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Show Shake Up

My how the watch landscape has changed. I think we’ve seen more changes in the last six months than we have seen in the last 20 years. First, the Swatch Group pulled out of Baselworld, and other brands followed, some going to SIHH, which added a number of brands (and lost some too), and some just leaving without any plan at all.

Then, the news came that the watch shows in Switzerland will be moving to the same time (late April/early May) in 2020. This is a real change for the industry, especially given that it is so late in the year.

SIHH

The SIHH was a really good show, with a lot of really interesting watches introduced. For Revolution, I focused on luxury sports watches, and chose watches from Panerai, Ressence and Girard-Perregaux.

Girard Perregaux Laureato Absolute Chronograph Ambiance
Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute Chronograph Ambiance

I was also very impressed by the offerings from Montblanc, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Cartier and others.

The highlight of the show for me was definitely the Traditionnelle Twinbeat Perpetual Calendar from Vacheron, which is redefining power reserve.

Baselworld 2019

This year’s Baselworld should be an interesting show. The brands still at Basel are putting on a brave face, hoping that the show directors are serious about making constructive changes, and that retailers and journalists will still go. Everyone I have talked with, including Sascha Moeri, CEO of Carl F. Bucherer, is super excited about the show.

SIHH and Baselworld 2020

With the shows back to back, SIHH first followed by Baselworld, this is going to be a challenging week. This is the way it used to be, many years ago, and it should be fine, but you never know. Also, the show is so late in the year, many retailers are certain that watch brands will no longer wait to announce new watches until Basel. They predict that brands will show new things as early as they can in the year, to catch people’s interest.

Watches & Wonders

I just returned from Watches & Wonders in Miami, which had more brands participating, including brands from all four big groups (Richemont, LVMH, Kering and Swatch). A consumer-facing show, Watches & Wonders was very well attended, with some new watches introduced (like the Mega Yacht from Ulysse Nardin and the Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Silver from Zenith).

Ulysse Nardin Marine Mega Yacht

 

Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Silver
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Silver

While there, I hosted panels on Watch Creation and Independent Watch Companies and did a Q&A with Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani, the director of watch design at Bvlgari in the Bvlgari boutique, all of which were very well attended. There is a real thirst for watch knowledge out there and Watches & Wonders is committed to filling that void.

Due to the scheduling for next year, Watches & Wonders just became the first show on the calendar, which makes it much more important. Maybe you should think about making a visit to Miami in February of 2020 to see the new timepieces.

Vegas 2019

This year’s shows are safe, but there is no way to know what impact this will have on the US shows in late May/early June 2020. Will retailers and journalists still go to Vegas since SIHH and Baselworld are less than a month before? This may signal the death knell for the watch part of these shows, which would be a shame.

Now, it’s on to Basel. I can’t wait to see what happens there, and you can be sure that I’ll give you the highlights as soon as the show is over.

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, 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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