We knew this year would be different. We just didn’t know how different. A renamed and re-scheduled SIHH; a smaller and struggling Baselworld; LVMH, Seiko Group, and Movado Group branching off with their own events — we who follow and cover the watch industry were prepared for a crazy, unpredictable 2020, but little did we know that we’d be experiencing much of it virtually rather than in hotels and convention halls. And as the live events started falling like dominoes back in the spring as the COVID-19 pandemic erupted, many of us had our eyes on the fall, and the event that has become America’s biggest and most anticipated annual timepiece showcase for both collectors and brands: our own WatchTime New York, which would be marking its sixth successful year.
As we are all frustratingly aware, the pandemic is still with us and still scuttling large, in-person gatherings, including the three-day WatchTime New York show that had been scheduled for late October — and which had surely become the most important date circled on the industry’s collective calendar. Fortunately, your diligent and determined WatchTime team has responded to the crisis by hosting the first WatchTime Live — an all-new, all-digital platform, taking place October 22–24, which will connect 24 sponsoring watch brands with a dedicated, worldwide audience of collectors and aficionados.
Like its popular live-event predecessors, WatchTime Live will feature an array of watch-industry panels, presentations and discussions, with industry VIPs holding forth on popular topics like chronographs, dive watches, pilots’ watches, high complications, and the state of watchmaking in 2020 and beyond. Hosts will include WatchTime Editor-in-Chief Roger Ruegger, senior editor Mark Bernardo, and WatchTime’s longtime event partner, Jeff Kingston. Other panelists and participants will to be announced soon. Virtual guests at the panels will be able to ask live questions to the panelists and brand representatives in real time after their presentations.
In addition, brands will host one-hour presentations focusing on their newest and most buzz-worthy collections and models of 2020. The presenting maisons comprise an all-star lineup: Breguet, Blancpain, Vacheron Constantin, IWC Schaffhausen, Grand Seiko, Greubel Forsey, Chopard, Bell & Ross, Seiko, MB&F, A. Lange & Söhne and many more. (For a full list of sponsoring brands, and a schedule of panels and presentations, click here.)
“WatchTime faced a difficult situation with the postponement of our two major events in 2020, “ says Sara Orlando, WatchTime Publisher. “WatchTime Los Angeles and WatchTime New York were forced to take a pause this year but we did not want to sit out an entire year from hosting these important events. Ruling out a smaller in-person event, we decided to create a virtual event with sponsors and panels to keep the spirit of our events alive, while also adhering to the CDC guidelines for the safety of our community. We hope to see everyone in person in 2021 but are excited to go digital this year!”
WatchTime Live kicks off on Thursday October 22and runs from 9 AM to 6:00 PM EST through Saturday, October 24. All-access tickets ($29) for the three-day event are on sale here via the event website and will include a code to re-watch any of the taped presentations at a later date.