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Newsletter - From firm favourites to folly: it’s SIHH time!

Newsletter From firm favourites to folly: it’s SIHH time!

Is the industry taking itself too seriously, or not seriously enough? It’s showtime!

One of the most important weeks of the year for the Swiss watch industry starts today. Watch fans, customers, retailers and industry analysts will be looking to the halls of Geneva’s Palexpo exhibition centre for signs that there is no let-up in innovation and creativity in the industry. Initial indications suggest that this is indeed the case, although I doubt whether a one-off watch made of cheese costing a million-plus Swiss francs will single-handedly make the industry great again.

Lest we forget, the SIHH will be overshadowed by the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States of America later this week and the British Prime Ministers speech on Brexit on Tuesday. The possible knock-on effects of both events on upcoming elections across Europe this year, plus China’s five-yearly congress of the Communist Party’s Central Committee, will probably shape the immediate future of the Swiss watch industry more than anything we will see in Geneva this week. As Daniel Franklin, Editor of the Economist's annual collation of predictions, The World in 2017, succinctly summarises: “Don’t expect a year of restful stability”.

Nevertheless, just days before the SIHH opened, Vontobel last week released the welcome news that the Richemont Group, whose brands are the main focus at the SIHH this week, saw a surprise increase in its Christmas quarter sales (+6%). The group’s jewellery houses were the main driver behind this growth, but it is still growth – something only too welcome in the industry at the moment.

The reaction to the models that you can discover from today on our new-look website will determine whether this growth continues. We have a number of major launches in store for you throughout the week, some ready for publication but tightly under digital wraps to respect embargos imposed by the brands, others that we will discover for ourselves for the first time over the coming days.

If this newsletter seems more business-oriented than usual, it’s for good reason. Thanks to the possibilities offered by our new website, we can now offer a more tailored selection of news to our readers. Since we already know that there are many industrial professionals who read this newsletter, we will soon be launching a separate newsletter targeted specifically at industry professionals. You can already sign-up at pro@worldtempus.com.