The Topper Blog consists mainly of original writing by Rob & Russ Caplan with occasional special contributions and interviews. All photography in the blog is taken at Topper Fine Jewelers , or on location unless otherwise indicated in the photo captions.

The Construction Blog Of The New Topper Fine Jewelers

12/12/11 The last construction entry

Little details have been filled in over the month and the store has taken it's final form. While we would have liked to have had a grand opening party before it got too busy with the holidays, it wasn't possible so it will be scheduled for the first week in Febuary. While we still are working on little things, here are some pictures of the store in final form. (well final-"ish" anyway) here are photos of the store just 4 short months after the start of our 4 to 5 week project. Our new exterior featuring Omega watches on the left, and fine jewelry on the right.
Our new exterior featuring Omega watches on the left, and fine jewelry on the right.
What you will see when you walk in the door.
This photo was from our Marco Bicego Trunk show in mid November and show a good flow from the center of the store to our Omega shop-n-shop at the back of the store.
our private Omega viewing room is finished.
We love how the doors came out on the back of the store. This is the door from the back of the store to the Omega viewing room
The back half of the store.
the store from the perspective of the back.
Our new seated bridal area, with more fashion jewelry on the back wall.
Our four "Watch corners" for Ball, Longines, Zenith & Glashutte Original.
a few cases of our fashion jewelry showing the latest in Roberto Coin.
Russ and our General Contractor go over our demolition plans one last time on the afternoon of 8/28/11 If you like the way the store came out, Russ is the one who spent countless hours working on the details and the design and coordinating everything that went into this remodel. This store is his vision.
My father Bill is 79 years old, and it's been impossible to keep him from coming to work a full day at store 6 days a week. He has been involved in this business since the 1950s. Russ and I are extremely lucky to have him working with us each day.

I'm going to miss writing these construction blog updates, but with a little luck I'm sure we'll come up with something else to write about. Thank you to everyone who'se followed the transition of our store. We hope you like how it's turned out.

--Rob Caplan

11/7/11 Entry-way Progress & More Display Build Out.

While we still await arrivals such as the glass doors in the back of the showroom and about 6 feet of cases near the front, Topper feels a little less like a construction zone each day.

Progress with the Watch Corners.

While the physical corners for Glashütte Original & Zenith were functioning a week ago, the displays just arrived and the watches are now going out on display. Our Zenith space is almost double what it was before, and is now organized into three sections: El Primero, Elite & Older product. Aside from the fact that it is nice to see them in a more logical and spacious layout, we hope collectors will enjoy being able to have them adjacent to our new watch line Glashütte Original. The two brands compliment each other well, and are on any collectors shortlist of the best originally manufactured timepieces.
For those of you that are new to Glashütte Original, The entire collection can be seen at

Work on the Exterior

While we removed the gold tone cladding of the early 1990s design a few weeks ago, in the interim the door frame has had a placeholder while we awaited the new brushed steel cladding. That cladding arrived a few days ago and was installed this morning.
A corner of the cladding shown under the pulled back protective covering.
A view of the installed frame from the inside the store.
And from the outside. The jewelry side of the front window is complete now, although we are still waiting on our window display to arrive from Switzerland.
Russ's wife Mylene always does our store displays, and her first window for the remodeled store, while waiting for the display pieces, played on the fall harvest theme. We will continue going through our punch list and making the store as nice as we can. We plan to have a grand opening party sometime in early December and will continue doing our best during this "soft launch" phase.
Pictures of Topper Jewelers 11/7/11

