The 3rd edition of the Geneva Watch Days, which took place from August 29 to September 1, 2022, confirmed the constant growth of the event. More exhibitors, more visitors, greater involvement of the authorities, the success is undeniable and the Geneva Watch Days have become the unmissable event of the new school year. As a visitor since the first edition, I have of course felt this dynamic. I remember very well the context of 2020 with participants coming mainly from Switzerland, France or Great Britain (health context obliges) but already everyone expressed the pleasure of meeting in a pleasant setting and in a more relaxed atmosphere than that of the big ones. spring fairs.
The Geneva Watch Days have now become an event of greater scope and are progressing in their organization. Fortunately, the spirit of the first edition remains. There are always the big “leading” brands (Bulgari, Breitling, Ulysse Nardin) whose role is crucial because they help structure the event and attract key retailers. But the Geneva Watch Days remain above all a celebration of independent watchmaking. All the key players in the segment are present (MB&F, De Bethune, Urwerk, Moser, etc.) and are attracting other brands seeking visibility in their wake. In addition, another sizeable brand has joined the contributing members of Geneva Watch Days: Jacob&Co. The uniqueness, audacity and creativity of this brand correspond well to the desired atmosphere around the event and I found their integration very profitable.
The presence of the brands at the Beau-Rivage hotel was clearly visible, which testified to the spirit of openness to the public:
The 2022 edition brought together 33 participating brands. In fact, the 4 days were extremely active, the appointments following one after the other without a break. However, at no time did we feel stressed or nervous. Because the greatest success of the Geneva Watch Days is to favor human contact over themes that we will qualify as more commercial. Of course, new things are presented. Of course, orders are taken. But in the end, what all the participants remember is the pleasure of exchanging with industry professionals, journalists, collectors and amateurs in order to take stock of the first half of the year, talk about trends and discuss projects. .. sometimes hidden in jacket pockets. The Geneva Watch Days are important because they represent a sort of kick-off for the second part of the season, to use sporting terminology. It’s the resumption after the truce!
The nerve center of the Geneva Watch Days is the large tent installed in front of the Beau-Rivage hotel and which is open to the public during the day. It is here that the conferences are organized and that key pieces from the participating brands are exhibited. But in fact, the activity of the event takes place mainly in the Geneva hotels located along the Quai du Mont-Blanc. This explains the charm and success of the Geneva Watch Days: unlike Watches & Wonders, the Geneva Watch Days take place in the city center and are easily accessible, in open spaces. In addition, they adopt a welcoming approach towards the public because the majority of brands have communicated on the ability to make appointments to discover new products or meet designers. I haven’t counted the number of impromptu meetings in hotel lobbies between collectors, enthusiasts and watchmakers. If the spirit of the Geneva Watch Days had to be summed up in one word, it would be inclusiveness. And it’s good to see that watchmaking is able to open up to its public. It needs it because nowadays commercial activity is on the contrary based on exclusivity in the first sense. Very many customers are excluded and can no longer even access the possibility of buying the desired watch. This notion of inclusivity is crucial because it helps to maintain this emotional bond, this hint of passion which are necessary in an environment polluted by financial considerations. Inclusiveness, relaxation, favorable weather: the cocktail was perfect and everything came together to make the 2022 edition of the Geneva Watch Days a successful event.
The relaxed atmosphere was in order but the pace was sustained given the number of brands present:
The question arises about the evolution of the event. I sincerely think that it is not far from being in an optimal configuration. Adding more major brands would certainly attract more retailers and media, but wouldn’t the risk then be to fall into a kind of repetition of Watches & Wonders on a smaller scale with the temptation, if only for logistical and security reasons to impose more control and accreditation? The atmosphere of the Geneva Watch Days that everyone appreciates and praises would then lose a lot. If adjustments and evolutions are always desirable to ensure sustainability, the current format seems ideal to me.
After having mentioned the container, the time has come to talk about the content: the offer of the brands present. I’m going to devote the following article to it, through the selection of the most attractive novelties of this edition of the Geneva Watch Days.