The world’s foremost watch industry show celebrates its centenary in familiar fashion, with a cavalcade of collectors, retailers, international media and opinion influencers coming together for a fevered week of watch and jewellery festivity, reports Nick Rice for VOYAGE.
Baselworld is the global watch and jewellery industry’s spectacular annual event. Indispensable for the most prestigious brands to present their products to the crème de la crème of the entire industry and to gauge the feel of the market and the pulse of the moment for consumers worldwide.
The 100th anniversary was brash, bold and as exciting as always, but there are some signs of strain. It’s no secret that the watch industry is undergoing some tough times. An unstable economy, the emergence of smart watches and the effects of globalization and internet sales on regional distribution and traditional brick-and-mortar watch retailers are having an impact. Attendance is down slightly, as it was in 2016, but all this is to be expected. All industries have ups and downs – the watch world is no exception.
The 100th show went about business as usual and it also managed to add some highlights. A new ‘Les Ateliers’ area was launched, dedicated to leading independent and specialist watchmakers. Baselworld’s Managing Director Sylvie Ritter says:
– With ‘Les Ateliers’ we provide a perfect platform for the art and craft of watchmaking. The timepieces displayed in this area, most of which are on-of-a-kind or small series, celebrate virtuosic mechanisms and have conquered a permanent place in the industry.
Another highlight was the new ‘Design Lab’, which provided a vital platform for both established and emerging watch and jewellery designers and dynamic brands. VOYAGE spent eight days traversing the many and varied vast halls of Baselworld to bring you the pick of the fair.
By: Nick Rice