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An overview about a few upcoming finewatchmaking events in the next months and next year – hopefully already all in real life – follow us along.

In many ways the pandemic would have been an even more isolated and lonely experience without the technology of the 21st century. Lot of people were (and are) able to work from home, using Zoom or Teams for instance; we have a great variety of choice on the streaming services, podcasts or voice based social networks like Clubhouse to entertain ourselves and we have many platform to connect with friends, family and also with our favourite brands. 

As we already discussed a few times on this site it was interesting to see how the luxury industry and the watch brands can cope with the all-virtual events and product launches. 

Company leaders run a greater part of the show personally in this setting as the small groups they typically entertain on-site expand suddenly to include all participants behind the screen. Some CEOs and department heads seem to feel more comfortable with this than others. Personalities come through the fibre and as we have seen it in a number of cases, it can result in more natural conversations and greater engagement from the viewers. 

In this industry the success of the presentations or launches could depend much more on the leaders or founders of the brands than in many other businesses. Those with an ease of speaking under such circumstances can create an atmosphere where the ‘personal touch and connection’ of luxury still exists. 

But of course everyone is keen to return to the live events, real personal discussions and connections. Many people in finewatchmaking are guessing – is it possible to have one giga occasion for the industry or is the future set for the smaller presentations, decentralised events and self-managed launches? 

Well, we have a few events in the calendar for the upcoming months… 

Geneva Watch Days 

30 August – 3 September 2021

The success of Geneva Watch Days 2020 has encouraged its organisers to set up the event again in 2021 in a very similar format: phygital, decentralised, self-managed and open to the public. 

We participated last year and it was a bit of a fresh air during the times of COVID19. The nice weather gave the opportunity to have outdoor gatherings which seemed more safe and convenient for many of us. 

The GWD will bring together again a group of some 20 brands representing the art of horology in various hotels, manufactures and boutiques in Geneva and – since is are already a great amount of people who have been fully vaccinated – maybe visitors all around the world.

This initiative was launched by a pool of Founding Benefactor Brands including Bvlgari, Breitling, De Bethune, Gerald Genta, Girard-Perregaux, Greubel Forsey, H. Moser & Cie., MB&F, Ulysse Nardin and Urwerk, which have formed a non-profit association alongside Associated Brands: Arnold & Son, Bianchet, Czapek, Doxa, Ferdinand Berthoud, Frederique Constant Group, Louis Erard, Maurice Lacroix, Parmigiani, Phillips auction house, Oris and Reuge.

Imagination – One World One Vision 

1-6 September 2021

The Imagination – OneWorld OneVision watch-making trade show is organised by Swiss Creative Events, a company co-founded by Carlo E. Naldi (also founder of Swiss Creative Lab, which ran an exhibition for 10 years in Hyperion Hotel/former Ramada alongside Baselworld with dozens of smaller and independent brands).

The – both an indoor and an outdoor – event will take place at the prestigious Esplanade Léopold-Robert, between the Beaulac hotel and the Place du Port on the shores of Lake Neuchâtel. In particular, all meeting rooms, restaurants and guest rooms at Hotel Beaulac will be reserved for the event.

UPDATE: Carlo E. Naldi and André Colard, the organizers of the event have announced the cancellation of this year’s show – they will soon communicate the details and the planned evolutions of the 2022 edition.

Dubai Watch Week

24-28 November 2021

The Dubai Watch Week is a biennial event, founded in 2015 by Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons – a retailer representing more than 75 horology and jewellery brands in the region. Its mission is to ‘provide an educational platform for the purpose of sharing knowledge, building connections and celebrating watchmaking’. This May Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons confirmed that the Dubai Watch Week returns in 2021 with a physical event. The 5th edition is poised to take place from 24th to 28th November, at The Gate, Dubai International Financial Centre.

Time to Watches

30 March – 5 April 2022

The event will be held in partnership with HEAD – Genève on the campus of Geneva University of Art and Design, a world-renowned academic and cultural institution, and the only University in Switzerland to propose a Master’s programme in Watch Design. 

The mission of Time to Watches is to strengthen links between key players in the watchmaking community and to build bridges with the academic and cultural world. Hence the partnership with HEAD – Genève.

The emblematic venue of HEAD, the Cube, will combine exhibition areas for 50 brands, a media room and plenty of open spaces for informal meetings and catering.

“HEAD – Genève has always been a place open to the city and the world. Promoting a pedagogy rooted in the real world, we wish to offer our students every opportunity to confront the professional world. The Time to Watches event is precisely the kind of context where our students can find inspiration, networking and professional perspectives.” – Jean-Pierre Greff, Director of HEAD

HEAD campus
Campus HEAD; © HEAD – Genève, Michel Giesbrecht

Watches and Wonders

30 March – 5 April 2022

This June Watches and Wonders Geneva (former SIHH) announced the dates of its next salon. And the world of watchmaking will be in the spotlight once again as the salon will be held as an actual physical event in Geneva next year, from March 30 to April 5, 2022 at Palexpo. 

While the list of participating Maisons and the exact format will be communicated at a later date for the Geneva event, the organisers presented the Watches and Wonders Sanya – the seaside resort located on the southern end of Hainan Island – will welcome 13 exhibiting Maisons for its second edition, held from October 1st to December 31st, 2021 (brand there are: A. Lange & Söhne, Baume & Mercier, Cartier, Girard-Perregaux, Hermès, IWC Schaffhausen, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Montblanc, Panerai, Piaget, Roger Dubuis, Ulysse Nardin, Vacheron Constantin.)

Baselworld 

31 March – 4 April 2022

The first “Schweizer Mustermesse Basel” (Swiss Sample Fair) was held in 1917, devoting a section to watches and jewellery. By 1931 the number of exhibitors grew to such an extent that watchmakers gathered in a dedicated pavilion at the fair, calling it the Schweizer Uhrenmesse (Swiss Watch Show). In 1973 the event expanded to the European level, when companies from France, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom received invitation to the European Watch and Jewellery Show, for the first time. To mark its position in the horology industry, the event changed its name to BASEL in 1983, just before opening its doors to the first non-European exhibitors in 1986. In 2003 the fair was given its current official name, Baselworld, The Watch and Jewelry Show, run by MCH Group. 

Baselworld
Tarik Haiga for Baselworld

In the recent years a lot of happened around Baselworld – in 2019, with the withdrawal of Swatch Group (they had announced in 2018 that they would no longer attend Baselworld 2019 with any of their brands), the show has been shortened by one day. In April 2020 Rolex, Patek Philippe, Chopard, Chanel and Tudor released that they would be pulling out of the event too and host their own fair in April 2021.

The show management presented in 2020 the HourUniverse – an online platform for networking and content that will be active and updated all year, with one annual live event. 

This June Michel Loris-Melikoff Managing Director of Baselworld sat down with Sophie Furley on an online event and announced the return of Baselworld. “We took a lot of time to talk to our partners and exhibitors. One thing became very clear: the Baselworld brand must remain, but it must fundamentally change” – as he comments. 

Of course there are other events, initiatives, get togethers and brands’ launches out there, this is just a quick overview what the next months can bring us. Time will tell which events survive so stay tuned! 

Photo credits: Loupiosity.com, © HEAD – Genève, Michel Giesbrecht, Tarik Haiga for Baselworld
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