Fine watchmaking has always been full of surprises, unexpected developments and, well, constant change. There are, however, some aspects that have always felt timeless—aspects everybody from watch enthusiasts and collectors to media like us can always rely on as a bedrock of stability. The big annual trade fairs used to be like that. But now, as the year comes to a close, more and more brands are leaving what used to be the biggest highlights of haute horlogerie. It’s hard not to be worried. Looking deeper into the issue, though, there’s a pretty simple underlying reason. Keeping up with the times. And when legendary names like Audemars Piguet and the entire Swatch Group are taking the lead, it’s hard to argue that this is how the industry will eventually operate. Perhaps it’s less about distancing themselves from traditional fairs and more about embracing bespoke events, digital rollouts and a myriad other ways to reach out to an increasingly connected world and an increasingly younger clientele.
But some things will never change. Whether a watch is presented at SIHH, unveiled at Baselworld or debuting at a star-studded party halfway across the world from Switzerland, the charm of novelty will not be eroded. The same can be said if a major release happens online. Just look at the success of Omega’s Speedy Tuesday campaign or Patek Philippe that this year finally embraced the charms of Instagram.
Times are changing, but the wonders of haute horlogerie are timeless. And through the following pages, I invite you to explore these wonders from the comfort of your home. Happy reading.
Ronald Liem, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief