By Harlan Chapman-Green

Trade shows seem to be taking a significant hit, and while other sites are all doom and gloom about it, it is evident that things are indeed changing. Recently, the second largest wristwatch expo, hosted by the Richemont Group, has cut its show length.

The Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, or SIHH for short, is a Geneva-based affair which showcases luxury watches from the companies owned by Richemont. Further, several small brands come along as well, independents such as Urwerk and Ferdinand Berthoud make up the Carré des Horlogers. Even big independents such as Audemars Piguet are present at SIHH, demonstrating the power of change, the change from Baselworld.

There was lots of talk regarding this year’s Basel based watch show, Baselworld, as it was the smallest show there has been in years. Whether this is a reflection of the shrinking of the global watch economy, I’m not convinced, Hong Kong has been affecting exports for a long time and now that that is slowing it seems that the Swiss have been caught out. Not too long ago Richemont hit the news after liquidating a lot of leftover stock, aka destroying its watches. It’s entirely possible this is due to an expected increase in demand which didn’t happen, leaving so many watches it would affect market prices. The shorter show could even be a sign of Richemont cutting costs to recuperate the losses incurred by that extra stock; we don’t know.

What we do know is that to cram in as much watch-y goodness as possible, the opening hours of SIHH have changed to 08:30 – 20:00, this makes up for the fact that the show is now four days instead of 5, running from the 14th to the 17th of January. The day before the official opening the brands present will be allowed to invite selected customers and people to come and see the new watches before anyone else does. Even though the public day, Friday, has now been cut, the show will remain open until 22:00 on Thursday so that there is more accessibility to the local population who may have just finished working.

We’ve yet to hear any news from Baselworld regarding the show length, but it’s possible that will also be cut down. What do you think? What reasons could be behind this new compact showcase?