WATCHES AND WONDERS : Fine Watchmaking in the digital age
A unique platform bringing together 38 different watchmaking brands, original virtual scenographies, 100% digital presentations... These were (among others) the challenges taken up by the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH) with the Watches and Wonders 2021 event. A digital exhibition that went beyond the watchmaking sphere, bringing with it a wider audience but also more challenges.
So between technical prowess, new formats and changes in strategy, what should we learn from the latest watchmaking news? Analysis.
What is the future for trade shows?
For its 31st edition, the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) is undergoing a revolution. The SIHH, which became Watches & Wonders in 2020, now has a new formula, new dates and a new audience.
Indeed, faced with a model that was showing some signs of fatigue in the era of digital omnipotence and constant dissemination of information (formats, costs for exhibitors, unilateral decisions), the major watchmaking groups are now considering the best formulas to adopt. Digitization is certainly not a new subject, but the crisis has definitely accelerated the process, although face-to-face events remain inseparable from trade shows.
Another notable success in terms of the organization and communication of this trade show was the creation of a daily "morning show" hosted by industry experts and journalists, in order to follow the trade show news step by step. This dynamic format gave rise to relevant exchanges and interactions around the industry, and thus helped to accompany visitors in their quest for information.
As Thibaut de La Rivière, director of Sup de Luxe, explains: "Digitizing communication during an event is a way to reach a wider audience, in a space that is totally imbued with the brand's universe. It's a way to respect the codes of luxury while integrating a new reality."
The "phygital", an indispensable mixed format
Although the FHH has announced that virtual exhibitions will continue in 2021-22, luxury remains a sector apart, and the watchmaking world even more so. A world where the human being is at the heart of the creative process and where it is unthinkable to imagine the end of exhibitions. Indeed, at a certain level of excellence, the product must be touched, observed, felt and understood. The customer does not want to see it through a screen, and the houses must imperatively respond to this expectation, by continuing to create real windows on talent. The craftsmanship and other skills that make up the watch industry must be presented through events that combine physical and digital experiences. A subtle combination for a winning strategy.
Favourites & innovations
While organizational issues are at the heart of the show, the real stars of the show are the new signatures. Let's take a closer look at some of the models that caught our attention...
For 2021, Jaeger-LeCoultre is presenting four new models called Reverso One Precious Flowers, which combine the codes of fine watchmaking, fine craftsmanship and fine jewelry.
Inspired by the decorative jewelry worn in the 1920s, these exceptional models celebrate the poetry of flowers and each showcase rare handcrafted objects in various combinations.
The creation of these timepieces brought together multiple art forms-enameling, engraving, and setting work-through a collaboration of highly skilled artisans at the peak of their expertise.
Following the launch of the Piaget Polo Squelette earlier this year, the company is unveiling four new watch models in 18K gold, as well as two versions entirely paved with diamonds, with cases and movements adorned with 573 brilliant and baguette-cut stones.
For the new gold versions of the Piaget Polo Squelette, the brand has reworked its extra-thin self-winding movement by further streamlining it to highlight its main components. A direct view of the caliber that perfectly matches the watch's thinness.
With the Excalibur Single Flying Tourbillon, Roger Dubuis remains true to its motto "NO RULES, OUR GAME".
An extravagant and disruptive model, reinvented to mark the launch of the mythical "skeleton" design.
Here, the caliber is reconstructed from top to bottom in an architectural feat that sees the Roger Dubuis star levitate freely above the barrel, giving the impression of a thinner look and feel, while reinforcing the sensation of depth. Unexpected again, with the circular brushed upper surfaces and polished corners. In short, a signature achievement of the brand and Roger Dubuis' visionary approach.