We often joke with our friends that Baselworld is a ‘reality distortion field’, and that you can lose all perspective here in a matter of minutes. At Baselworld, a $20,000 tourbillon is shockingly “affordable” and a typical sighting in your workplace might include Roger Federer, or Chris Hemsworth. In the eye of the storm, here on the ground for this week of the year, watches really matter. It is a fantasyland. But there are limits. And no-one has stated them, in any of my interviews to date, quite as succinctly or as sensitively, as the President of Omega, Stephen Urquhart, did yesterday.
Given the events of the last five or so hours, I think it deserves its own post, not least to demonstrate our view that competition for precision in watchmaking is important, but it pales in comparison to what Europe is going through today. Publishing this story as breaking news on a day like today is a little jarring for us. Our cameraman Michiel just said he has had “chicken skin”since this morning. The effect of violence on this level is felt by all. This post is also to prove that the leaders of the watch industry, the driving forces behind the competition at the top, still have perspective.
“[The Swiss watch industry is] not in a crisis. I hate that word because you know, we’re getting three meals a day, we have a roof on our head.” – Stephen Urquhart
On with the show now. But rest assured, we know, the industry knows, these are watches, after all. The last word, as before, goes to Salman Rushdie.
“The enemy for the fanatic is pleasure, which makes it extremely important to continue to indulge in pleasure. Dance madly. That is how you get rid of terrorism.” Salman Rushdie