"Almost Finished" - Posted 10/31/11

The store is open again, and while we are about 95% there, there is still some work left that will take place over the next few weeks.
The back portion of the store is just about finished. The last major item left for this area is the installation of twin glass doors that will seperate the showroom from the back offices and private viewing room. This installation will take place next weekend.
The center and front of the store is almost complete, but there is still a gap near the front of the store that will house a six foot case and eight foot back-wall display that will be installed in about a week. This will be the future place for Ebel, Rado, and Hamilton. Also visable in the above picture is an empty case that will house innovative designer Charles Krypell silver and gold jewelry.
The Zenith and Glashutte Original Corners are ready, but the new displays are yet to arrive . As soon as they arrive, we will fill them with Glashutte Original and 2011 Zenith models that are waiting in the vault.
The private viewing room in the back of the store is ready.
The Ball Corner is up and running now, with Bremont to the left and Longines to the right.
The two back areas in the Ball Corner each have a black light / regular light setting. The above photo is an iPhone shot of a Ball Watch resting in the chamber.
The painting of the new store is now complete, and all that remains is the stainless steel cladding on the doors, and the installation of the new window displays.
The entire seated right side of the store is bridal, and each of the brands has a great deal more space than they had in the former store. We hope you enjoy visiting and look forward to presenting to you the new Topper Fine Jewelers. A grand opening date will be announced soon!

"Finishing Touches - Posted 10/28/11

Things comtinue to move along! The Michele Trunk show ocurred today, and we stocked the center case of the store with Michele watches while construction continued. Tomorrow we are ready to inventory the store though the process of building the displays will continue through the day.
One of our first guests in the new showroom visited our Michele Trunk Show today and picked out a few straps.
All the cases are now wired, and only minor work remains. We wil start installing all the new displays tomorrow.
Russ standing with the bridal and fashion jewelry area behind him
Work remains, but the back 1/2 of the store is taking final form.
The private viewing room in the back of the store is also almost finished.

"Soft Open" Scheduled for Tomorrow - Posted 10/27/11

While we will be planning and announcing a formal grand opening event soon, the showroom is far enough along tomorrow morning that we can put out merchandise and let people in tomorrow! Though we have many lose ends to work on, we hope you like the evolution of the store. Some merchandise will not be out for a few days as we work on the fine details of the displays. Thank you again, to all who have visited with us as we've gone through these changes. Work will continue in the background over the next few weeks, but the store is starting to take shape.
While we are still working on some final touches (like the trim, cladding, and door frame), the construction signs are all gone.
The center track lighting was installed today installed and we are ready to start putting merchadise in the cases tomorrow. From the perspective of this photograph, watches will be on the left, fashion jewelry in the center, and bridal jewelry on the right. The back display and private viewing room also made great progress today, but considerable work remains.

The Install Continues - Posted 10/25/11

The work continued today, and while good progress was made, we will not ready to put merchandise in the cases tomorrow. We will have open phones and a closed showroom tomorrow. There's an outside chance the showroom will be open Thursday, but there is still a lot to accomplish.
On the bridal side, most of the back units were installed into the wall.
Considerable progress was made on the watch side as well.

The New Cases Arrive and the Start of the Install - Posted 10/24/11

Almost all of the cases arrived this morning and by the end of the day the Zenith corner both front and back were installed, and significant progress was made on a few of the other branded corners. We will pick up where we left off tomorrow, and hopefully have more of the back wall units attached by tomorrow night. Tomorrow should bring a considerable build out, and there's a chance we will be able to display merchandise as work continues around us on Wednesday, but we will have to see how it goes.
Our general contractor at 6AM this morning surrounded by boxes.
A Ball corner can be seen against the back wall, as unpacking begins.
The Longines Corner will be positioned between the Ball & Zenith corners.
On the other side of the Zenith corner will be the Glashutte Original corner. We are thrilled to add these watches to our store, and will have the collection here on display any day.
On the other side of the store, the team made some progress installing the back wall of the bridal cases. That work will continue tomorrow.

Case-less Sunday - Posted 10/23/11

Today all of the cases were discarded, and work continued on the interior of the front of the store. Tomorrow will be a fast paced day as we start the installation of the new cases and teams sent by Swatchgroup and Zenith install their respective corners. We are open tomorrow for phone hours only and will do our best to help everyone in that capacity. As to the install, we are crossing our fingers that nothing was damaged in transit and look forward to being able to resume normal operations soon.

If ever there was a day to bowl in the store it would have been today.
Another view of the empty store.

Old Cases Used for the Last Time. - Posted 10/22/11

Today was the last day of our duct taped cases. The new cases are on route, and installation will begin Monday morning. The main showroom will be closed on Monday & Tuesday while we assemble. If you would like to make special arrangements to visit during these days, please call us and we will see if we can accommodate your needs. We are scheduled for normal phone hours on Monday and Tuesday and will have full staff on the premises.

