While it became quite common to hear brands leaving Baselworld and complaining about the show (Swatch Group a few weeks ago, Raymond Weil this morning), the Geneva-based, Richemont-controlled Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie – or SIHH – was still in safer waters… As of today, as it’s time for the SIHH to also face non-neglectable departures. Good point is that it isn’t for this year, as indicated by CEO François-Henry Bennahmias in Le Temps, Audemars Piguet will still be there at the SIHH 2019… But that will be its last appearance.
“The 2019 edition will be the last for us. Then the SIHH and Audemars Piguet will take different directions” said FHB to Le Temps. The main reason indicated by the CEO of AP is that trade shows aren’t in line anymore with expectations of brands, and that such fairs are only intended for professionals (press and retailers). “Today we want to focus 100% on the end customer,” said FHB. Also, instead of launching all novelties at the SIHH, Audemars Piguet wants to spread the new collections all over the year, to explain its withdrawal from the show. As one of the founding members of the FHH (Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie), AP will however remain active in this organisation.
At the same time, another independent company, Richard Mille, has announced to pull out of the show, also in 2020. Not surprising considering close links between both brands (AP has shares in RM). The main reason indicated by RM is that most of the sales are now done in mono-brand boutiques, while multi-brands retailers have less impact on sales. Thus, the need for the Richard Mille to expose at the SIHH “no longer corresponds to its strategy for exclusive and selective distribution“.