It is with excitement that I start the first blog post on JZ&F with the report of the venerable watch show SIHH (Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie Geneve), which takes place every January in the Geneva.
This is where many watch companies display to watch dealers and journalists their newest products for the year. As somebody who has done it in the past years, it is my utmost honor to report to you, in a relatively “real and untouched” fashion the novelties that various brands would introduce, through the lens of my camera, with in-situ photos.
Hopefully, this series of blogs will provide quite a different and more enriching experience than reading the PR materials from watch magazines.
Getting There and General Atmosphere
As I was getting ready to depart for Geneva, my home city Seattle has just begun to experience one of the worst snow storms in the city’s recent history. We sat on the runway for half an hour, as the plane got de-iced (the yellowish liquid is the de-icing fluid). It’s fortunate – had I left a day later, the delay would’ve been very bad).
I often feel a special attachment with a watch that I travel with – for some who regularly rotates through his collection, having to spend a prolonged period of time with 1 single watch is a profoundly bonding experience, and I vividly remember all the watches that I brought with me to various trips.
This bonding experience is made even more special with a trip to SIHH, and this year, after much deliberation, I will be wearing my special edition of Roger Dubuis “Golden Square” Perpetual Calendar in white gold, with factory original diamonds around the bezel and on the buckle.
Off we go! Time to put up the feet, take a sip, and go to sleep.
10 hours later, making a connection at Frankfurt and admiring from the above the forests, small towns, and neatly organized plots of farm land.
Arriving on Monday afternoon and walking directly from the airport to the Palexpo Exhibition Centre, where the SIHH is held.
January in Geneva is refreshingly chilling, and as far as weather is concerned, it is certainly not the best time to visit Switzerland. The coldness that I felt on my body quickly subsided with the burning anticipation of attending one of the most exciting shows in the watch industry, and seeing some beautiful novelties for 2012.
At the main lobby, and getting ready to check in.
The SIHH’s consistent look and feel year after year – an atmosphere of hushed elegance and restlessness – a result of uniform cream-color decor, soft lighting, and business people and journalists from all around the world bustling about in impeccably cut suits and lusciously tanned shoes…
Unlike the much bigger, open-to-the-public, watch show BaselWorld (which takes place in Basel, Switzerland) in March, which features hundreds of brands and many exciting independent masters (e.g. our brands such as Franc Vila and Guy Ellia are featured there), the SIHH is a much smaller and intimate setting with a lot fewer brands. The SIHH is also a industry venue for invited dealers and journalists, and is closed to the general public.
Here are some of the brand booths.
The Roger Dubuis’ booth has an awesome and potentially seizure-inducing lightning show , to showcase it’s new “Pulsion” collection. The concept of the name is for a “high energy” watch line that makes one’s pulse go faster when seeing it – my pulse certainly elevated when I walked into the booth.
IWC consistenlty wins the coolest booth design inmy book – I remember 2 years ago the brand was promoting the Portuguese Yacht Club line, so they made the entire booth look like a yatcht, with wooden deck, sails, and blue sky.
This year their focus on the Pilot line prompted them to design the booth as a aircraft carrier, complete with a flight simulator.
Just to show you how cool it is, here are photos of the IWC booth, during SIHH 2010.
At 5:30pm, the opening ceremony starts with plenty of fanfare, with speeches by Swiss officials and attended by Who’s Who in the watch industry
Now, on to the novelties!