If you were looking for reasons to be more upbeat about the U.S. economy this week, there were a few to be found. You could have watched Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke on the TV news proclaiming that the recession is over. Or you could’ve had a lot more fun by attending this year’s largest-ever “Inside Basel-Geneva” watch collectors’ event in New York, hosted by WatchTime and noted watch expert Jeff Kingston.
Attendance at the event, held September 15 at midtown Manhattan’s luxurious Grand Hyatt Hotel, was at a record high despite the rough economic climate — over 200 guests came to hobnob with fellow watch enthusiasts, get up close and personal with more than a dozen sponsoring watch brands, enjoy a three-course dinner, and to watch Kingston’s presentation of the horological highlights from this year’s Basel and SIHH watch fairs.
The sponsors were a plethora of luxury watch producers, from large, established marques to up-and-coming boutique and artisan brands. They included Cartier, Piaget, Vacheron Constantin, IWC Schaffhausen, A. Lange & Sohne, Montblanc, Carl F. Bucherer, Martin Braun, F.P. Journe, H. Moser & Cie, and the trio of Linde Werdelin, Armin Strom and Ladoire from the artisan group Totally Worth It Watches.
Guests enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres while visiting the exhibitors’ tables to meet watch brand representatives and admire the timepieces on display. Afterward, the crowd sat down for dinner and the evening’s main event. After an introduction by WatchTime editor-in-chief Joe Thompson, Kingston took the stage with a multimedia presentation that showcased dozens of new watches introduced at Basel and Geneva this year, along with personal interviews with watchmakers and watch company executives conducted at the shows. At the end of the evening, attendees left with an armload of gift bags from the various sponsoring brands.
The 2009 “Inside Basel-Geneva” tour comes to Chicago on September 29 before wrapping up in Dallas on October 1. You can register for those events by clicking here.
Here are some scenes from the evening. You may click the images to view larger versions.
Guests arrive and the room begins to fill
Guests appreciate the fine timepieces on display
WatchTime staff were on hand. Below, editor-in-chief Joe Thompson with a guest