SIHH has been moved from January to April in 2020 and renamed as Watches & Wonders Geneva. It takes place at the Geneva Palexpo from April 25 to 29 and is expecting 30 brands to participate.
It is the 30th anniversary of the exhibition, which was created when Richemont’s watch brands decided to leave Baselworld and set up their own show.
The Watches and Wonders name has already been used for spin-off shows in Miami, Florida and Hong Kong.
Fabienne Lupo, chairwoman and managing director of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, which organises the events, says that this year will see more than just a change of name and date. Her team is also revitalising the format and targeting a wider audience both at the exhibition and across 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,” she describes.
Richard Mille and Audemars Piguet will not exhibit at this year’s event because they believe the format does not fit with their business model of selling watches directly to consumers through their own stores.
However, the show’s biggest exhibitor, Cartier, welcomes the proposed changes.
“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,” says Cyrille Vigneron, CEO of Cartier International SA.
The city of Geneva will become part of the experience for visitors. A programme titled “In the City” will include exhibitions, walking tours, initiations to watchmaking and visits to manufactures, along with boutique presentations, museum open houses, conferences and conversations with industry players. It will be promoted to the public as inclusive and immersive event which enjoys the support of the City and the Canton of Geneva.
Moving to the end of April means that Watches & Wonders Geneva ends just as Baselworld, which runs April 30 to May 5, begins. If Swatch Group runs its 2020 launch events for retail partners in the same week as Baselworld, as it did earlier this year, all the major Swiss watchmaking groups will be exhibiting in the same 11 day period.