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A great amount of fine watchmaking brands will present their latest novelties to the press, retailers and to the public in Geneva from 30 March until 5 April with the hybrid concept – online launches will be organised for those who are not able to travel to Switzerland this spring.

As we covered here, there are new initiatives and events on the horizon in the fine watchmaking world – some of them were already shelved or cancelled, while others try to keep pushing ahead. 

The (back then) biggest global watchmaking event, Baselworld watch fair, shared with the media in 2020 that Baselworld would be replaced by another show named the Hour Universe. This show was called off in the past two years due to the pandemic – according to the official explanation. Then last summer the show’s organiser MCH Group claimed that since the Baselworld has a ‘big brand value’ they would like to keep it and relaunch it in 2022. Finally MCH announced last November the postponement of the 2022 spring edition. 

Many people in fine watchmaking are guessing – is it still possible to have one (or two) giga global occasions for the industry or is the future set for smaller presentations, decentralised events, self-managed launches or special celebrations organised by locally well established retailers? 

As recently most of the COVID restrictions were lifted in Switzerland the ‘Geneva Watch Week’ seems to be full of events – we selected a few below. In addition some of the brands are organising sessions for press and retailers to discover their novelties.

Watches and Wonders

30 March – 5 April 2022

Last June Watches and Wonders Geneva (formerly SIHH) presented the dates of its next ‘phygital’ event. The salon will be held with an actual physical part in Geneva from 30 March to 5 April, 2022 at Palexpo. The program has been redesigned to enable international press to keep up to date about the latest news from the brands, both online and live at the Salon.

Earlier this year they announced the list of participating Maisons (A. Lange & Söhne, Baume & Mercier, Cartier, Chanel, Chopard, Grand Seiko, Hermès, Hublot, IWC Schaffhausen, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Montblanc, Oris, Panerai, Parmigiani Fleurier, Patek Philippe, Piaget, Roger Dubuis, Rolex, TAG Heuer, Tudor, Ulysse Nardin, Vacheron Constantin, Van Cleef & Arpels, Zenith) together with the brands exhibiting at the Carré des Horlogers (Angelus, Armin Strom, Arnold & Son, Cyrus Genève, Czapek & Cie, Ferdinand Berthoud, H. Moser & Cie., Laurent Ferrier, Louis Moinet, Rebellion Timepieces, Ressence, Rudis Sylva, Speake-Marin and Trilobe). 

The exhibiting Maisonswill hold Keynote sessions in the Auditorium. Announcements and speeches, mostly by brand leaders and ambassadors, will be broadcast live to the general public on their platform and via social media. There are also digital product presentations for those who are not able to attend in person. 

The live broadcasts include the Morning Show (every morning at 8.30 am) with news and trends and the Late Show (at around 6:30pm) which will cover many topics including a summary of the day’s Keynote sessions. 

Watches and Culture

The Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie created a new division last year: ‘Watches and Culture’. The aim is to bring watchmaking culture to life through the creation of original works, education and networking in the industry. Part of their knowledge sharing activity is the brand’s ‘Watch Essentials’ educational app. 

As the UNESCO added the craftsmanship of mechanical watchmaking and art mechanics to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in December last year, this initiative seems to be very apposite. 

At the event six 45-minute panel discussions by Watches and Culture will address the issue of eco-responsibility from different angles. The program is also available online and will be hosted by high-profile industry figures and watchmaking experts. 

‘Watches and Culture’ will also curate the ‘Time Design’ exhibition dedicated to the evolution of wristwatch design through the ages. A tribute will be paid to the work of the great Swiss watch designer Mr Gérald Genta (1 May 1931 – 17 August 2011) through a selection of drawings and emblematic pieces. This exhibition will be revealed to the general public for the first time at the Pont de la Machine in Geneva from 14 April to 8 May 2022. 

Watches and Wonders
Watches and Wonders 2022

Time to Watches

30 March – 3 April 2022

The ‘Time to Watches’ is created and organised by Marc Angebault, an expert in content marketing, and event designer Christian Wipfli, the founder and CEO of Poseidon & Co. We met with Marc last September in Geneva, where he explained the concept of the exhibition. This brand new event will be held in partnership with HEAD – Genève on the campus of the Geneva University of Art and Design (HES-SO Genève), 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 collaboration with HEAD – Genève; they are organising a programme of conferences and round tables in short and interactive formats, around five themes: art, fashion, finance, the future and the circular economy. You can find the 2022 discussions, round tables and presentations here.

