Rolex, Patek, Tudor and TAG plus 34 other brands to show at Watches and Wonders in AprilThor Svaboe
I will be perfectly honest, ever since starting to write about watches, my sincere wish has been to meet up with the Time+Tide team at Basel, SIHH or even some far-flung Far Eastern destination. But then, KER-CLUNK! It was as if a giant hand pulled down a large POWER OFF handle, the lights dimmed and it all went eerily quiet. COVID-19 signalled the temporary end of watch fairs. Yet thanks to the determination of Jean-Christophe Babin at Bulgari and various other horological powerhouses that pulled together Geneva Watch Days, things didn’t end as glumly as they might have. The GWD sent a signal to the world that we might be looking at a new future of watch fairs that are up close and personal (well, as close and personal as you can get with a mask on ). Now Watches and Wonders have announced their 2021 dates and it’s “phygital”!
Yes, Watches and Wonders, the extravagantly monikered version of SIHH, is now back according to the press release (phygital is a cross between physical and digital, apparently). Five main brands are on board for the 2021 Watches & Wonders Geneva digital show: Rolex, Tudor, Patek Philippe, Chopard, and Chanel. They will this year be joined by brands from the Richemont Group plus, in this week’s big news, Bulgari, Louis Vuitton, Hublot, TAG Heuer, and Zenith from LVMH, and the local force of Carl F. Bucherer. The Watches & Wonders Geneva digital experience will therefore have a strong line-up of 38 brands for April. So the Salon plans to open albeit in phygital form. But I want to fondle watches and meet CEOs to ask them unexpected questions that they then nimbly evade. So will that happen for any of us?
Well, it seems so if we travel to Shanghai. Through careful dissemination of the press release it seems the bulging portfolio of 38 brands in the Geneva Salon will be on an improved digital platform, where the visitors will also “become actors” with multiple ways of interacting with the brands. Everything from announcements to press calls, and a live Morning Show promises the best we can expect from a digital experience (VR helmets, anyone?).
But there will also be a physical fair with 15 brands in the West Bund Art Centre in Shanghai. All the brands that confirmed their presence at the physical salon, including Cartier, Chanel, Chopard, IWC Schaffhausen, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Hermès, Patek Philippe, Rolex, Tudor and Ulysse Nardin, will be joined by new arrivals including Bulgari, Carl F. Bucherer, Hublot, Louis Vuitton, TAG Heuer and Zenith. Will we be allowed to fly by then? I’m living with high hopes of travel opportunities for all of us. Phygital travel, that is.
For more information go www.watchesandwonders.com