After the excitement of BaselWorld, it is possible to be seduced into thinking that nobody of importance in the world of watches works outside of Switzerland.
The Jura arc is undeniably the centre of the watchmaking universe, but its exports to other European nations totalled almost CHF1 billion (£687.6m) in the first quarter of 2013. The UK alone imported Swiss watches worth CHF183 million (£125.8m) in Q1, a massive 29% up on the same quarter in 2012 and the fastest growth of any country in the world.
The community of watch professionals in this country is clearly doing a lot right, and it is in recognition of this success that WatchPro has created the Hot 100 – a list of industry professionals that have delivered impressive results this year.
But the WatchPro Hot 100 is more than a mere list of outstanding individuals, it has been created as a celebration for the entire UK industry – the thousands of dedicated professionals who import, manufacture, promote, distribute, retail or support watch sales worth more than £1.2 billion per year.
“The WatchPro Hot 100 is about the outstanding people that keep this fabulous industry thriving every day of the week, for 52 weeks of the year,” explains Kate Doherty, editor of WatchPro. “It is about the retailer that has seen sales surge following an innovative shop revamp, the wholesaler that has reconfigured its portfolio to fit perfectly with market trends, the genius of a buyer at a major multiple who keeps on picking winners, or the UK brand manager who has taken an international brand and turned it into a British star.”
The 100 people who make up this year’s roll of honour have been chosen by the editorial team of WatchPro, and come from all sectors of the British industry. There is no number one, and no number 100, instead these innovative people are divided into six categories: Retail Titons, Power Players, Brand Champions, Outstanding Entrepreneurs, Courageous Innovators and Ones to Watch, a section dedicated to emerging talent in the UK watch industry.
The line up of the 2013 WatchPro Hot 100 is a closely guarded secret, which will be revealed on July 2 at a spectacular party for 500 industry VIPs in London. The party will take place at Altitude 360, which occupies the whole of the top floor at Millbank Tower on the banks of the River Thames in Westminster.
“It is an incredible space, with 360 degree views across London’s skyline,” says Daniel Malins, commercial manager for WatchPro and event director for the London Watch Show. “We could not have chosen a more spectacular backdrop for the reveal of this year’s Hot 100.”
Invitations to the Hot 100 are set to be the most sought after tickets in town, but are strictly limited to the Hot 100 themselves, guests of WatchPro and of its partners.
While guests to the party will discover who is in the Hot 100 on the night of July 2, the rest of WatchPro’s readership won’t have to wait long to learn who has made it into the coveted list. All subscribers will receive a copy of the glossy Hot 100 yearbook, which will be launched at the party and distributed with the August issue of the monthly magazine. The names of the Hot 100 will also be published online at WatchPro.com, along with hundreds of photographs from the Altitude 360 party.
“We have been hosting an almost identical party for the jewellery industry for three years, and it is by far the most anticipated event of the year,” says Rachael Taylor, editor-in-chief for WatchPro and Professional Jeweller. “We feel sure the watch community will love the Hot 100 just as much, and cannot wait to welcome everybody on July 2.”
The WatchPro Hot 100 party will take place at a venue that sits atop Millbank Tower, the tallest building on the Thames, located just a stones-throw from the Palace of Westminster.
Prime Minister David Cameron calls it a “wonderful space”, though he could well be biased since Altitude 360 occupies the top floor of the same skyscraper that houses the Conservative party’s headquarters.
About 500 partygoers invited by WatchPro and its partners will watch the sun go down across London, and enjoy commanding views across the city’s skyline including Battersea Power Station to the west, and the London Eye, Houses of Parliament and the Shard to the east.
A WORD FROM OUR PARTNERS
The Company of Master Jewellers
“The CMJ recognised many years ago that there was a lack of cohesion between independent jewellers and the watch brands in the UK. One of our core principles is to bring the two parts of the supply chain closer together and we believe that WatchPro magazine and the WatchPro Hot 100 does that, along with celebrating the leaders in the industry here in the UK.”
Willie Hamilton, chief executive, Company of Master Jewellers
“Supporting the industry and saying thank you for the wonderful support they have given us is very important, and whatever can be done to pull the industry together to promote the British watch industry will benefit us all. Bringing everyone together does not often happen in such a focused way. It benefits us all, both in terms of sharing ideas and in generating business.”
Giles English, co-founder, Bremont
“With the WatchPro Hot 100 and the London Watch Show taking place in central London over two days in July, I am sure that the whole industry will be in London in early July. I, personally, and Bering as a company are very excited to be involved in both sponsoring the Hot 100 and participating in the London Watch Show. With these events taking place at the same time, full focus will be on watches and it will deservedly take watches out of its sidekick-to-jewellery role.”
Henrik Leth Møller, UK director, Bering
London Watch Show
“The WatchPro Hot 100 is a perfect complement to the London Watch Show. It will bring together the cream of the British watch industry, which is exactly the same group of business leaders that will be attending the exhibition on July 2 and 3. The Hot 100 is like an extension of the London Watch Show. Watch brands can do the hard graft of presenting their latest collections to retailers and journalists during the day, and then sealing deals over a couple of drinks in the evening. The combination of the London Watch Show and the WatchPro Hot 100 really is a game-changer for the UK watch industry.”
Daniel Malins, event director, London Watch Show