While talking heads, politicians and proles debate an end to the Coronageddon lockdown, Swiss luxury watch sales are suffering. Badly. You can almost hear the Grim Reaper’s blade swishing through the air as you contemplate the recently released export stats. Before we play Doctor Death, let’s read ’em and weep . . .
“A virtual fair is a plus as it allows brands to expand their reach beyond the usual visitors and readers,” H. Moser & Cie CEO Edouard Meylan says, welcoming this Saturday’s Watches & Wonders new product dump. “If we manage to bring the emotions and the experience that the visitors usually get when visiting the fairs, then we win. Reducing costs while engaging a broader audience is the key to future success of fairs. This is a good way to start.” He’s right! He’s wrong! Let me explain . . .
Earlier this week, Rolex, Chopard, Patek Philippe, Chanel and Tudor bailed on Baselworld, condemning the convention to the dustbin of history. In case anyone thought otherwise, TAG Heuer, Hublot and Zenith joined the exodus the next day. They’re all throwing in their lot with Watches & Wonders. Assuming a vaccine by spring 2021, same as it ever was? . . .
Watches & Wonders – the Swiss watch get-together formerly known as Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) – has been cancelled. Without mentioning the coronavirus by name, the organizers made their decision “to protect the health and wellbeing of all our guests” (statement below). It’s only a matter of time – and not much of it – before Baselworld bows out. What does that mean for the Swiss watch industry? First, consider what would have happened at Watches & Wonders . . .