collections, and a shop-in-shop was installed early this year. Brian shared, “Audemars Piguet has been a dynamic addition to our current brand selection. Bridging the gaps between classic and contemporary style, elegant and sporty design, flirting with formality and an air of informal coolness, owning an Audemars Piguet represents an understanding of high-caliber watchmaking at its finest.”
Shreve, Crump & Low’s dedicated associates are well versed in the history, romance and collections of each of their represented brands, as well as the general pulse of the watch industry. The Walkers point to service and product knowledge as the cornerstones to the business, which has truly taken the form of an extended family.
“Know your product. Know your brand. Know your inventory,” Brian conveyed. “To properly represent specialized product, you need to know the history, the collections and what differentiates one piece from the next. Shreve, Crump & Low is fully committed to helping both the seasoned watch enthusiast and the budding collector navigate the often ‘complicated’ offerings of the watch industry.”
Underscoring this commitment to service, Shreve, Crump & Low has two expertly-trained watchmakers on site, certified by the most revered watch brands to ensure precision and excellence when dealing with repair and restoration work. They work within a sophisticated in-store service center that is both air sealed and antimicrobial, ideal conditions for watchmaking.
Knowledgeable, passionate and fully engaged in the continued growth of its horological offerings and services, the entire Shreve, Crump & Low extended family is well poised to meet the needs of watch enthusiasts in Boston and beyond.
“From traveling across the country to deliver a watch, to traveling across the street,” Brian remarked. “Shreve, Crump & Low’s commitment to service goes across the board. There is a level of expertise and superior service that is expected, and that we proudly deliver.'”
“Humble beginnings may be few and far between in the watch industry, but when they happen, they are extraordinary. This is the first in what will be an on-going series entitled “Persons of Interest.” In this series, we will tell the personal stories of people that make the watch industry go ’round, the people who we think are “fighting the good fight,” so to speak.
Our first subject is Adam Bossi. Having gone from security guard at a watch and jewelry retailer in his teens to becoming the youngest manager of a high-end watch brand in the country, and finally, to the role of President of Boston’s Shreve, Crump & Low (profiled by us here), his story is one of perseverance and hard work. Did we mention that he’s barely over 30 years of age?
Bossi was 17 when he discovered his love for fine watches, and it was then that he resolved to work in the business. While attending college, Adam applied for sales positions at nearby retailers, eventually ending up at Alpha Omega, a watch and jewelry retailer with four locations around Boston at the time. Bossi promised the manager that, if given the opportunity to work with clients, he’d end up becoming the top sales person in the company. Without any open sales positions, but impressed by his confidence, the manager offered him a position as security guard for the store.
Shreve, Crump & Low Boston Boutique, 39 Newbury Street
His duties as security guard may not have brought him direct access to the watches and their buyers, but it did provide the perfect opportunity to observe other salesmen and saleswomen at work, affording him the opportunity to hone his technique and knowledge base. When he was given the opportunity to sell a year later, Bossi quickly excelled, becoming the top salesperson in the company, as promised.
At the age of 23 and looking to move on, Blancpain made Bossi the youngest sales manager in the industry. By 27, he had become the youngest brand manager within the Swatch Group. In less than 4 years, Bossi tripled sales in the US and opened 2 flagship boutiques for Blancpain. You can see Bossi in this photo report from earlier this year when HODINKEE welcomed Blancpain to Fifth Avenue. His was a remarkable rise from humble beginnings, especially within an industry not exactly known for meteoric progress in, well, anything.
Shreve Crump & Low began in 1796, when watchmaker and silversmith, John McFarlane opened a workshop in Boston. (His biggest competitor at the time was a gentleman by the name of Paul Revere.) The company grew throughout the 19th century, consolidating various firms within the industry until finally taking the name Shreve Crump & Low in 1869. Today, it’s known as an historic retailer with relationships that run deep, both in the community and the industry. It is here that Bossi feels most at home, saying he has no immediate plans to jump back into the brand side of things, opting for a life in New England with his new wife over a life on the road.
Shreve, Crump & Low Chestnut Hill Boutique
These days, you’ll find Bossi wearing an IWC Portofino or AP Royal Oak around the shop. He recommends that anyone looking to get into the business simply focus on getting a foot in the door, where a little knowledge and a lot of hard work will go a long way. Adam Bossi is proof of that.”
