“After childhood and adolescence comes maturity as the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie prepares to celebrate its twentieth year, at its next edition from January 18th to 22nd 2010,” declared Fabienne Lupo, managing director of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie which organises the event. “Much has been achieved over the course of these two decades. The SIHH arose from a strategic decision, in 1991, to showcase technical and precious watch brands. In these early days, the SIHH was host to five brands exhibiting in 4,500 square metres. Over the years, and as major groups have formed in the watch sector, the event has continued to grow both in size and number of exhibitors.”
An all-important selection
The SIHH has indeed expanded year after year, and now extends across 30,000 square metres of exhibition space. The forthcoming twentieth edition will include additional floorspace to accommodate the arrival of two new brands. After Ralph Lauren Watch and Jewelry Co last year, a joint enterprise between the Richemont Group and Polo Ralph Lauren, Greubel Forsey and Richard Mille are joining the circle of exhibitors, bringing their number to 19*. “We’ve been waiting for this moment for years,” said Stephen Forsey. “At Basel we were a bit lost whereas the SIHH corresponds exactly to our mindset.”
“The two companies joining the SIHH this year are perfectly in phase with the vision shared by the exhibitors who, let it be noted, take all the strategic decisions for the event,” Fabienne Lupo continued. “We hope this will send out a signal for others to join while preserving the spirit of a selective, invitation-only fair.” The SIHH, which welcomes more than 10,000 trade visitors and a thousand specialist journalists, has no intention of breaking the mould that has underpinned its success, and established Geneva as a centre of excellence in Fine Watchmaking. The years have established the fair as a foremost date in the watchmaking calendar, even as similar events have sprung up around it.
January has again been chosen for this anniversary edition, a date that seems to satisfy all those concerned. “Compared with the fair’s previous scheduling in Spring, these new dates coincide better with the natural pace at which companies present their products,” commented Stéphane Belmont, Marketing Director for Jaeger-LeCoultre. “Now we can deliver all our new models within the year, and in some instances even before summer. This isn’t to be sniffed at. Aficionados of fine watches are no longer willing to wait for the model that’s caught their eye. If we want to dissuade customers from switching between brands, particularly given the huge creativity we’ve seen in the segment over recent years, it’s important that we deliver fast.”
Masterpieces from the Sandoz Collection
Of course, an anniversary such as this demands a suitably noteworthy event, hence this twentieth SIHH will be host to masterpieces from the Sandoz Collection. The collection, which has been restored by the Parmigiani Fleurier workshops, is replete with treasures in both automata and timepieces. It recently made its first public appearance in more than thirty years, when it was presented at the Musée d’Horlogerie in Le Locle for its 50th anniversary. Watchmaking’s brands are looking forward to greater stability in 2010 and the presence of these unique collector’s items bodes well for the year to come.
*Exhibitors at the SIHH 2010
A.Lange & Söhne
Baume & Mercier
Ralph Lauren Watch & Jewelery Co
Van Cleef & Arpels