Until now, the SIHH, the watch fair held in January, was known to be a very luxurious exhibition that almost exclusively focuses on the Richemont Group brands. The FHH (Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie), host of the SIHH, just decided to change the format, first by bringing a new architectural concept, but mainly by adding to the list of the exhibiting maisons 9 independent watchmakers – and not the worst ones to be honest.
Until now, the SIHH or Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, was hosted the Geneva-based watch fair for 16 brands. 12 of them are owned by the Richemont Group – A. Lange & Sohne, Baume & Mercier, Cartier, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Montblanc, Panerai, Piaget, Roger Dubuis, Van Cleef & Arpels and Vacheron Constantin (plus Ralph Lauren watches that is operated by Richemont). In addition to them, 4 other very high-end manufactures were present: Audemars Piguet, Greubel Forsey (Richemont owns shares), Parmigiani Fleurier, and Richard Mille.
The Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie decided to welcome several new- brand for the 26th edition of the SIHH that will start on the 18th January 2016. They focused on highly creative and high-end watches, and these nine new brands will be exhibiting in a sort of “salon in the salon”. Using the 1.500sqm that was previously dedicated to Ralph Laurent (who will now focus only on the US market), this new space will celebrate the new and modern horology. The “Carré des Horlogers” will host 9 of our favorites indies: Christophe Claret, De Bethune, H. Moser & Cie, Hautlence, HYT, Kari Voutilainen, Laurent Ferrier, MB&F and Urwerk.
A funny fact is that most of these new comers were already exposing on the sidelines of the SIHH, during what the industry calls the Geneva Wonder Week, where independent watchmakers are presenting their novelties in the city-center of Geneva. With the free space that is available now Ralph Lauren decided to leave the SIHH, these nine new brands will now officially be part of the SIHH. Fabienne Lupo, CEO of Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, explains the decision in Bilan.ch (in French):
“We thought about it for several years. The SIHH had already opened its doors to independent watchmakers, in 1998, when the show was still in Hall 07 of Palexpo. For example, Roger Dubuis had started like this. The idea to highlight such watchmaking talents is not new. However, for technical reasons and the existence of parallel exhibitions, which were organized on the sidelines of the SIHH in Geneva, this initiative had never materialized as it will be in 2016. Ralph Lauren’s departure was the trigger. A free space we have therefore utilized to create this new Carré des Horlogers.”
The announcement of a SIHH with now 24 brands – with such a highly qualitative selection – will definitely create a magnificent event, from which we’ll of course report live.