Bad news for collectors hoping to resume travel to Geneva next year to see the new releases: Watches & Wonders, one of the world’s largest watch fairs, announced on Tuesday that it has made the decision to replace its live event with a digital-only version in 2021. This is the second year in a row that the trade show (formerly known as Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, or SIHH) has been forced to shutter its live program, which was originally scheduled for April
Top collectors we’ve spoken to recently had already expressed hope of seeing newly released watches in the metal next year in Geneva. No such luck. “In the light of uncertainty amid the current health crisis, Watches and Wonders Geneva has taken the decision not to hold the physical Salon, scheduled April 7 to 13, 2021,” said the show’s executive committee in a statement. It will be held online again next year during those dates.
An upgraded version of the show’s digital platform, watchesandwonders.com, is already in the works with additional features including streaming and live chats. Each year the show is not only a place where collectors, retailers and press gather to see new pieces, it’s also a venue where ideas and opinions are exchanged that ultimately affect the business going forward. Virtual meetings will have to do for now.
Up to 50 brands are scheduled to participate, including Patek Philippe, Rolex and A. Lange & Söhne, as well as independent brands like MB&F and H. Moser & Cie. But Watches & Wonders says it plans to welcome even more companies at a physical event scheduled for 2022 in Geneva.
Dates for the 2022 edition have yet to be announced.