During the Geneva luxury week we visited the inaugural ReLuxury event at the Hotel President Wilson, which is – as Fabienne Lupo, founder of the concept describes – the first event dedicated to the re-commerce of luxury and collectible objects, as well as to initiatives in the field of circular economy.
Anyone just slightly interested in the Swiss fine watchmaking industry knows who Fabienne Lupo is, at least by seeing her always busy around the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie. She is the ex-Chair and Managing Director of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH), where she headed up the organisation of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (formerly the SIHH, now called Watches and Wonders). She was Executive Director of the Michelangelo Foundation and organiser of the Homo Faber Event in Venice. She left FHH in 2020 after 15 years during which the SIHH became a global phenomenon, offering watch events around the world. Now she is working as an expert partner at Creative Lab Consulting, as advisory board member at the ORIGYN Foundation and she is the CEO of Helvet Events & the Founder of ReLuxury Event.
Despite Fabienne Lupo’s background, the well-timed event is not all about timepieces – it is a multi-sector showcase for jewellery, vintage high-end fashion, handbags, luxury accessories and watches of course.
The event had four ‘pillars’: ReSell – a physical marketplace in the ground floor of the Hotel President Wilson with exhibiting brands; ReThink – interesting talk panels with key individuals from a wide variety of luxury industries; ReInvent – the so-called ‘Lab’ with up-and-coming organisations that are prioritising sustainable luxury and ReStore, a ‘Clinic’ where restorers and artisans demonstrated their skills from their atelier, like the cool Nardi Lunetier from Lausanne creating hand-made bespoke glasses and sunglasses or Vaudaux, a company specialising in designing and producing premium leather goods.
The founding partner of ReLuxury is the global e-commerce leader eBay who presented their ‘Authenticity Guarantee‘ service, which is available for example for fine watches, luxury handbags or emblematic sneakers sold on the platform. ‘Demand for luxury items on eBay is soaring – an iconic Hermès Birkin bag was recently sold for USD 98,000 and our watches business doubled last quarter’, shared Tirath Kamdar, GM of Luxury, eBay. ‘People come to the marketplace knowing that they’ll find the designers and items that they’re coveting. And now, eBay is delivering a more seamless and accessible experience that lets shoppers buy and sellers sell luxury handbags with total confidence.’
Not only on eBay but the luxury industry has been confronted with the problem of counterfeiting for many years. Thus more and more companies want to deliver a solution, like the ORIGYN Foundation, established in Switzerland in October of 2020 by Gian Bochsler, Mike Schwartz and Vincent Perriard. They are dedicated to identifying, authenticating and unlocking the powers of ownership for objects of value (in industries like art, luxury, collectibles and digital media). Last year ORIGYN received a strategic investment of USD 20M from global investors and launched digital certificates. The foundation’s utility token, OGY, will also become publicly tradable in 2022. OGY is necessary to engage with the core services of the platform and is used to create and transact certificates of authenticity.
Of course there was a great deal of fine watchmaking presence – like Richard Mille as a partner of the event. Richard Mille’s watchmakers showcased and explained to the visitors four of the most emblematic RM models (like the RM 027 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal or RM 002), each of which marked the beginning of a new era in watchmaking.
Another event partner is an important player in the Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) luxury market – WatchBox, the world’s leading platform for collectible luxury timepieces, founded in 2017 by Justin Reis, Tay Liam Wee, and Danny Govberg. WatchBox stirred up the ‘haute horlogerie’ waters by buying the majority stake in independent watchmaker De Bethune in 2021. Last November the company raised USD 165M of equity capital in a round of funding to push its global expansion. The goal is to have a total of 14 houses with further locations in the US and Asia, to complement the ones in Philadelphia (HQ), NY, Miami, LA, Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai and Zurich.
WatchBox has partnered with ORIGYN to produce Utility NFTs, which enables the ownership of luxury watches to become digitally tradable, efficiently unlocking secondary market liquidity.
At ReLuxury WatchBox presented the exhibition entitled ‘Two Decades of Complexity & Beauty’ — the Pivotal Collections by F.P. Journe and De Bethune, presenting more than 100 important models by the watchmakers. It was a rare opportunity to many watch connoisseurs to see such a great collection.
On the occasion of the first ever ReLuxury ZENITH unveiled the second chapter of its ICONS programme of curated certified vintage watches, the ZENITH ICONS: ACT II capsule collection. With distinctly space-age designs from the 1970s and additional functions integrated in the El Primero, it introduces collectors to an often overlooked, but highly dynamic and daring era for the Manufacture. Offered exclusively at ZENITH physical and online boutiques and grouped into capsule collections, these pieces are sourced, restored and certified by the Manufacture’s Heritage department, which can trace the complete history of any ZENITH watch ever made and ensure that all the components are 100% original. The aim is to offer collectors peace of mind and transparency in the often opaque and inaccessible world of vintage watches.
The capsule includes the El Primero automatic chronograph A782 with blue gradient dial, the A788 with a hexagonal cushion-shaped case and galvanic blue dial with contrasting silver chronograph counters, the A7817 ‘ESPADA’ with a barrel- shaped steel case and silver dial, the rarest of the second-generation of ZENITH El Primero watches, the 01.0140.415 and the 01.0200.415 ‘TV Screen / Big Blue’.
As we had the chance to chat with a nice array of exhibitors and visitors, the mood overall is quite positive and everyone is looking forward to the next editions and the evolution of the ReLuxury.
Photo credits: Zenith. Loupiosity.com
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