‘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

The ‘Time to Watches’  exhibitors are Corum, Sinn, MeisterSinger, Louis Erard, Reservoir, Chronoswiss, Raketa, L’Epée 1839, L.Leroy, Mauron Musy, Pierre DeRoche, Schwarz Etienne, Perrelet, Pequignet, Vulcain, Charles Girardier, Frederic Juevenot, Cuervo y Sobrinos, Anonimo, Milus and more. There is also a dedicated space for young brands, called Time to the FUTURE by Mestel –  showcasing innovation, boldness, risk-taking and creativity in the field of watchmaking.

The first days are invitation only but on 3 April the event is open to the public. 

HEAD – Geneve
HEAD – Genève © HEAD – Genève, Michel Giesbrecht

Swiss Independent Watchmaking showroom at BARTON7

30 March – 5 April, 2022

The BARTON7 in downtown Geneva offers a nice, temporary showroom for independent watch brands to present their novelties during Geneva Watch Week 2022. The idea is to welcome watch aficionados, journalists and business partners both physically & digitally from 30th March to 5th April, 2022. 

Among the announced exhibitors are Singer Reimagined, Schwarz Etienne, Ikepod, Le Rhöne Genève, Genus and Blaken (the latter is a service company for the customization and personalization of luxury watches). 

‘We are first and foremost craftspeople-entrepreneurs. Creative, curious and always looking for better solutions to old and new challenges! This mindset is behind our desire to get together and create a place that speaks to the spirit we all share.
We create timepieces that reflect a unique aesthetic, not just because they are produced in small series or even made-to-measure, but also because they come from creators who defend the art of watchmaking in all its audacity, craftsmanship and engineering mastery.
At the heart of what we do is the human element, and this is precisely what our customers appreciate. BARTON7 expresses who and what we are: grounded, driven, supportive of each other and linked by the simple pleasure of sharing and being together.’says Marco Borraccino, Designer CEO and Creative Director of Singer Reimagined, initiator of the BARTON7 experience.

Barton 7
BARTON7 showroom

Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants (AHCI) event

30 March – 5 April, 2022

The AHCI (Academie Horlogere Des Createurs Independants) was started by Vincent Calabrese and Svend Andersen in 1985 with the intent of preserving and encouraging the pure craft and highest level of creativity in mechanical watchmaking. As the name suggests, the members of the ‘Academie’ are independent watchmakers, nominated and selected by the committee. To become a member, the watchmaker must meet strict criteria and possess extraordinary technical and creative know-how.

The organisation has external partners too, helping to promote independent fine watchmaking as well as deliver mentorship programmes to young talents. The AHCI members have received 17 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève trophies altogether so far, including the Special Jury Prize for the AHCI’s outstanding contribution to fine watchmaking.

Today it has 34 members, 2 candidates and 4 new applicants for 2022.

The organisation introduced itself in 1986 at Baselworld. Throughout the years their booth was a sure spot for the truly geek fine watchmaking aficionados. 

This spring, the AHCI members are in Geneva with the support of some great retailers, media and brands (like MB&F) – at the L’iceBergues Exhibition Centre. 

Konstantin Chaykin, Svend Andersen, David Candaux, Ludovic Ballouard, Vianney Halter, Raul Pages, John-Mikael Flaux, Daizoh Makihara, Kari Voutilainen, Aaron Becsei, Felix Baumgartner, Miki Eleta, Alessandro Rigotto, Robert Bray, Florian Schlumpf, Bernhard Lederer, Marco Lang, Stefan Kudoke, Sebastian Naeschke, Sebastien Billieres, Anton Suhanov, Sylvain Pinaud, Machial Hulsman and guest appearances from the some other members of the Académie.

AHCI event in Geneva

Photo credits: Watches and Wonders, HEAD Geneve, BARTON7, AHCI, Loupiosity.com.
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