Last year’s shock announcement by industry giant Swatch Group that it would depart Baselworld permanently set up off chain of events: a botched response that led to the resignation of the chief executive of the fair’s organiser MCH Group, and then a full-year loss for MCH. Some prominent brands like Breitling also decided to leave Baselworld, though the giants, like LVMH and Rolex, have opted to stay.
Since then Baselworld’s new management has announced a flurry of new initiatives and programmes, starting with Baselworld announcing it would unite with SIHH after a decade’s separation. It’s also revealed an unimpressive hotel deal and more recently, a concierge service for visitors.
All of that seems to have compelled the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH), the organiser of SIHH – a watch fair in healthy condition compared to Baselworld – to do something as well. And so they have, with the goal of making the event more consumer centric.
From 2020 onwards, the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) will be known as Watches & Wonders Geneva, adopting the name of an event that first started in Hong Kong before migrating to Miami in the wake of the slowdown in the Chinese territory.
Despite the name change, the format of the event appears pretty much the same. The Salon with its 30 exhibiting brands will take place as it always has, at the Palexpo conventional hall beside Geneva airport, located about 30 minutes from the city centre.
And just as it did earlier this year, the Salon will also include the Lab, an exhibition dedicated to watchmaking technology and innovation, as well as the Live, an area for panels and talks.
But the goal is to make the fair more accessible to consumers, whereas in the past it was primarily a trade show for watch retailers and press, which is where the next part comes in.
The major new addition is In The City, a series of events outside Palexpo and instead within the city itself. According to the FHH, In the City encompasses city tours, exhibitions, museum and factory visits, and events in boutiques. Given the sales-focused stance of many of the participating brands, factory visits and boutique events will probably feature most strongly.
Watches & Wonders Geneva takes place from April 25-29, 2020 in Geneva. For more, visit Watchesandwonders.com.
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