It’s hard to believe, but Watches & Wonders 2023 is already a wrap. For us at WatchTime, that is an important moment in the year. We nearly collapse from exhaustion when we finally get home but also hate the fact that it is over again. It is usually after the fair that it sinks in how appropriate the name Watches & Wonders is. For an entire week, we have the privilege of seeing the most remarkable timepieces, each a small wonder by themselves. Some because of their extraordinary precision, others because of intricate complications or exotic finishes and crafts. However, the biggest wonder of all is that it is still here, both the watches and the fair.
With the demise of Baselworld, SIHH, the predecessor of Watches & Wonders, the current rendition could have had the same fate. Some voices in the industry said that big fairs were not of the time anymore. The outbreak of COVID-19 proved them almost right in a different way, but as a counter effect, the industry very much feels the need to come together when we have an opportunity to do so.
The watch industry is, by the way, one of the strangest in the world, as the mechanical wristwatch has to be the most successful, totally obsolete product in the world. It could have easily gone the way of pocketwatches, but it hasn’t, and given the buzz at Watches & Wonders, I doubt if it will anytime soon. An important part is also that the fair had two highly successful public days, that were both sold out. Just before the end, I spoke with Julien Tornare, CEO of Zenith, and he was very excited to stay the weekend and welcome collectors, connoisseurs, and curious people of all kinds to the booth.
This year there were also some events organized by Watches & Wonders in downtown Geneva, which were also open to the public. The beauty is that I saw many young people representing the future of the industry we love so much. While they currently might not be in the position to buy anything high-end, allowing them to see, and in some occasions even touch and try on, fine watches to plant a seed that one day might blossom. That is another wonder that will keep this industry, and the marvelous products it creates, hopefully a true perpetual character.