SIHH and Baselworld, the world’s two most luxurious watch exhibitions, both take place in Switzerland. And it’s no wonder. Switzerland produces 95% of all watches sold worldwide at prices over CHF 1,000, with brands from Swatch Group, Richemont and Rolex accounting for 45.8% of the global watch market.
Switzerland’s strength in historically producing solid brands comes from its diversity and capacity to innovate. Quality, precision, reliability, durability and innovation are cherished by numerous Swiss firms, even beyond watchmakers.
Bloomberg Business recently announced three main trends for the watch industry; crazy complications, hi-tech and lower prices. We fully agree.
Montblanc has received a bit of attention over the last few years by offering more affordable options of usually expensive complications. Other brands are following suit. IWC is revamping its flagship line of pilot‘s watches, including a new entry-level pilot watch aimed for under USD 4,000. Panerai and Jaeger-LeCoultre are expected to also launch lower-priced versions to get new customers on board.
Smartwatches and wearable technology accessories are also a 2016 reality. Tag Heuer has released its Android Wear smartwatch, with Breitling going hi-tech too through its connected watch, Exospace B55, a sort of hybrid traditional watch and gadget.
Watch market experts are predicting more launches of watches with a battery and a Bluetooth connection from the luxury manufacturers. On the “to-watch“ list are IWC Connect (a small strap-worn device), version 2 of the Montblanc e-Strap, and possibly Baume & Mercier or Cartier.
This year’s SIHH, hosted by luxury conglomerate Richemont included 25 exhibitors – the usual “biggies” plus some minority stakes brands and independents. Nine small independent watchmakers – Hautlence, MB&F, Kari Voutilainen, Laurent Ferrier, H. Moser & Cie, HYT, Urwerk, Christophe Claret, De Bethune – are worthy of attention with new complications, hand-finished movements, and funky designs. Montblanc, IWC, Roger Dubuis, Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, A. Lange & Sohne, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Baume & Mercier, Piaget, Panerai, Vacheron Constantin, Parmigiani Fleurier, and Greubel-Forsey were also in full force.
Take a look at: Cartier Crash Skeleton, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak in yellow gold, and MB&F Legacy Machine Perpetual with its revolutionary timing system. March’s BaselWorld Exhibition, the world’s largest fine watch and jewellery exhibition, was where we saw our favourite and one of the show’s starlets – the Samsung Gear S2 by de Grisogono.
The latest fashion mega-collaboration launched a limited edition jewellery watch designed and sculpted in gold and precious jewels using Samsung’s Gear S2 technology. It will be available for purchase starting this summer through both Samsung and de Grisogono’s retail channels. The brands reported, “The watch shows off Samsung’s best and most intuitive technology and de Grisogono’s glamorous design and craftsmanship expertise.
The smartwatch is transformed into smart fashion with rose gold, over 100 black and white diamonds and a bracelet studded with de Grisogono’s signature galuchat.
The diamond-set gold bezel turns freely around the dial, allowing consumers to access the Gear S2’s library of applications and features, including notifications, activity logs.”