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The new year is kicking off with some major luxury retail shakeup on Michigan Avenue. Hot on the heels of the Omega store opening this past November, another Swiss watchmaker has announced its stake on the Magnificent Mile: Rolex just signed a multi-year lease for their Midwest flagship, on 636 North Michigan Avenue—in a 1,600+-square-foot space recently vacated by luxury jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels. The name on the lease, however, is actually New York-based Tourneau LLC, an upscale watch retailer with a store at nearby Water Tower Place that carries multiple brands, including Rolex. After determining that Michigan Avenue was its preferred destination, Tourneau immediately snapped up this buzzworthy storefront next door to Cartier.
Van Cleef & Arpels, which opened its Magnificent Mile store in 2001, decided early last spring not to renew its lease at the 636 site after weighing its option on continuing to operate a store here in town. The famed Parisian jeweler will keep its local presence after all and is now slated to move down the street to 935 North Michigan—on the same block as Georg Jensen and Chanel in the Drake Hotel building. For those who need a little VC&A bling in the meantime, private appointments are available by calling the number listed on its signage. Both Rolex and the relocated Van Cleef & Arpels will open some time this spring.