INTERVIEW: Lori Hirshleifer

Interview by Brynn Wallner, photos by Cobey Arner 
AUGUST 2021 
           Hirshleifers – or “The Last Great Department Store”, according to my friend and favorite snob Chris Black – is a true family affair. Throughout its 110 year history, the business has always been family owned and operated, and Lori Hirshleifer represents generation 4 out of 5. She co-owns Hirshleifers with her two sisters and husband, focusing additionally on the creative side of the business, as well as all the women’s buying and merchandising. If you follow her on Instagram, you know that it makes perfect sense for her to be in a creative role – I mean, those looks! Chanel is her fav (and, by the way, Hirshleifers is the only store in the US with its own Chanel boutique), but you can also see her rocking Dior, Chrome Hearts, Off-White, or whoever the coolest indie designer is at the moment. And, babe, the watches… Lori is a maximalist’s maximalist. She loves a good stack (controversial!), and she knows just what to pair with her gold Rolex Daytona. It’s no wonder why I was dying to ditch Manhattan for Manhasset for the day to meet her and scope not only her watch collection, but this incredible store her family has built and nurtured since 1910. So! I rented a Zipcar and dragged my photographer Cobey along for the ride. I even got to meet Lori’s son, one of the 5th generation Hirshleifers. Like I said… a true family affair! There’s so much to talk about regarding the store itself, but let’s stick to the dimepieces, shall we?

Dimepiece: Tell me about yourself.

Lori Hirshleifer: Well, my name is Lori, and I’m one of the owners of my family’s store, Hirshleifers. I’m part of the 4th generation and I run the store now with my two sisters and my husband, and then my son and nieces and nephew are part of the 5th generation and also work alongside us. We’ve been in business for over 110 years now and I focus on all of the women’s buying and merchandising plus the creative side of  the business.

DP: How did you get into watches?

LH: My husband has always been into watches, and as soon as my son could read, he became obsessed with them too. I owe all my knowledge on watches to them. They read a lot and keep me informed, but I’m more of a “see it and like it” kind of person. I’m less about the functionality of things. If I love how it looks and it’s comfortable, I’m sold.

DP: What was your first watch?

LH: I’m not sure I remember my first ever watch, but one of the first was one of my mom’s watches that she gave me – the Bvlgari Tubogas wrap-around watch in gold. I had convinced my dad to buy it for her when we were in Italy buying for the store. It’s broken, but this interview reminds me to get it fixed because it’s so cool.

DP: Tell me about these watches in particular.

LH: The three watches I have with me today are here in no particular order: My Patek Philippe Aquanaut in rose gold, purchased new, my green-faced yellow gold Rolex Daytona, and my Rainbow Everose Daytona (both of which were most definitely inspired by John Mayer directly). I’m not going to pretend that I was hugely aware of either of these watches prior to the second Talking Watches x JM video, and I was lucky enough to buy them both within weeks of that video premiering – they have since become impossible to buy from ADs!

DP: Is there any special sentimental value behind any of the watches?

LH: The Patek Philippe is something I splurged on when my sisters and I reached a huge goal in the company. We took over the business from our parents and they never in a million years thought we would take it where we have – we’ve grown it to heights they couldn’t even believe... so I remember being extremely proud when I got that watch. It’s a reminder of all the hard work my family and I have put into the business.

DP: Tell me about the stacking. It’s a pretty controversial subject, I gotta say! People are super afraid of the scratches other jewelry might impose on a watch. 

LH: I’m very much pro-stacking when it comes to all of my jewelry. My style is very maximalist and I’m a more-is-more kind of person! That is no different when it comes to stacking my bracelets with my watches. My husband and son cringe when they see me stack all of my bracelets on top of my watches, but I just love how it looks. It feels like such a huge part of my identity to wear my pieces this way. I tell my husband and son to look the other way now!

DP: Are you looking to expand your collection? Or is there any watch out there you're dying to own?

LH: I’m always looking to expand the collection! The next watch I’m dying for is a Cartier Crash – I think it’s one of the chicest watches ever!

DP: Do you notice watches on other people?

LH: I do more and more, especially if it’s something with a green face. I’m really drawn to that color and I love seeing green face watches.

DP: Any advice for women out there looking to get into watches?

LH: My best advice for starting out would be to just go for it! Just really work out what your own style is and what you love, and then you can’t go wrong.

DP: Any final thoughts?

LH: Don’t focus too much on keeping your watches pristine. Live your life and wear your things with love and pride!