Watch exhibitions Vegas shows close with mixed results
It was an interesting five days in Las Vegas, this past weekend as Sin City played host to nearly half a dozen different jewelry and watch shows – some open to the public and others not.
The insiders’ shows – designed for the trade only – are JCK and Couture, while those open to the public included a gem fair, an antique fair and – for the first time ever- the Luxury Suisse and World Watch Market exhibition. Each had its own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to timepieces.
The JCK Show, along with Luxury, is easily the largest US trade show – and this year, while traffic was down, so too were watch exhibitors, as many that previously displayed at Mandalay Bay hotel moved to the new CoutureTime show that is part of Couture at Wynn. Make no mistake, many watch brands did exhibit at JCK, and fared fine – showcasing new products and even holding exciting events.
Meanwhile, exhibitors at the new CoutureTime show took over the entire ballroom space at the Encore Hotel (attached to the Wynn) with large, lavish ballrooms -- overlooking the pool and grounds -- that emulate the spirit of each brand. Baume & Mercier, for instance, not only decorated the ballroom with its open-worked artistic showcases, but also used its outside space to showcase the newest Shelby Cobra car. The car, along with driving paraphernalia and the new Capeland Cobra® watches were a real draw for the crowds.
While traffic may have been a little slower this year at Couture, and by extension, CoutureTime, attitudes were up. Even Steve Wynn made some light-hearted remarks during his opening speech about Couture time taking over the Encore.
“Couture was the first show to take over the entire exhibitions space of the Wynn, and now CoutureTime is the first to use the entire space of Encore,” said Steve Wynn, noting that while the opulence of the hotels is luxury worthy, it is the people who make the experience. He likened this to the world of watches, as well.
All of the brands exhibiting at CoutureTime took advantage of the large spaces to showcase pieces that retailers who had not traveled to Baselworld have yet to see. Corum, Eterna and Tutima all showed in one ballroom – with exciting new pieces from each. A few other brands also shared ballrooms, while others took over the entire room. Montblanc, for instance, used the space to display its entire line of leather goods, writing instruments and timepieces.
Bovet 1822 used the space to bring in its newest artistic pieces hand painted by llgiz F. – and brought over from the exhibit currently going on at the Kremlin. Though only a piece or two could be removed from the Kremlin exhibit, the brand enhanced its presence by showing off some of its newest high-tech pieces, including the Shooting Star and the newest models co-designed with Pininfarina.
Over at the Luxury Suisse and World Watch Market -- held in the Penthouse of the Trump Hotel – attitudes were fresh and lively. This is the first Las Vegas watch exhibition open to the public, and more than two dozen independent watch brands that are often hard to see in the United States showed their timepieces.
The atmosphere was one of excitement, with actor Aldis Hodge (most recently of Underground) showing up, along with local television stations and a strong showing of interested consumers. Young start-up brands showed off for the first time, while other more tried-and-true independents gave it a whirl to see what consumer traffic they could get. There was even an exciting cocktail party with acrobatic performers and other nuances. For instance, a body artist painted the nude body of a woman against a Christophe Claret watch backdrop – blending her in as part of the canvas.
In all, while the shows may have seen less traffic, retailers were still placing orders and buying cautiously. So, too, it seems were consumers who snapped up just a few watches and writing instruments at the Luxury Suisse and World Watch Market exhibition.
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