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WorldTempus Newsletter
Editorial - Our review of 2018 and preview of 2019

Editorial Our review of 2018 and preview of 2019

We look back on a tumultuous year for the industry, find out what our readers were most interested in and see what’s in store for 2019.

In 2018 Baselworld became the Brexit of the watch industry. Brands had to choose whether they wanted to be in or out. A number of brands decided to take back control of their own marketing and exhibition budgets by leaving the show, resulting in an exodus that left cavernous spaces in the exhibition halls. It seemed that the situation on the ground floor would not be too bad, until the industry learned on a quiet Sunday morning over the summer that the entire Swatch Group would be leaving the show. Given that most of the Swatch Group’s brands had left their stands in place, this led to some hectic toing and froing between the watchmaking valleys and Basel to recover furniture and fittings. 

The virus even spread to the usually strong and stable SIHH later in the year. Contemporaneous announcements by Audemars Piguet and Richard Mille that the 2019 edition would be the last time they attended Switzerland’s other major watch exhibition sent further shockwaves through the industry. It also left journalists wondering how and when they might get to see the latest creations from both brands in 2020. Maybe in Audemars Piguet’s case it will be at the Montreux Jazz Festival

I even had trouble keeping up with events as I wrote this editorial. After I was proofreading my first draft, Baselworld and the SIHH announced that the shows would run consecutively in April 2020. Before I had time to correct it the next morning, rumours were more or less confirmed that the Swatch Group was inviting the world’s retailers to Zurich just before Baselworld 2019. 

But beyond this introspective news, what were the other significant events in the industry and what were our readers interested in over the past 365 days?

It was a World Cup year, which naturally meant huge exposure for Hublot. It’s not surprising, therefore, that our article on Hublot’s presence in Russia was one of the most read of the year. The man who built up the Hublot brand was also in the spotlight a few months later, as Jean-Claude Biver announced that he was stepping down as CEO of TAG Heuer and the Chairman of the LVMH group’s watchmaking division. His achievements were rightly celebrated with the Jury’s Special Prize and a standing ovation at the GPHG but his reduced activity will be a loss to the industry.

As for you, dear reader, it would appear that your interests differ considerably depending on which language you are reading our content in. Those consulting our site in French were particularly interested in the new Frédérique Constant Hybrid Manufacture Smartwatch presented in February and the new Baumatic presented by Baume & Mercier. While this shows a clear preference for two of the year’s major new launches in the accessible luxury category, French-speaking readers were also keen to read about the alternatives to ETA movements that are currently available.

Our English-speaking readers, on the other hand, seemed most interested in the changes at the SIHH, skeletonized watches and the “challenges” of selling Patek Philippe watches.

What can you expect in 2019? First of all, WorldTempus finally comes of age! We celebrate our 18th birthday during the SIHH week in good company, since the Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon Ref. 5002 was also born in the same year and was one of the first watches we ever covered on WorldTempus back in 2001. Two other collections will reach their horological majority this year – Eberhard & Co.’s Chrono 4 and Ulysse Nardin’s Freak – and other collections celebrate significant milestones: the Cartier Tank (100), the IWC Portugieser (80), the Omega De Ville and the IWC Da Vinci (70) and the Seiko Astron and TAG Heuer Monaco (50). It will also be 25 years since A. Lange & Söhne was resurrected and 125 years since the birth of the OMEGA calibre that gave the brand its current name. 

Given the appetite for brands to look to their historical collections and vintage icons for inspiration, this already gives you a good idea of some of the 2019 watch collections you can expect to find on WorldTempus from next week. 

Thanks for your continued support and Happy New Year!

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