“Greenwich Avenue is shimmering a little brighter this month, with the addition of Shreve, Crump & Low, a Boston-based jewelry store that opened its doors and stocked its display windows with carats upon carats of glimmering jewels.
The storied shop claims to be America’s oldest jeweler, with roots dating back to 1796 when original owner John McFarlane, a watchmaker and silversmith, opened a workshop across the street from Paul Revere at Downtown Crossing. In the centuries since, Shreve, Crump & Low has made a big name for itself, attracting clients from all over the world to its flagship store in Boston as well as another location just outside of the city. The opening of the new storefront at 125 Greenwich Ave. represents an expansion outside of Massachusetts, according to President Adam Bossi.
“Why not? I mean, look at it here,” Bossi said. “It’s an amazing, affluent community filled with what we think to be some of the finest buyers and purveyors of fine jewels in the world, and we thought what better place to bring a name like Shreve, Crump & Low, which has had a mainstay in the New England market since 1796.”
The Avenue, after all, is already home to well-established fine jewelry shops, like Betteridge, at 117 Greenwich Ave., and Tiffany & Co. at 140 Greenwich Ave. Betteridge, which first opened its doors in Greenwich back in 1897, is planning to move a couple blocks down the Avenue in 2015, spreading its wings into the larger storefront left vacant at 239 Greenwich Ave., when Restoration Hardware moved to the old post office building.
The Greenwich outpost of Shreve, Crump & Low is just the first step along a diamond-crusted trail the jewelry store hopes to blaze across the world.
“There are plans for expansion as the years go on,” said Bossi. “We will consider any location — it just has to make sense. But when an opportunity presents itself such as this building did, on the corner of Greenwich Avenue and Lewis Street, that will be the next stop.”
In the meantime, the staff members at Shreve, Crump & Low said they are excited to enter the Greenwich market, having staked a claim on what was originally built as a bank almost a hundred years ago.
“One of the most attractive things about this space was the building, and how unique it was to the history of Greenwich, but also the history of classic architecture for the time,” said Vice President and Creative Director Brian Walker. “You know, you can’t pass up on such a stunningly beautiful building from the 1920s.”
The building had been vacant for a little more than a year, and before that it housed a paper store, according to Tom Torelli, of Greenwich-based Allied Property Group, which brokered the “long-term lease” deal for which no other details were given. Over the past year, Shreve, Crump & Low has worked to open up the property, adding windows to the Greenwich Avenue frontage and creating a friendlier atmosphere for passersby.
Now, diamonds and sapphires dance in the light, sending sparkles across the showroom and refracting into the street. And while the team at the store said there are pieces for every type of buyer, some of the most interesting will run you about the cost of a house in Cos Cob.
Take, for instance the set of custom-made earrings, complete with a 7.9-carat canary diamond on each stud, falling like a teardrop off a white diamond base. In total, the earrings weigh 19.52 carats, according to Brad Walker, and they are companion pieces for a necklace, which features a 15.98 carat canary diamond drop hanging from a necklace of 70 pear-shaped diamonds, weighing 22.1 carats themselves. The earrings are priced at $575,000, and the necklace is $750,000.
But their story is worth more than the individual prices, said Brian Walker. Put together by the Walkers’ father, David, the set took more than a year to assemble, and though they are displayed on separate stands in the store, the jewelers want to see the set remain intact.
“David had a vision for what we wanted them to look like and we accomplished it through time and patience,” Brian Walker explained. “These stones took quite a lot of time to form, and quite a long time to get into our hands and cut the way they’re cut, so a little bit longer to get into our cases is not a problem.”
If someone were to ask to buy one part of the set and not the other, Walker said he would ask the buyer to wait so he and his partners could find another item instead. Because at the end of the day, selling fine jewelry isn’t about ringing a cash register: It’s about romance.
“The story is important to us,” Walker said. “Jewelry is about stories, just as this store is about our story, our history. And that’s the most important thing we do here. We help create stories.'”
(from left to right) Executive Vice President Nathan Hall, President Adam Bossi, Owner & CEO David Walker, Olivia Walker, Bradford Walker, and Creative Director & Vice President Brian Walker at the Shreve, Crump & Low Greenwich Boutique Grand Opening Holiday Event
A fraction of all proceeds from the evening were donated to the Breast Cancer Alliance, a local Greenwich charity working to find a cure. Shreve, Crump & Low is pleased to work with such a wonderful foundation and looks forward to many more years of support.
Read the social media coverage of the event below!