News Tuesday, June 12th 2012
For the tenth year in a row, the EPHJ trade fair brought close to 700 companies under one roof, this time in Geneva. Contractors to the watch and jewellery industries were joined by professionals in medical and micro technologies. The event confirmed that this is an exceptionally dynamic sector, grounded in cutting-edge expertise.
The 11th EPHJ Watch and Jewellery Professional Environment trade fair came to Geneva earlier this month
A robot that moves glass bottles at lightning speed with staggering precision and care; futuristic ceramics or silicon carbide that can be machined into cases, bezels, crowns, hands, pushers or dials; a high-tech winder; new titanium ball bearings; an innovative water-resistance test for crowns… the 11th EPHJ Watch and Jewellery Professional Environment trade fair came to Geneva earlier this month, where it was joined by the Swiss Medical Technologies and Professional Microtechnologies fairs. Some 650 exhibitors, including 150 from outside Switzerland, were able to demonstrate their contribution to the Swiss watch industry's success.
The organisers had high hopes for the fair, which they expected would attract 13,000 visitors: "This year's fair will outrank every previous edition, whether for the number of exhibitors, the programme of lectures, or as an open door to new markets. Never before has this sector, which is essential to our economic growth, enjoyed such an international showcase. We can be proud of the energy and innovation deployed by professionals to remain world leaders in services to the watchmaking industry and microtechnology." Federal councillor Johann Schneider Ammann seconded this view when he described the fair as "undoubtedly the finest showcase for a brand of Swiss expertise which has forged our country's reputation worldwide."
A wealth of technology
This was confirmed by the wealth of technology that filled the aisles, the work of companies who are often the unsung heroes of time measurement. From five- and even six-axis machine tools to movement manufacturers, specialists in precision turning, grinding or engine-turning, instrument manufacturers that open up the world of the infinitely small, and others who produce the innovative materials that will cloak tomorrow's watches, the diversity combined with characteristically Swiss state-of-the-art research was sufficiently great and of quality to inspire respect.
On the downside, two fairs now compete for the same audience since the launch this year of Lausannetec. A single event would make far more sense for the entire profession which has everything to gain from pooling its strengths. This is all the more true as contractors to the watch industry are already bracing themselves for a slowdown in business over the second half-year. ■