The stars were aligned when Ilias Verras, José Enrique Rosell, and Francisco ‘Javier’ García, met in Puerto Rico in 1998. Ilias, who had already founded a successful, high end jewelry and art boutique under the staircase of 202 Cristo Street in Old San Juan, offered his friendship and expertise to José and Javier. Sharing a candid sense of humor and a passion for the cigar and watch business, they quickly became family.
In due course the three men who always had a knack for business established what began as a cigar venture. Together with a local distributor, the cigars labeled Jibarito were successfully sold in Puerto Rico. Thus in October 1998 the name Club Jibarito was born, the house of Jibarito cigars. The club’s slogan “boys are us” immediately attracted the finest local and tourist clientele. Supported by former investor Avo Uvezian Club Jibarito quickly transformed into a desire to provide a variety of luxury men’s accessories such as hats, cufflinks, and all of the highest end quality products related to cigars. The watch arrived as an additional accessory for men.
Observing the success of watch sales and, most importantly, the absence of distinct watch houses in the region they decided to capitalize on a new market.
The first man who believed in Club Jibarito’s potential and entrusted his brand to the store was former President of Ulysse Nardin, Rolf Schnyder, with the vehement support of his former Vice President and current CEO, Patrik Hoffman. On June first of this year, Club Jibarito welcomed Ulysse Nardin to its newly established watch collection.
In the upcoming years the adoption of numerous prestigious watch manufacturers made Club Jibarito a “par excellence” destination for Haute Horlogerie timepieces and jewelry. The brands resided under the same roof for several years attracting new clientele from the Caribbean as well as the rest of the world.
The increasing patronage of female clients compelled the partners to cater more deeply towards the luxury jewelry business adding products specifically tailored to women. The addition of The Chopard Boutique in 2003, the only one on the island, culminated in Cristo 202 Street’s confirmation as “a veritable luxury center in the heart of the old town”.
Acquiring the historic 202 Cristo Street building in 2004 was a very significant step towards establishing a destination worthy of the timepieces we had procured as well as our clientele. Club Jibarito thus owned its headquarters and flagship store where everything originally began. Our renovated, four-hundred-year-old building was previously a noble residence that is also situated near the Cathedral San Juan Bautista and the Governor’s mansion making it the perfect counterpart to our business which represents: History, Elegance, and Prestige.
Presently, we are considered the true temple of Haute Horlogerie in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. We will continue providing a service of excellency and initiative at Club Jibarito by continually expanding our watch collection and welcoming other prestigious brands into our boutique so that we can offer our current and future clients the best timepieces and jewelry in the world!