SIHH – Salon de la Haute Horlogerie – Innovation 2011 High End Luxury

By Sidin Vadukut

Yes, yes that a terrible pun to use in conjunction with the year’s first major luxury watch exhibition. But I am saving up the good watch/time/hours/seconds/dial/face puns for later in the week, as I file daily reports from the Palexpo exhibition center in Geneva.

From the 17th to the 21st of this month Palexpo will become the center of the world’s luxury watch business as 19 of the top brands display their new products, innovations and inventions for the year. Fronted, largely, by the Euro 5.2 bn. RichemontG roup of brands, The Salon International de Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) is one of the two major watch global exhibitions. The other being BaselWorld which takes place in the Swiss city of Basel in March.

But while BaselWorld is both larger and more inclusive–everyone from Rolex to the latest fad (knock-off?) Chinese piece can find a stall there–SIHH boasts of a small bouquet of exclusive brands and a much more tightly controlled visitor profile. (This year SIHH is expecting 12,000 visitors. Baselworld had almost 100 times as many last year.)

Both exhibitions are not only a chance for the major brands to flaunt both  new and classic products, but it also plays a vital role in the annual business calendar. Some brands can book almost 80 to 100% of their annual sales at these events. Dealers, retailers and “special high value clients” from all over the world come to pick and choose what models you’ll find in showrooms a few months from now.

These events are also a harbinger of some of the latest design and technology innovations that will percolate down into the larger watch market in the months to come. If premium brands like Audemars Piguet or IWC decide that bigger faces, or classic designs, or some new fangled precious metal is the trend at this year’s fair, then chances are that you’ll find these same characteristics in more affordable brands over time.

But most of all it is an opportunity to see some wonderful pieces of engineering and design. Yes your Rs.150 quartz watch is probably more accurate than the best mechanical Girard-Perregaux. But then thats a little like printing out a photo of the Mona Lisa from the web and preparing for tourists.

I’ll be attending all the major launches, press presentations and media interactions at the Palexpo this year. Tune in daily for updates, product sneak-peeks, round-ups and interviews with some of the biggest names in international watch-making.

Later this year you’ll see a distilled collection of stories, perspective, analysis and multimedia in Mint.

Till then there is only one way to get your daily watch fix.

Tick take care and we’ll tock more later.

More on: http://blog.livemint.com/livelounge/sihh-2011-time-starts-now/
Related article: www.letemps.ch – Richemont echappe encore au franc fort http://www.letemps.ch/Page/Uuid/3011f2ea-227d-11e0-a2fb-4d20fc02e175/Richemont_échappe_encore_au_franc_fort

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