Breaking News: Swatch Group to Leave Baselworld Fair in 2019

According to CEO Nick Hayek.

Switzerland’s biggest watch and jewellery fair will see its biggest exhibitor depart next year, according to NZZ am Sonntag, the weekend edition of Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung.

Swatch Group chief executive Nick Hayek told the paper Baselworld was no longer relevant or useful, given that the watch business has become “more transparent, faster-paced and more spontaneous”. Mr Hayek was pointed in his criticism of the fair, saying “We are not here to amortise the expensive buildings by Herzog & de Meuron”, a reference to the Basel exhibition complex designed by the noted Swiss architect, which opened in 2013.

With 18 brands in its stable, including heavyweights like Omega, Longines and Tissot, the Swatch Group has the largest exhibition budget amongst Baselworld exhibitors, totalling some SFr50m, which includes travel and accommodation. The loss of Swatch will be a blow to Baselworld, the most profitable division of organiser MCH Group, which also owns the Art Basel franchise. Already in 2018 the number go exhibitors at Baselworld halved to 650, with many citing the high costs and poor infrastructure of the event.

None of the other major exhibitors, which include the likes of Rolex, Chopard and LVMH, have indicate they plan to leave the fair.

Source: NZZ am Sonntag

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Event Report: Louis Vuitton High Watch Presentation in Bangkok

Watches, jewellery and master watchmaker Michel Navas.

Louis Vuitton makes almost every conceivable category of luxury product, and does all of it quite well, including watches. Though best known for its luggage, bags and streetwear-inspired clothing, the Parisian trunk maker put together an all-star team to develop its watches when it acquired complications specialist La Fabrique du Temps (LFDT) in 2012.

That was the point of the recent Louis Vuitton High Watch Event in Bangkok, which took place within The Siam, a surprisingly quiet and lush hotel inside the frenetic Thai capital, sitting just beside the Chao Phraya River. Michel Navas, one half of the duo who founded LFDT, was there to present Louis Vuitton complicated and bejewelled watches, with President of Louis Vuitton South Asia Christopher Kilaniotis as the host.

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The founders of LFDT, Mr Navas and Enrico Barbasini, have remarkably accomplished resumes in Swiss watchmaking. Both worked at Patek Philippe, as well as Gerald Genta and Franck Muller in the 1990s and early 2000s respectively, when both brands were at the peak of horological creativity. But amongst fans of haute horlogerie the pair will be immediately familiar as having played a big role in conceiving and constructed the first two movements of Laurent Ferrier, which is why the calibres were original named “FBN”, short for “Ferrier-Barbasini-Navas”.

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Michel Navas sporting the Escale Spin Time

That track record is evident in Louis Vuitton’s watches, which are complicated but often quirky and inventive. It signature complication is the Spin Time, in essence a three-dimensional jumping hour complication, made up of cubes that jump at the top of the hour to indicate the current time. Mr Navas hinted at an intriguing development of the Spin Time concept that’s currently in the works, one that takes the complication even further.

Louis Vuitton Tambour Spin Time GMT

Tambour Spin Time GMT

Louis Vuitton Escale-Spin-Time rainbow sapphires

Escale Spin Time set with rainbow-coloured sapphires and diamonds

And the other LFDT invention that’s now synonymous with Louis Vuitton’s watchmaking is the Escale Worldtime, a traveller’s watch with a hand-painted dial bearing two dozen flags and cities.

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LFDT has also built a series of unusual tourbillon movements for Louis Vuitton, including several artfully skeletonised calibres and also a central tourbillon combined with the Spin Time mechanism.

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The event also covered Louis Vuitton’s high jewellery watches, which naturally included bejewelled versions of the Spin Time.

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And one of Louis Vuitton’s skilled painters was on hand to demonstrate the custom acrylic paintings offered to buyers of trunks of any size, including the canvas-covered boxes for watches.

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For more, visit Louis Vuitton.


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