With wish-lists filled and coffers emptied by SIHH in January, you might imagine the luxury watch industry would give dealers a month to relax before Baselworld, but the reimagining of Watches and Wonders – a fair that once graced the city of Hong Kong in the guise of a third major trade fair – leaves little respite for the travel-worn watch peddlers of 2018.
Fortunately, the Watches and Wonders reskin sees the fair hop continents to Miami and focus more on the end consumer than the beleaguered middle man. With a burgeoning Latin American market, the top brands that appeal to this demographic (industry powerhouses like Audemars Piguet and Jaeger LeCoultre) have gone as far as to tailor their wares to the unique desires of customers south of the border.
A more open, relatable fair for watch lovers worldwide is a welcome addition to the calendar, and will hopefully benefit all, from the brands wishing to liaise directly with their lifeblood, and the retailers hoping to knuckle-down on business strategies that will ensure that the industry experiences greater growth 2018 than the 0.5% ‘leap’ it ‘enjoyed’ in 2017.
10,000 Reasons to Invest
We live in funny times. The economy is far from booming, and the schism in watch collecting between those interested in smart/fashion watches and haute horlogerie is ever widening.
Investing in luxury watches at this point in history might seem like a scary thing to do. What will the interest be in ten years? Fifty years? 100 or even a 1,000 years… Our minds are still boggled by the otherworldly sophistication of the Antikythera Mechanism created some 2,000 years ago, but only because that level of technology is barely commonplace today… Not because it, in itself, is in anyway useful.
So what’s the point of modern watchmaking? Will generations hence care at all? Will the memory of mechanical magic still tick loud in the ear? Well, if you’re contemplating shifting thousands of hard-earned dollars into a family heirloom, rest assured it will have a touchstone of sorts for at least the next ten millennia…
The Long Now Foundation was founded in 1996 with the aim of encouraging long-term thinking in an increasingly short-termist society. The icon of this project is a clock funded by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos and designed by his buddy Danny Hillis. The clock is designed to run without human intervention for 10,000 years, and is jaw-droppingly complex, despite being rendered of relatively inexpensive parts (to prevent looting, apparently).
Located two hours from the nearest airport, and at an elevation that might dissuade all but the most die-hard explorer, the 10,000-year clock is the stuff of legend, and it isn’t even finished yet.
If you ever wondered whether your Calatrava would fascinate people in a few thousand years, this project should ensure the passion for timeless tickers remains.
About the Author: Fell Jensen is a Swiss-trained watchmaker working as an industry analyst.