Business News: Watches & Wonders 2021 Will Happen Online – And in Shanghai

A "phygital" experience.

Originally slated to be the ultimate watch fair that would also include the major brands that departed Baselworld, Watches & Wonders (W&W) did not take place in 2020 due to the pandemic and instead became a virtual show online, before being transported to China as an actual, physical fair. The event is returning in 2021 in exactly the same format, but with a far larger number of brands taking part.

W&W will happen online from April 7-13, where 38 brands will introduce their latest watches. The participants include nearly all of watchmaking’s major brands and conglomerates. All of Richemont’s brands will be present, including A. Lange & Söhne, Cartier, and Vacheron Constantin, as will the brands owned by LVMH – TAG Heuer, Hublot, and Zenith. The list of exhibitors also includes a handful of independent brands, but few are significant, save for Greubel Forsey.

Most crucially, the twin giants of Geneva watchmaking will be taking part, giving the event far greater influence and a wider audience – Rolex and its sister brand Tudor, as well as Patek Philippe.

Much like the traditional watch fair in Geneva, the online version of W&W will be open to retailers, journalists, and select clients of the participating brands.

W&W Shanghai in 2020. Photo – Watches & Wonders

And a few days later…

With strong demand for luxury watches in China – where social and economic life is largely back to normal – W&W will then take place as a physical fair in Shanghai once again, but this time just a few days after the online event. W&W Shanghai will feature 15 brands – mainly those owned by Richemont as well as Rolex and Tudor – and allow visitors the opportunity to see the newly-announced watches in the metal.

The Shanghai fair is tangible proof of the importance of consumers in mainland China, which moderated the fall in Swiss watch exports in 2020 as most markets around the world shut down.

As with the virtual fair, the Shanghai event will be open to members of the trade as well as clients, who will most likely be able to buy watches during the event, as was the case during W&W 2020.

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