SIHH 2017 with new horizons

The 27th edition of the Salon international de la haute horlogerie (SIHH) was held from 16 to 20 January at Palexpo.

Last year, the show had already featured a new décor and welcomed the Carré des horlogers (Watchmakers’ Square), a space dedicated to representatives of the "new watchmaking" trend. This year, the change gathered pace with important innovations: the hosting of two new watch manufacturers, namely Girard-Perregaux and Ulysse Nardin, the enlargement of the Carré des horlogers, which celebrated the arrival of five other brands and the opening to the general public. In all, thirty exhibiting firms shared a presentation floor space of some 45,000 m2.

Throughout this eventful week, both the main aisles of the show and the Carré des horlogers presented visitors with a unique and varied panorama of contemporary luxury watchmaking. On the final day of the event, previously reserved entirely for professionals, the general public had an opportunity to admire new creations of the watchmaking houses. This highly successful initiative attracted a record attendance throughout the week. The number of visitors in fact rose by 10% to reach 16,000 entries, including 1200 journalists and 2500 members of the general public.

Given the environment that has prevailed for the past year and a half on the watch export markets, the success of SIHH 2017 was far from self-evident. At the conclusion of the event, which was attended by representatives of all the main geographical zones, optimism is the order of the day. All the houses which have by now adjusted their product ranges to the prevailing environment, established fruitful contacts with their distributors, suggesting that 2017 will be a year of consolidation.

This return to a more tangible reality was reflected in the timepiece collections. The houses have tempered their offering to present a range of products which has been widened at the lower end of the range. The emphasis is now on useful complications. Classical shapes are preferred and materials have become more “modest”. This highly subdued approach by luxury watchmakers has is no way bridled the brands’ imagination and spirit of innovation. Similarly, it has not limited the expression of highly skilled craft trades. Technical and precious watchmaking remains a universe peopled with timepieces which push back the mechanical and artistic limits of the profession. That fact was clearly in evidence at SIHH 2017.

Exhibitors: A. Lange & Söhne, Audemars Piguet, Baume & Mercier, Cartier, Girard-Perregaux, Greubel Forsey, IWC Schaffhausen, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Montblanc, Officine Panerai, Parmigiani Fleurier, Piaget, Richard Mille, Roger Dubuis, Ulysse Nardin, Van Cleef & Arpels, Vacheron Constantin.

The Carré des horlogers: Christophe Claret, Grönefeld, H. Moser & Cie, Hautlence, HYT, Kari Voutilainen, Laurent Ferrier, MB&F, MCT-Manufacture Contemporaine du Temps, Ressence, RJ-Romain Jerome, Speake-Marin, Urwerk.

February 02, 2017