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Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is coming and I can’t wait. This is my favorite holiday, not just because of the turkey feast and football, but because there are no presents and no real pressure. I celebrate Thanksgiving here in Switzerland, but it’s not really the same.

Thanksgiving is for family, and two of my sons live in the US and won’t be joining me for the holiday. They are coming over for Christmas, but for Thanksgiving, I’ll be thankful for my family and friends here in Switzerland. We’ll be going to an expat family’s house for the big dinner on the Sunday after the actual day, as Switzerland doesn’t have Thanksgiving Day off.

No matter, I still have plenty to be thankful for:

For my job as editor-in-chief of Revolution USA, I get to do some amazing things. Just in October, I trekked to the Mont Blanc for a story about Montblanc and its mountaineering spirit. I helicoptered around the mountain and climbed around it to get the best views.

Then, later in the month, I went to the Shaolin Temple in China to train in the martial arts with the warrior monks, which was the experience of a lifetime. I have dreamed of going to the temple since I was a teenager and to finally get there, and put my foot in the centuries-old depressions where the monks trained, was very emotional.

Keith Bulgari Shangai
The crew in Shangai

After that trip, I went to a spectacular event with Bulgari in Shanghai. I had the chance to stay in the amazing Bulgari Hotel in Shanghai, which was an experience in and of itself.

Then, the following week, I was in New York to host an IWC event with Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton and James Marsden, which was tons of fun. The next week I was in Miami for the Montblanc 4810 Club pre-SIHH event, where we saw some of the watches that will be presented in January. I can’t tell you anything about them, as they are embargoed, but the watches are really something special. More on that in a future post.

Keith Lewis Hamilton James Marsden IWC
Chatting with Lewis Hamilton (L) and James Marsden (R) at the IWC Boutique Event

Whither the Watch Shows

Speaking of SIHH, there has been a real shakeup on the show front and everyone is trying to make sense of what is happening. The biggest news is that the Swatch Group has pulled out of Baselworld, leaving a gaping, 18-brand hole in that show. The show has responded with some proposed changes, but the proof will be when the show opens in March 2019. Already, other brands have followed suit, including Corum, Raymond Weil and others. Some brands have left for SIHH, while others promise to do more local events and spread out the watch introductions over the course of the year.

Unlike some other journalists, I don’t think this will be death knell for Baselworld. The watch industry still needs a dominant show that everyone goes to – sure, Rolex and Patek Phillippe and the LVMH brands can see all their clients on their own, but the smaller brands who are still looking for new retailers need a show like Baselworld.

My hope, as with any shakeup at Baselworld, is that this will make the Las Vegas shows more important. I don’t particularly like Las Vegas, except for Revolution’s motorcycle ride before the show, but I like having watch events on US soil. If Baselworld becomes less important, maybe more retailers will go to the Las Vegas shows.

Despite the tumult with the watch shows, the watch industry is a great one in which to work, and I give thanks as often as I can that I have the privilege to do what I do. I have worked in a number of other industries (film, fitness, education, etc.), and the watch industry is my far-and-away favorite.

Montblanc Mountain
A Montblanc on Mont Blanc

So, when Thanksgiving comes around this year, I will be thanking my lucky stars that I am lucky enough to write about watches for a living, and that we have readers like you.

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

About The Author: Keith Strandberg

Keith W. Strandberg (KeithStrandberg.com) has written about timepieces in many different publications for the past 25+ years. One of the few international journalists living in Switzerland, Strandberg is the Editor-in-Chief of Revolution USA (Revolution.Watch). He has written for the trade extensively as well as for mainstream publications like Variety, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, United Airlines’ Hemispheres, Men’s Vogue, USA Today, Tennis and many more.

Read more from Keith Strandberg

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