By Lenore Fedow
Saks Fifth Avenue just opened The Vault, which features six jewelry shop-in-shops and eight watch boutiques, at its New York City flagship store. (Photo courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue/Justin Bridges)
New York—Saks Fifth Avenue shoppers may now enter The Vault, a space dedicated to high jewelry and watches on the lower level of the retailer’s New York City flagship store.

The retailer worked with architecture and design firm Gensler to convert the 12,000-square-foot basement storage area of its Fifth Avenue flagship into retail space, doubling the square footage previously dedicated to jewelry.

The construction of The Vault is part of the larger renovation that included the remodeling of the jewelry department on the second floor, which opened last spring.

“We have created the ultimate luxury destination for high fine jewelry and watches in New York City,” Tracy Margolies, chief merchant at Saks Fifth Avenue, said in a press release on the opening of The Vault.

Customers are invited down into the swanky space, which opened Wednesday, by way of a designer escalator created by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas.

The decor is modeled after the “opulent” bank interiors of the 1920s as well as the detailing present in luxury watches, featuring vault doors, leather accents, metal textures and sculptures inspired by safety deposit boxes.

There are six fine jewelry shop-in-shops occupying the space: Boucheron, Chanel, Chopard, Graff, Piaget and Repossi.

These are the first U.S. shop-in-shops for Paris-based brands Boucheron and Repossi.

Saks is the exclusive retailer in New York for Assael, Dena Kemp, Nini Jewels and Tabbah, which are sold in The Vault too along with a number of other jewelry brands, including Adam Foster Fine Jewelry, Lorraine Schwartz, Katy Briscoe, Martin Katz, Montblanc, Oscar Heyman, Piranesi, and Robert Procop, with some offering one-of-a-kind store exclusives.

SEE: One-of-a-Kind Jewelry on Display in The Vault

Customers can step into one of the two private VIP viewing rooms to get a closer look at the jewelry and watches.

Eight watch brands are in The Vault as well: Baume & Mercier, Frank Muller, Hermès, IWC Schaffhausen, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Roger Dubuis, TAG Heuer and Vacheron Constantin.

Baume & Mercier’s space will be its first vendor-designed shop in a retailer in North America.

Saks Fifth Avenue noted it now has the largest selection of men’s watches in its history.

“With a unique atmosphere and impressive merchandise selection, Saks is delivering one-of-a-kind experiences, creating personal connections with our customers and transforming the way they shop for these valuable and lifelong pieces,” President Marc Metrick said.

The Vault is the latest step in the retailer’s $250 million “Grand Renovation” plan for its New York City flagship, which also included remodeling its shoe and beauty departments.

Metrick said The Vault was the “epitome” of the retailer’s new luxury strategy, which focuses on individuality, personalization and ease.

In The Vault, an exhibition space has been set aside to feature brand partners, guest curators, special collaborations and other events.

Tiffany & Co. will be the special guest in the space for the opening weeks.

The Tiffany collection on display includes diamond earrings weighing more than 16 carats, a 6-carat fancy vivid yellow diamond ring and a necklace with a sapphire weighing more than 14 carats set in diamonds.

The International Lounge offers multilingual concierge service to cater to shoppers visiting from abroad, as well as luggage and coat storage, package pick-up and other services.

Jewelry and watch repair services also are available.

Customers can head to the International Visitors Center to take a tour of the historic flagship.

Saks has digital initiatives in the works as well, including monthly online jewelry trunk shows and exclusive digital events for top clients.

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