In a time of Covid-19, does a watch fair matter? To those outside the ever-growing circle of horology enthusiasts, it might seem crazy that there are people who give a toss about pricey timepieces in the midst of a global crisis. But the fact is, we all need something to look forward to and to keep us dreaming — and for watch fans, that’s knowing what our favourite brands have been hard at work creating. (Also known as, what we might possibly treat themselves to once we can actually, you know, leave the house.) Even if one is not planning to buy these new watches (and trust us, there are many who will be), there’s nothing like a bit of armchair criticism and heated discussions among one’s own #watchfam to help these circuit-breaking times go by a little faster.
Therefore, we welcome the news that Watches & Wonders, which replaces the Genevan watch fair formerly known as the Salon Internationale de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), has gone fully digital this year, in light of the fact that most of the globe is staying home right now. The fair will officially open this Saturday (Apr 25) at 12 noon Central European Time, or 6pm here on our shores, at www.watchesandwonders.com, to enthusiasts around the world.
Sure, we are disappointed at not being able to head to Switzerland this year, for proper hands-on time with many new releases, as a result of the cancellation of the industry’s two major annual fairs — Watches and Wonders, and the much-beleaguered Baselworld. But we are excited about what this online event will bring: Essentially, viewers will be be able to see all the major new releases from the 30 participating brands, including Richemont Group brands such as Cartier, Montblanc, Panerai, A. Lange & Sohne and Vacheron Constantin, as well as independents such as MB&F and Ressence.
At the Watches & Wonders website, each brand will have its own dedicated page, where viewers can check out each brand’s latest launches. Execs from the brands will also present their novelties via 10-minute streaming videos, which will thereafter be available on the site. We are also looking forward to checking out the “broad range of expert and educational content” that the organisers have promised. From our previous experiences at SIHH in Geneva, the form that such content has taken has greatly evolved over the years: Aside from a magazine specially produced for the event that chronicles the latest trends, the fair has in recent years introduced innovation-driven showcases in dedicated booths, and livestreamed discussions among movers and shakers, including brand execs as well as players from other industries, such as lifestyle influencers and e-commerce heads. We can’t wait to see how all this translates to an online-only experience, and most of all, we can’t wait to be overwhelmed — in the best way possible — by a flood of fresh timepieces.
PS. Check back as we share our favourite new releases here, and make sense of it all in an upcoming issue of The Peak.