Having scheduled for Geneva in April and then cancelled, Watches & Wonders (W&W) then went online, and in a last minute decision, an actual fair in Shanghai’s West Bund Art Center. The surging demand for luxury watches in China as it emerges from the pandemic meant the inevitable success of W&W Shanghai – which our correspondent outlined earlier this week – which is why the fair is happening again in China, this time in the resort city of Sanya.
Opening barely a month after the close of the Shanghai event, W&W Sanya takes place from September 29 to October 31 in the massive CDF Mall – a full month inside the world’s largest duty-free shopping centre. Importantly, W&W Sanya is catered to the retail consumer instead of the traditional fair audience of watch retailers and journalists.
A city on the southernmost tip of Hainan island, which is known for its tropical weather and beaches, Sanya is the rapidly-growing capital of duty-free shopping in China. The Chinese government has announced plans to develop duty-free shopping on Hainan, which is already has already enjoyed a massive uptick. From the start of July to mid-August 2020, the CDF Mall recorded sales of over RMB5 billion, or over US$730 million, from over 740,000 customers.
Open to the public daily, W&W Sanya was conceived to cater to this demand. Eleven brands are taking part in the event in the CDF Mall, which, at 750,000 square feet or 72,000 square metres, is the world’s largest duty-free mall by some margin.
Nearly all the brands in W&W are owned by Richemont, including A. Lange & Söhne, IWC, and Cartier, except for Hermès. Three of the exhibiting brands, including Cartier and Hermès, already have stores inside the CDF Mall, while the others have individual booths.
But W&W Sanya is more than shopping on a large scale. The event includes horological activities like 90-minute movement assembly workshops led as well as watch talks by industry personalities and brand executives.
Additionally, most of the exhibiting brands also offer their own provide novel experiences, including IWC with its Cyberloupe, essentially a highly-magnified video exploration of a movement from a watchmaker’s point of view.
W&W Sanya takes place from September 29 to October 31, 2020, and is open daily from 10 am to 10 pm. For more, visit Watchesandwonders.com.
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