As always Ian Ellery is The Watch Lounge’s ‘man on the ground’ at the Baselworld Watch Fair and will be sharing his thoughts on some of this year’s hottest new releases over the coming days.
As I have said before the life of a freelance journalist is rarely a stroll in the park. I’m not sure who those guys are that get invited to endless reception parties, but they don’t appear to be me.
Press day can be a real struggle but it does throw up some very interesting sights; witness the Swatch Group team of 20 people cleaning the dust of the light shades in their booth by hand. The slogan for Welder, “Since 2075” let’s see how they feel about it in 63 years time!!
Many of the Independent brands we have all come to love are housed in a rigid tent structure called “The Palace”. Although lighter and brighter than the main halls, the talk this year mainly centered on the potential repercussions of next year’s developments.
By then the new hall will be completed and there will be “no need” for The Palace, which means it may not be feasible for the smaller brands to still exhibit. Whilst progress can certainly be a good thing, I think it’s fair to say that if costs increase prohibitively and some of the more dynamic independent brands are forced out then the atmosphere will not be nearly as good and this certainly would not be a step in the right direction.
Speaking of the new hall, I have seen the plans previously but they don’t prepare you for the reality of the “thing”. I think you can tell that the next sentence is not going to be complimentary. The donut shape may let in some light and be an interesting piece of “architecture” but it has taken a beautiful, sunlight plaza in front of Hall 1 and turned it into a dark space no better than a car park. I can’t help but feel a better job could have been done with a little more thought.
Back to the Show though. The general feeling this year echoes that of SIHH; last year was better than expected and there is a cautious optimism that this year could be just as good. If so, most of the Brands would be happy with that.
Certainly from my side it was extremely difficult to get appointments, lots of Press and lots of Retailers looking for product; everyone is going to have a busy 10 days.
The Final Word
If you are in the area the show is highly recommended. If you are coming from a long way away get your friendly retailer to make you an appointment with your favorite maker and get them to give you a personal view of their collection. No one knows their timepieces like they do, believe me and you will be truly grateful for the experience.
But, as always, remember to wear comfortable shoes.