Recent years have seen watch fairs undergo major transformations aimed at engaging new audiences, incorporating the power of digital, and giving a fresh dynamic to these important trade gatherings. Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie has been no exception, having introduced several major changes as of 2016, the year the Salon opened to new brands and independents. The following year, members of the public were admitted into the hallowed halls of haute horlogerie. A year later brought a newly connected, outward-looking fair with live streaming and social media. Just a few months ago, SIHH confirmed its digital transformation to become a platform for communication; a place for high-tech services and a hotbed of innovation.
Watches & Wonders becomes the focal point for the exceptional talent, creativity and infinite innovation of the world's leading watch and jewellery maisons.
Why stop there? The 30th edition, April 25th to 29th, 2020, will introduce a new and global concept under a new name and a new brand: Watches & Wonders Geneva. “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 jewellery maisons,” says Fabienne Lupo, Chairwoman and Managing Director of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH), which organises the event. It’s a view shared by Cyrille Vigneron, CEO of Cartier International: “With its new name and format, Watches & Wonders Geneva strengthens its international and interprofessional vocation. This is essential for Cartier watchmaking with respect to its partners and its end customers.”
In the City
Watches & Wonders is, notes the FHH, “a global concept that celebrates fine watchmaking worldwide, with Geneva as its first destination.” In fact, Geneva has a full part to play as the City and the Canton are both associated with the event. While the actual fair or Salon is again taking place inside Palexpo, next to the airport, the action now continues in the city centre. Aimed at all types of public, with emphasis on young people, In the City programming – exhibitions, walking tours, visits to manufactures, boutique presentations, initiations to watchmaking, museum open houses, conferences, conversations with industry players and more – goes behind the scenes and showcases the industry’s unrivalled expertise. “In the City is a fabulous opportunity to connect the magic and excitement of a temporary event with the powerful, permanent presence of the brands in the world capital of watchmaking, Geneva. As is the case with Ulysse Nardin and its new lake-front boutique,” observes Patrick Pruniaux, CEO of Girard-Perregaux and Ulysse Nardin, adding that “the prestige of Geneva is further enhanced by the constant innovation of the industry.”
The Salon will host some thirty of the world’s most prestigious watch and jewellery maisons, in an even more interactive and connected setting. As well as being the place where exhibitors unveil their newest collections, Watches & Wonders Geneva is reprising (on an even bigger scale) its Lab, to present the latest innovative technologies from the exhibiting maisons and start-ups with connections to the industry. As for the Live, the FHH says it will offer attendees “world-first access to international product launches and exclusive announcements. Keynotes by influential speakers will complete the programme.” In fine, “SIHH’s transformation into Watches & Wonders cements a crucial rapprochement with end customers and watch connoisseurs,” in the words of Maximilian Büsser, CEO of MB&F who is openly proud to be part of a project that “begins in Geneva and will extend around the world.”