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Editorial - Post Tenebras Luxe

Editorial Post Tenebras Luxe

Geneva offers a glimmer of light in the global blackout of watch industry salons.

I should probably start by saying to those unfamiliar with the official motto of Geneva, which is in Latin — Post Tenebras Lux means “light after darkness” and is a reference to the City of Calvin, which played a key role in the Protestant Reformation by offering refuge to immigrants fleeing religious persecution. Modern Geneva expands on this historic status with a high level of diplomatic openness, hosting the United Nations regional headquarters (since 1946) and various embassies, consulates and foreign missions.

The coronavirus pandemic caused business operations all over the world to grind to a halt in a matter of months, even weeks. But although things came to a stop, they didn’t go away. Brands that had planned their new releases for months were obliged to think of creative solutions to bring their watches to locked-down markets, while respecting the fact that audiences who would normally have been enraptured with novel watches were now held hostage by a novel virus.

One after another, international and regional trade exhibitions were called off. Watch companies were caught in an impossible situation from which there seemed no escape. Then one weekend, a few key industry leaders got on the phone with one another. Jean-Christophe Babin of Bulgari. Patrick Pruniaux of Girard-Perregaux and Ulysse Nardin. Georges Kern of Breitling. Maximilian Büsser of MB&F. Edouard Meylan of H. Moser & Cie. Felix Baumgartner of Urwerk. Pierre Jacques of De Bethune. And our own Brice Lechevalier.

From this telephonic exchange arose a new initiative: Geneva Watch Days (GWD). In his article, published two weeks ago, Brice recounts the initial work to get the project off the ground. If you haven’t read it already, you really should — it’s the only first-hand account of what happened behind the scenes when the disparate group of individuals that is now the GWD steering committee brought this new concept to the table.

For four days at the end of August, a decentralised series of meetings and presentations will be held around the city of Geneva, designed to give the watch business a means to move forwards with their stalled commercial activities whilst keeping strictly to the recommended contagion-limiting guidelines.

What is luxury? For many, a fine timepiece is a luxury. For others, luxury is the opportunity to interact with others without fear of being exposed to a virus. Geneva Watch Days will likely be the only Swiss event this year to give us the privilege of enjoying both forms of luxury, shining a light on the work that has been cast into the shadow by the pandemic. After darkness, light is the greatest luxury.



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