SIHH 2019 has ended!
As always, the fair was divided into two sections: the first was the Carré des Horlogers (“watchmakers' square”), a huge room dedicated to 17 independent brands and their stands. In the Carré there were names like MB&F, RJ, Urwerk and Ressence, but also Phillippe Dufour, Laurent Ferrier, Hyt, Speake-Marin who this year hosted its ambassador Pierce Brosnan at the Booth.
The most important brands, or "historic houses", were housed in a large area of connected pavilions located outside the Carré. Many of the best Swiss producers came to show their new creations. Among these were several brands belonging to Richemont (A. Lange & Söhne, Baume & Mercier, Cartier, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Montblanc, Panerai, Piaget, Roger Dubuis, Vacheron Constantin), but also other big names in the watch industry like Audemars Piguet, Hermès, Ulysse Nardin and Bovet.
The model everyone talks about was Jaeger-LeCoultre's Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel which, as indicated by the name itself, features a Gyrotourbillon, perpetual calendar and a minute repeater that mimics the Big Ben ringing system. Despite all these complications, the watch measures only 43 mm in diameter and is a little thicker than 14 mm, making it surprisingly comfortable to wear, again for those who can afford it (800.000 EURO).
One collection that sparked social media interest and fueled much debate at SIHH was Audemars Piguet's new watch family: CODE 11.59. In the weeks leading up to SIHH, social media revealed many promising clues about AP's new watch series, but the excitement waned at the time of the unveiling. It is almost 50 years since Gérald Genta designed the first Royal Oak (Baselworld 1972) and, although the model continues to be successful, the time has finally come for AP to present a collection with a different look. But despite the efforts invested by AP in the creation of the CODE 11.59, the case and dial have not convinced the public at the moment, arousing conflicting opinions. Only time and the public will tell us if AP was right.
Within two years we will see major changes both at the SIHH and in the watchmaking world in general. Some big names have already announced that they will be leaving the two watch shows. As we already know, the Swatch Group has withdrawn from Baselworld and will no longer participate as of 2019. SIHH will also lose some exhibitors: both Richard Mille and Audemars Piguet have announced that they will not return in 2020.
Finally, the changes will also affect the dates of the events. Starting in 2020, SIHH and Baselworld will coordinate better to meet journalists' commitments and facilitate their travel. The SIHH fair will take place in Geneva from 26 to 29 April, followed by Baselworld in Basel from 30 April to 5 May. Journalists from all over the world have enjoyed these new dates very much. But first Baselworld 2019 still awaits us, which promises the presence of many interesting brands despite the absence of the Swatch Group.