Saturday night picture of our 18 year old cases being used for the last time. Demolition continues tomorrow, and assembly of the new cases begins on Monday. Over the past week, the back wall has been built out to house a shop-n-shop that will be one of the visual highlights of the store.

Cases ready to ship. Installation date set. - Posted 10/16/11

Small finish details have continued over the past two weeks, and the store is just about ready for the final case installation. The cases are all shipping now and will be here for the start of installation on Sunday. While we do not know if we will be able to have the physical store open on Monday the 24th & Tuesday the 25th, at the very least the phones will be open and we will be reachable during the installation. Below are some pictures of some of the cases taken yesterday before they were packed up and shipped to Burlingame.

Warehouse snapshots of a row our future cases about to be shipped to Burlingame.
A back view of the cases.
Cases for jewelry that will be in the new center display area.
The future back wall of one of our watch corners.
LEDs that match the showroom have now been placed in the window displays as well.

First view of the new cases - 9/29/11

While the on-site crew has been busy over the last week installing the entryway's new slate tile, repainting window displays, and installing the new window wiring, the most interesting and substantive part of the project is happening off-site. The new showroom cases are well on their way to completion, and we expect them to ship in about ten days with installation occuring shortly thereafter. Our store designer sent us the first progress shots of the actual case construction and we are thrilled with how they are coming out. While we don't want to rush him and have a lapse in quality, they can't get here fast enough!

The store used to feature a light color faux-marble tile.
the first piece of the new tile which meets the wood floor in a semi-circle.
Now that the tile is installed, one of next weeks main projects will be the removal of all the gold cladded framing and replacing it with a more modern look.
"No really, we're open!" The front of the store has been very barren over the past few days as all the prepwork for the new windows has been underway.
Our first look at one of the future cases of the new Topper.
A row of new cases in development.

Lights and Sound - 9/22/11

The temporary lights were all removed yesterday, and the electricians installed the final lighting trim and most of our new LED lights. In addition we now have the new sound system up and running, which is a huge improvement. We are all eagerly awaiting the ship date of the new cases and cabinetry which is a few weeks out. For the meantime, we will get bye with our former and now duct-taped cases which are getting closer to retirement. The construction team is now turning to the exterior of the store while our new cases and cabinets continue to be built off-site.

Floor Installed Up To The Front - 9/16/11

In the last two days the crew installed the floor all the way up to the front of the store. The wood goes from the back of the viewing room through the showroom and stops in a semicircle about two feet from the door. The red plastic markers indicate where the center showcases will go, and the first few feet of the store will feature a new slate tile that will go out to the front. The tile will not be installed until next weekend, so they will continue with more detail work in the showroom over the next several days.

11:00 A.M. Friday Morning.
1:00 A.M Friday Morning
1:00 A.M Friday Morning
1:00 A.M Friday Morning

Dry Paint and More Floor - 9/14/11

We now have the ceiling dry and the new floor about 1/4 installed. The door on the left in the top photo will open up into the viewing room. Floor installation will continue through the week and will hopefully be completed by Monday. The new showcases & cabinets, and are all being assembled off-sight and will hopefully ship in a few weeks. While the existing showcases enable us to remain open, they will all be swapped out for new ones as part of the renovation. The new LED lights have shipped and should be here soon to replace the temporary lights.

Painting and the beginning of Floor Installation - 9/11/11

Now that the drywall installation is complete, the messiest part of the remodel is over and the crew has turned to finish detail. Last night, they began painting. In addition, the installation of the wood floor began this morning with the viewing room as the starting point. While completed the viewing room today, it should take at least a few days to install the floor throughout the entire store.

The ceiling is getting closer to its final form.
By the end of the week, we should a finished floor and much less dusty Topper Fine Jewelers!
By about 1PM today, they finsihed laying down the floor in the viewing room

The End of the Drywall Stage - 9/8/11

While this week has been productive, it hasn't been as photo-worthy as last week. We made substantial progress on the electrical side and everynight a crew came in to coat and sand the drywall. When we come into the store tomorrow morning, it will be ready to paint. Today we also started installing the office carpet and began painting the back offices. The store painting will begin tomorrow night, and we will begin the installation of the hardwood floor later in the weekend. More photos will be coming soon!

