Among Connecticut’s elite jewelers, Armstrong Rockwell has established itself on its impeccable selection, knowledgeable staff, “the most astute clientele on the planet,” and above all else — a passion for haute horology.
“When the store first opened, I knew then that I was going to spend more time there than at home,” shared founder and passionate watch collector Al Armstrong.
Having recently relocated, Armstrong Rockwell Watches & Fine Jewelry today is located on the on the sunny side of Trumbull Street in Hartford’s bustling business district. The new salon offers a modern aesthetic, and given its home-away-from-home status for Mr. Armstrong and many passionate watch enthusiasts across the greater Hartford region, the space was thoughtfully designed to ensure that its charming and familial qualities would not be lost.
The floor plan incorporates custom shop-in-shops for some of the leading brands represented by Armstrong Rockwell, imparting each brand’s unique DNA and creating an optimal environment for discovery. This 37-year old business is well known for its strong focus on quality products, and the assortment of in-stock fine timepieces attests to this fact.
“Our collection has been assembled through an extremely selective process in order to provide our customers with some of the best and most highly regarded brands in the industry,” Mr. Armstrong remarked. “When customers walk into my store, I want them to feel at home, comfortable and ready to explore the world of watches.”
Fine timepieces by Audemars Piguet, Blancpain, Arnold & Son, Girard-Perregaux, Roger Dubuis and more grace the store’s gleaming showcases, including a range of unique and limited edition models from the esteemed brands. Armstrong Rockwell also offers pre-owned and vintage pieces.
“Watches are traded like rare stamps, coins or artwork; vintage watches are strong,” Mr. Armstrong added.
Mr. Armstrong has respect for the watch industry and the shrunken micromechanical miracles it produces. He is frequently referenced as a leading authority on all things horological in national and international publications, as well as publications that cater to watch enthusiasts.
“I’ve been active in the watch business more than 50 percent of my life,” Mr. Armstrong said with infectious enthusiasm, adding that he still has his first watch from when he was five years old. He keeps it in the safe – next to the “big toys.”
His passion for fine timepieces – both modern and those with interesting provenance – is shared by Armstrong Rockwell’s dedicated associates, who include some of Mr. Armstrong’s descendants. The team engages in training experiences and personal study whenever possible, ensuring that they can offer attentive care for all clients.
As a full-service watch purveyor, Armstrong Rockwell offers both factory service and in-house watch service. A stunning assortment of jewelry complements the store’s watch inventory, including both classic and modern diamond designs for everyday wear and special events, as well as bridal collections by Hearts On Fire. Exquisite natural colored gems including yellow diamonds, sapphires, rubies, emeralds and alexandrite fill the Armstrong Rockwell showcases, as does a large variety of pearls, including Japanese Akoya, Tahitian South Sea and cultured pearls in various colors, shapes and styles. Armstrong Rockwell also offers custom designed jewelry and full service jewelry repair.
Mr. Armstrong’s palpable affection for the watch business is matched by his dedication to a great number of philanthropic and civic organizations on both a local and national level, including the Mayor Mike’s Foundation for Kids, which provides youth athletic programs to the children of Hartford, Business for Downtown Hartford, the House of Bread, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Arthritis Association, the Jewish Women’s League, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, the American Heart Association and more. Mr. Armstrong has personally served on the board of the American Lung Association and as treasurer of the Connecticut Jeweler Association.
A walk through Armstrong Rockwell Watches & Fine Jewelry is a treat. Perhaps the biggest treat, though is the opportunity to meet Al Armstrong, who sums up his take on his life and his business best. “I love my job and I would work for free.”