How will SIHH satisfy the new expectations of the profession and admirers of the finest timepieces? What are the trends that will define the twelve months to come? In a few days’ time, the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie will open for a highly anticipated 29th edition. Faster-paced, more connected and more open, SIHH rewrites the rules of traditional watch fairs to stand out as a platform for communication and content, serving the exhibiting brands and the international watch community. It’s a transformation that hasn’t gone unnoticed, and which continues to gain in strength with a 2019 edition that’s focused on innovation and networking. For visitors, SIHH 2019 is a chance to experience Fine Watchmaking as never before. An experience to share.
The LAB, an incubator for tomorrow's watchmaking
One of this year’s most exciting new features, the LAB puts living, breathing innovation at the heart of SIHH. Strategically positioned at the centre of the fair, this interactive open space hosts the very latest technologies developed by exhibitors, some in collaboration with EPFL institute of technology, and takes new audiences behind the scenes of revolutions in the making. Virtual reality, artificial intelligence, digital archives, gesture recognition, connected functions, materials strength, customisation, augmented craftsmanship… through some twenty real-life projects exploring four themes – Virtual is Real, Complex is Seamless, Everything is Unique, Values are Valuable – the LAB takes the lid off the technologies that will rise to the challenges tomorrow’s watch industry will face.
The LAB isn’t just about technology; it’s about people, too. It’s a place for discussion and discovery, for sharing views and making new contacts. And it’s proof of the extraordinary creativity of a forward-looking industry. Throughout the week, a team of thirty digital communication students from CREA Genève will be on-hand to guide visitors and lead workshops on social media and digital content creation. They will be joined by one of technology’s most famous faces, Pepper the robot, who will be stationed at the entrance, ready to welcome visitors and show them around.
The LIVE, a platform for communication beyond SIHH
This year’s SIHH steps up the pace of the LIVE concept that debuted in 2018. Designed with all the amenities of a TV studio, the Auditorium becomes a tribune for SIHH and the exhibiting brands, with product launches, presentations by brand ambassadors, strategic considerations, debates on topical issues, influencer-led panel discussions, and more.
The four-day programme will take in some thirty keynotes, panels and interviews targeting a wide audience, from those attending the fair to fans of Fine Watchmaking who can “tune in” from around the world. All content will be live streamed to SIHH channels and on exhibitors’ social media, where they can make a date with their community of followers and exchange with them live from SIHH.
Brand chief executives, pilots, astronauts, actors and artists are among the personalities scheduled to appear at SIHH LIVE. Every day from 1.15pm to 2pm, a special session will focus on the role of online platforms. Speakers include Terry von Bibra, General Manager Europe for Alibaba, and Toby Bateman, Managing Director at MR PORTER (Monday January 14), Chinese influencer and KOL Peter Xu, who has more than 7.5 million followers on Weibo (Tuesday January 15), and Asher Rapkin, Global Head of Business Marketing, Messaging and Emerging Platforms at Facebook (Wednesday January 16).
The full programme is available on www.sihh.org.
SIHH, an immersive experience to share
This year’s fair introduces a fresh format, starting with the 35 exhibitors, namely 18 historic Maisons, joined for the first time by Bovet, and 17 independents inside Carré des Horlogers. SIHH 2019 is also switching to a more compact, faster-paced schedule spread over four days with extended opening times. Again this year, the fair opens its doors to the public on Thursday afternoon, from 3pm to 10pm, so that collectors and other enthusiasts can view the watches on show at their ease. Online registration is still possible at www.sihh.org. Tickets are priced CHF 70.
Students from Geneva University of Art and Design (HEAD) will facilitate interactions with the Carré des Horlogers brands.
The updated SIHH app (available for Android and iOS) returns with many new features. In a few clicks, this intuitive app displays an interactive floor plan, breaking news, broadcasts from SIHH LIVE, fast access to exhibitors’ social media, and everything visitors need to know to get the most out of SIHH. For journalists, the new “My SIHH” feature compiles essential and personalised information on hotels, transport, restaurants, a press conference schedule and notifications – all designed to facilitate their time at SIHH and give easy access to brands’ latest news.
The first major date in the year, a bellwether for trends as well as a platform for communication and content, for 29 years SIHH has been a foremost industry gathering. Transformed, reinvented and revitalised, it remains the first stop for Fine Watchmaking; a place where people who share the same passion can meet and discuss watches in their own way, and with the rest of the world. Rendezvous Monday January 14 for a 29th Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie that promises to be better than ever!