The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the face of the world and how business is done. The watch industry is no stranger to the situation and, in 2020, sales have been greatly affected. Another consequence has been the cancellation of most physical watch events, including Watches and Wonders 2020 – which was transformed into a digital edition – and the death of Baselworld, with most large exhibitors leaving the show. For 2021, the situation is still surrounded by uncertainty, yet we know for sure that Watches and Wonders 2021 is going to be a major (to say the least) industry gathering. Today, the Exhibitor Committee has confirmed dates, participating brands and the fact that we’ll be talking about a two-phase event, both online and offline.
Due to the pandemic, Watches and Wonders 2021 had to change its format. We now know that the event will take place in two phases, over the course of April 2021. First will be an online event, the replacement for Watches and Wonders Geneva, with some forty leading brands present, from April 7 to April 13. Everything will be online, without physical representation neither offline show in Geneva. All the brands will digitally exhibit their novelties through a newly enhanced watchesandwonders.com digital platform. The “show” will consist of networking, discussions and enhanced interactivity as brands reveal their 2021 new releases.
What about the brands present? In fact, most of the industry heavyweights, including those that recently left Baselworld (Rolex, Tudor, Patek, Chopard and Chanel), will be part of the Watches and Wonders 2021 – making it the new centre of attraction for the watch industry. Also, some new brands have recently joined, such as the LVMH Group watchmaking division, Oris, Carl F. Bucherer, Maurice Lacroix or Nomos. Of course, most of the historic brands part of the SIHH Geneva, are still present, as well as well-established independents.
Altogether, 38 brands will exhibit through the watchesandwonders.com digital platform: A. Lange & Söhne, Arnold & Son, Baume & Mercier, Bvlgari, Carl F. Bucherer, Cartier, Chanel, Chopard, Chronoswiss, Corum, Ferdinand Berthoud, Greubel Forsey, H. Moser & Cie, Hermès, Hublot, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Louis Moinet, Louis Vuitton, Maurice Lacroix, Montblanc, Nomos, Oris, Panerai, Patek Philippe, Piaget, Purnell, Rebellion, Ressence, Roger Dubuis, Rolex, Speake-Marin, TAG Heuer, Trilobe, Tudor, Ulysse Nardin, Vacheron Constantin and Zenith.
But this isn’t all, as the second step of Watches and Wonders 2021 will take place a few days later, in Shanghai – following the success of the edition of September 2020. By observing full health and safety measures, the West Bund Art Center will welcome some 15 brands for its second edition – and this time, we’re talking about a physical event, with attendees able to see the watches in the metal. The brand’s list includes new arrivals such as Chopard, Rolex, Tudor and Ulysse Nardin. The event will be open by invitation only to media, retailers and watch enthusiasts.
The organisation of the show points that, “depending on how the COVID-19 situation evolves, more Watches and Wonders physical events may be added, to provide professionals and enthusiasts with an opportunity to discover the new releases for 2021 along with a hands-on experience.”
Hoping for a return to a physical event in 2022, it will make Watches and Wonders an impressively dense event where most established brands, representing a large fraction of the Swiss and German watch industry, will be present. Clearly, we hope to be able to attend, especially since Baselworld as we’ve known it is now gone.
More details at watchesandwonders.com.