The above and below shots were taken todat before the final sanding of the drywall. While this certainly isn't the most exciting par t of the project, it's nice to see the ceiling taking shape.
In order to stay open during the day, the crew has been resourceful with the lighting.

Hanging and Tapering of the Drywall. - 9/5/11

Happy Labor Day everyone! This is the part of our construction that will probably be about as interesting as, well.... watching the paint dry. That having been said, over the last two days while we've been closed, we've made some serious strides. On Sunday we hung all of the drywall for the store, and today we began the taping process. There will be several days of taping and sanding, with the first scheduled sanding to occur tomorrow night. In order to get the final finish that we are trying to acomplish in the walls, this process will be repeated several times through-out the week. With a little luck, we will be able start thinking about LED light installation, painting, and floor installation as the weekend approaches.

The above picture shows the about 1/2 of the drywall being hung. They were able to do the entire store and back office in one day.
The above picture shows the store with the drywall completely hung and the soffitt completely covered. Last week's warehouse feel is now a memory.
the crew spent the day on Memorial day doing the first coat of taping. Sanding and more coats of taping will continue through the week.

Completion of Ceiling Wiring Install & Recessed Lighting Cans - 9/4/11

Having completes the installation and wiring of around 100 cans for the recessed LED lighting & the wiring for our new sound system, today will commence the drywall phase of the of project. The crew will be installing bar studs, joists, sheet rock, and laminating everything insde. The below photos show the store with temporary bulbs. The permanent lighting will be used after we've finished painting. We've been told it will look dramatically different by Tuesday. These photos below are the last we will see of the "open" ceiling.

Rebuilding the Lighting, Wiring & Ceiling Line. - 9/1/11

The last four days have involved the building and creation of the new ceiling line as well as installing the foundation for our new recessed LED lighting. Our contractor projects that we should have the lighting and basic wiring completed in a few days and we will then move on to the next stage of construction.

Store Demolition - 8/28/11

While we've been planning our remodel over the past several years, the demolition of the store happened in two days on Saturday the 27th & Sunday the 28th. We started immediately at the close of business on Saturday, and our challenge was to have the store ready to be open on Monday morning. Althought we were without finished walls, a floor, or conventional lighting, we did manage to open on time for normal buisness. The construction team was able to strip away and demolish every aspect of the old store that would hinder the creation of the new one. With the exception of a stray day or two, Topper will be open during it's normal business hours throughout the renovation.

Here are just a few pictures showing the first two days of our remodel.

The above picture is our former store front as it existed Friday, August 26th. While the store certainly had its time and place, it was built in 1990 and a renovation was long over due.

The picture below is a picture of the store window from Russ's office... All the walls that were marked red, (there were about 12 of them) were knocked down as soon as business closed on Saturday. Aside from the store, the entire back portion of the ground floor will also be remmade and we will also create a private viewing room.

Russ and I each got to take the first swing of demolishing the back wall of the store. Given how long each of us have been waiting for the creation of the new store, we were both pretty amped up about it. Russ took the better swing and looked like he was hitting a line drive as he broke through our former back wall.

The picture above is from the perspective of where our back wall used to be.

Aside from making the new store deeper and adding a private viewing room, the entire ceiling line had to be changed so that we could have three rows in the new store. From the perspective of when you walk in, the the new store will have watches down the left hand side, a center area for fine jewelry, and bridal jewelry on the right.

The above picture features our 1990s design ceiling line.

That line is now a memory and the new ceiling line will be straight across.

The above picture shows the store on Sunday Night as the crew neared completion of the ceiling line demolition.

The above photo shows our cases at 8:00 A.M. on Monday the 29th about two hours before we opened. A special thank you to all our guests who visited the store in the final days of August.

The Topper Blog consists mainly of original writing by Rob & Russ Caplan with occasional special contributions and interviews. All photography in the blog is taken at Topper Fine Jewelers , or on location unless otherwise indicated in the photo captions.