Brian M. Afuang

The SIHH Is Now Called ‘Watches & Wonders’

Haute horlogerie show hopes changes will draw new audiences

AS THE Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) prepares to move from its traditional January exhibition dates so that Switzerland’s two major horologic events — the other being Baselworld — could be held back-to-back, it announced a change in format and name. For the SIHH’s 30th edition, the show will be called Watches & Wonders.

The new dates, format and name, say organizers, are meant to draw new audiences.

“Because it’s about more than watches, we chose a name that conveys a sense of wonder, excellence, openness and discovery; a different way to experience watchmaking. Watches & Wonders becomes the focal point for the exceptional talent, creativity and infinite innovation of the world’s leading watch and jewelry maisons,” explains Fabienne Lupo, chairperson and managing director of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, organizer of the SIHH.

Watches & Wonders
Watches & Wonders

Apparently, forming a part of Watches & Wonders will an activity called “In the City,” in which more people will be invited to events to be held in a number of venues throughout Geneva — the first time to happen for an horologic show. In the City is expected to engage all types of visitors; not just professionals, but also consumers, as well as young people. The series of events is pitched as the first opportunity for some visitors to discover and experience watchmaking in a different way.

Well, comprising the Geneva city center program are exhibitions, walking tours, watchmaking demos and visits to manufactures, along with boutique presentations, museum open houses, conferences and talks with industry execs.

However, the Salon, which will host some 30 of the most prestigious watch and jewelry maisons, will still be held at its traditional home of Palexpo. But organizers promise next year’s edition is shaping up to be “more outward-looking, more experiential, more interactive and more connected” while still providing extensive original content and experiences. The Salon, as always, is also where exhibitors will preview their newest collections to professionals, journalists, VIP guests and other enthusiasts.

Watches & Wonders

The Lab, which proved successful last year, is set to showcase even more of the latest technological innovations from the established maisons, as well as from promising start-ups.

The Live will offer world-first access to international product launches and exclusive announcements. Keynotes by influential speakers will complete the program.

The SIHH, since 1991, has set the standard for watch fairs, offering the world’s leading retailers, journalists and VIP guests from around the world access to the latest premium timepieces. But its time, apparently, has ticked half past tradition already. Watches & Wonders should breathe new life to this horologic spectacle.

Watches & Wonders is scheduled on April 25-29 in Geneva, and will be immediately followed by Baselworld in Basel, some 250 kilometers away, on April 30-May 5.