Geneva is right on time to host a new edition of its annual event of high-class horology, Watches and Wonders 2021. Due to the pandemic, the physical event has this year evolved into an online hub.
Thirty-eight brands, as well as retailers, end-customers and distribution partners, can meet on a single platform that is constantly being updated with live streams and panels.
It is undoubtedly a challenging environment with the ongoing global pandemic but it is not without potential opportunities, says Emmanuel Perrin, the President of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, the event's organisation body.
"The challenge was to integrate twice the brands into a single digital platform. The art of mechanical horology is something our members and our brands have already mastered," Perrin explains. "But how to set up a hi-tech platform… that is still a learning process."
Among the exhibitors, French brand Hermès will showcase its new collection “H08” with the help of a virtual scenography enriched with videos and sculptures.
The brand, like others in the World of Haute Horlogerie, will have to keep on reinventing itself in a changing market with shifting customer behaviour across continents, says its Managing Director - Guillaume De Seynes.
"On the digital side, we´ve seen a very strong increase in our sales even though, for horology, online sales were not favoured beforehand. We´ve witnessed real growth in that aspect," says De Seynes. "Another trendsetter that was already there but has accelerated throughout 2020 is the importance, the dynamism of the Asian markets. This has been a fact both for horology and for our products as a whole."
Watches and Wonders Geneva 2021, one of the world'´s major trade shows for luxury watches, runs until 13th April.