In a few days, the first major watch event of the year will begin. SIHH (Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie) has been part of the watch enthusiasts calendar for over two decades but for those new to the passion, the hubbub surrounds it can get a little confusing. What is the Carre des Horlogers? Why isn’t Rolex there? Can I visit? This is why WristReview has put together this beginner guide on everything you need to know about SIHH.
The first SIHH took place in 1991 with only five brands in attendance: Cartier, Baume & Mercier, Gerald Genta, Daniel Roth and Piaget. With Baselworld accepting more brands every year, these smaller watch brands wanted an alternative event that allowed them to showcase their watches without getting lost in the chaos. The first decade of SIHH saw a few brands come and go, but in 2002 it solidified itself as a ‘Richemont and Friends’ affair with the addition of A. Lange & Sohne, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Van Cleef & Arpels. In 2010, Greubel Forsey and Richard Mille began exhibiting and this marked the start of smaller, independent and non-Richemont brands joining the event. In 2016, SIHH launched the Carre des Horlogers (Watchmakers Square in French), a separate section of the event which housed even more independent brands like Christophe Claret, De Bethune, H. Moser & Cie and others. These brands are a horological pallet cleanser that breaks up the occasional monotony of the Richemont controlled event. So aside from a selection of small brands and the Richemont line-up, don’t expect to see much coverage for any watch brands until after the event.
SIHH has always been and will always be a luxury event that caters to the needs of retailers first, watch journalists second and members of the public third. The smaller, more intimate environment allowed the desired luxury atmosphere to persist without the anxiety of seeing Joe Schmoe rub their grubby hands all over the glass displays like at Baselworld. Yet last year SIHH did the unthinkable. Now ordinary, normal, run-of-the-mill people (I’ve heard some of them aren’t even millionaires!) could attend the event on the final day and see the new watches, though admittedly through the thick panes of glass.
It’s not unusual for brands not exhibiting at SIHH to go radio silent until after the event, as any releases made during this time won’t get much attention or column inches/pixels. Some non-exhibiting brands who are too impatient for Baselworld have begun to realize that having all the world’s watch journalists descend onto Geneva gives them a chance to host smaller gatherings to drum up excitement. So don’t be surprised if you see pictures of a TAG Heuer mixed in with the SIHH coverage and then don’t hear anything more until March!
As SIHH is smaller in scope than Baselworld, it sometimes can allow for a more focused look at smaller brands. Whilst I’ve yet to fall in love with any of their watches, I always look forward to seeing what H. Moser & Cie unveil as it’s guaranteed to be entertaining. Whilst the regular stalwarts like IWC and Cartier will have at least one watch I’m sure I’ll be interested in, the brand I’m most looking forward to is Ressence. They have been teasing on Instagram about a watch without a crown and heading over to e-crown.com, you see a brief glimpse at a watch that seems to set itself after being off wrist for a night. With the ‘e-‘ moniker being associated with smart tech, is this the first smartwatch from the brand or some kind of new amalgamation of new tech? I for one cannot wait to find out in a few days. Be sure to check back to WristReview over the coming days for all the latest releases from the event!
ONLINE TICKET SALES
Members of the public who would like to come to SIHH 2018 on Open Day must first register and purchase a ticket, subject to availability, from the official website. To go to the website, click on the button below.
SIHH is open to the public on Friday 19 January, 2018 between 11am and 6pm. Badges are issued at the desks at the main entrance, between 11am and 5:30pm, on presentation of the confirmation email and photo ID.
The central bars are open from 11am to 6pm, serving complimentary hot and cold beverages. A charge is made for alcoholic drinks.
Visitors can leave coats and luggage free of charge at the cloakroom, at the main entrance.
The Press Kiosk carries a complimentary selection of international daily papers and magazines for visitors to take away.
Publications on watchmaking and the history of the exhibiting Maisons are on sale at the Bookshop.
Located in Hall 7, this area offers a comfortable space where visitors can smoke inside the building.
SIHH takes place at GENEVA PALEXPO, a ten-minute walk from the airport and ten minutes from Geneva city centre. It is easily reached from Geneva International Airport, Geneva Cointrin railway station, and by motorway.
- Directions: A1 motorway, take the Genève Aéroport exit then follow signs for Palexpo.
- Parking: Visitors to SIHH on Friday, January 19th, 2017 can use the free parking facilities at P49 car park. A shuttle service will run between the car park and Palexpo.
BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT
- Train: From Geneva Cornavin station to the Genève Aéroport terminus.
- Bus TPG: Line 5, get off at Palexpo.
- SIHH official transport: from the airport and city-centre hotels to SIHH. Times will be given at a later date.