It was the late-1800s when Morris A. Green began loading up his horse and cart for a day of selling and repairing gold eye frames, chains and pocket watches along the streets of bustling downtown Waterbury.
The teenager was a long way from his home in Lithuania, but he knew something that’s key to every successful business.
“Something was needed and he was an entrepreneur. He asked, ‘What can I do?’,” says his great-grandson, John Green. “‘Let me help you and let me be a part of this community.’”
It’s a mindset that resonates with John Green, president & CEO of Lux Bond & Green, the 124-year-old business that grew from Green’s visionary beginnings.
“People say there’s no loyalty in today’s world. That’s hogwash,” John says. “If you give something of great value with exceptional customer service, your customers will come back and they will tell other people about you. I’ve waited on three generations of families and it’s the customers who keep us in business. We feel fortunate to be able to help people create icons and heirlooms for years to come.”
Stepping into any Lux Bond & Green location – in Westport, Glastonbury, West Hartford, Mohegan Sun Resort & Casino in Uncasville, Wellesley, Mass. – customers will know what he means. Lux Bond & Green is one of the longest continuously operating singularly owned jewelers in the United States.
And, while it built its foundation on its commitment to quality and exceptional service, the company has kept up with the times by offering some of the most sought-after watches and jewelry designs in the world.
The pandemic reinforced their value, in fact. Unable to travel as much as they’d like, many families turned to luxury items to mark holidays, special occasions and anniversaries, John says.
“Our industry had especially strong sales with 2021 being a record year,” he says.
In addition to the shifting economy, many small businesses were more nimble than their bigger competitors, able to offer the personalized concierge service, contactless virtual consultations and speedy delivery customers appreciated.
A case in point is the Westport location’s new Rolex suite, an 800-square-foot space carved out of the Brooks Brothers location next door that caters exclusively to the watch company’s statement pieces – investments that discerning customers know will have lasting value.
“Rolex is one of the top brands of anything in the world,” John says. “It’s a beautiful little space to showcase them.”
Why are watches so coveted?
“There are a lot of reasons,” John says. “it’s something that gets worn everyday. You hear people say, ‘When I don’t have my watch on, I feel naked.’ And it’s true. And they’re symbolic – of family, of success, of personal style in the shape or type of watch.”
During the pandemic, the price for previously owned watches actually outpaced that of new models, in large part because the demand went through the roof and some required a several-month to multi-year wait.
It’s easy to see why when one looks at the vintage watch market for models associated with Westport’s own Paul Newman. The actor and race car driver once gave his daughter’s boyfriend one of his own Rolexes for doing some yard work.
That same watch – a sleek Daytona chronograph style he probably bought for about $1,500, John estimates – sold in 2017 for more than $15 million.
As an authorized Rolex dealer, Lux Bond & Green has a set number of exhibition watches from the brand. The company keeps a client book of customers looking for particular models as well as other popular styles and brands.
In recent years, Lux Bond & Green has added Tudor watches, a Swiss brand founded by Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex. A move towards larger, statement watches has meant a move away from men’s and women’s designations and to designating sizes by millimeters.
“Large watches are not just for men anymore,” he says. “Now we just call them by size.”
While watches make up an important part of their business, the company has also expanded its diamond offerings in recent years and it sports a full line of distinctive jewelry and gifts for all occasions.
Some pieces are manufactured and engraved on site and the company has built a reputation with top international designers, such as David Yurman and Roberto Coin. Other respected brands include Baccarat, Tag Heuer, Steuben and William Yeoward Crystal.
This holiday season Green predicts many will be looking for gold jewelry that is quite popular now. In addition, he expects to see the usual rush on winter holiday engagement diamonds as well as an expanded interest in men’s jewelry.
Green believes the Westport location thrives because the professional staff is not just on commission and truly cares about the long-term relationships with customers.
“We treat people like family,” John says, “and we’ve always tried to be a leader.”
Lux Bond & Green
136 Main Street
Westport, CT 06880