Geneva watch expo goes digital before Shanghai switch

Guillaume de Seynes, CEO of Hermes holds the HO8 model during a media presentation at the Watches & Wonders in Geneva, Switzerland, April 6, 2021. Picture taken April 6, 2021. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

GENEVA: Geneva's international expo of fine watches opened Wednesday with an online 2021 edition before shifting next week to Shanghai, where the coronavirus is under control.

The fair, one of the major annual gatherings for luxury watchmakers, was cancelled last year due to the pandemic but is going ahead virtually this year.

The Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, now restyled as Watches and Wonders, includes major brands including Rolex, Patek Philippe and Cartier.

The fine watchmaking fair will see brands present new products through online conferences and presentations.

Emmanuel Perrin, interim president of the Foundation High Horology, which organises the event, said it was important for the watch industry to maintain the salon, calling it "our Fashion Week, our Davos".

"It's been a tough year economically, in terms of business, for the whole industry," Perrin said in opening remarks, stressing that holding the expo online was "the right thing to do".

Expert debates streamed live on the platform will include discussions on the lasting consequences of the pandemic, the role of new materials and technology and the impact that blockchain could have on watchmaking.

The watch industry is Switzerland's third-largest export sector. It has been hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis, with boutiques closing due to restrictions to control the spread of the virus, and the collapse of the tourism industry on which the luxury sector depends.

In 2020, Swiss watch exports fell by 21.8 percent to 17 billion Swiss francs ($18.6 billion, 15.8 billion euros) compared with the previous year, according to figures from the watchmaking federation.

Exports plunged by 81.3 percent in April 2020 before gradually recovering from August onwards.

China remained the only growth market among major destinations for Swiss watchmakers, with exports up 20 percent, while Chinese consumer purchases have shifted to local stores due to travel restrictions.

While Europe struggles to tame the pandemic, the salon's online edition, running until April 13, will feature 38 different brands.

The physical version in Shanghai, from April 14 to 18, will feature 19 brands.





Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

Alert: If you are facing problems with posting comments, please note that you must verify your email with Disqus prior to posting a comment. follow this link to make sure your account meets the requirements. (

comments powered by Disqus



Interested in knowing more about this story?

Click here