A record-breaking edition for Watches and Wonders

The event concluded on an extremely positive note. Over and above the constantly rising figures, it crystallised the unity of an industry driven by the same desire for sharing, excellence and expertise. The opening of the show to the general public, along with its extension into the city centre, have become key factors in its success.

From 9 to 15 April this year, Watches and Wonders, the largest watch show ever held in Geneva, attracted some 49,000 unique visitors over the week (up 14% on 2023), including 5,700 retailers and 1,500 journalists. A record 54 Maisons, including eight newcomers, took part this year! Reserved for professionals during the first few days, the event was open to the public for the last three days. Before the show opened, the programme was fully booked for all the activities requiring bookings: product presentations, guided tours, introductory workshops and more. The In the City programme, designed for newbies, enthusiasts and collectors, gave everyone a chance to familiarise themselves with watchmaking culture.

Opening ceremony
The opening ceremony, which took place in the Auditorium, opened with an address by the Federal Councillor, head of the Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research, Guy Parmelin, who shared a welcome video to the many journalists and guests invited for the occasion.

Jean-Frédéric Dufour, as President of the Watches and Wonders Geneva Foundation, shared his vision of an event like Watches and Wonders Geneva as a means of uniting and promoting the watch industry beyond our borders. “Together we go further”, he said, adding that “the younger generation remains a priority”.

Delphine Bachmann, State Councillor in charge of the Department of Economy and Labour, recalled the historical link between Geneva, a land of refuge, and the development of the watch industry, as well as the good figures for Swiss and Geneva watch exports.

A great success
The hashtag #watchesandwonders2024, which is all about sharing, shot to the top of social media, with an estimated reach of over 600 million people at closing time. The arrival of several celebrities set social media ablaze. Among them were supermodel Gisele Bündchen, tennis champion Coco Gauff, and soccer superstar Kylian Mbappé.

Business also reached new heights, with over 10,000 retailer appointments (+25% vs. 2023) and 1,800 Touch & Feel press sessions, along with a significant increase in orders placed by end-clients.

Above and beyond the numbers, it was the spirit of Watches and Wonders Geneva that resonated with audiences. Throughout the week, the watch industry demonstrated its diversity, as well as its unity around its cardinal values: innovation, craftsmanship, excellence and sharing.

Importantly, interest in the event amongst a younger generation continues to grow, with numerous schools participating and strong attendance by students. Of the 19,000 tickets (vs. 12,000 in 2023), once again 25% were sold to under-25s, with an average age of 35, identical to 2023.

Watches and Wonders Geneva has already set the trends for the year, beginning with a return to more classic and unisex proportions, followed by the presence of bold colours and the use of interchangeable straps and bracelets. Grand complications continue to command prominence, while the use of artistic crafts exemplifies the intersection of watchmaking engineering and decorative art.

It took 3,500 steps to explore the entire Salon, but even more to realise the full experience, which included the In The City program and its new Watchmaking Village on the Pont de la Machine, which offered a range of cultural and educational activities. Watchmaking professions were also presented. The public were able to talk to apprentices and professionals, while workshops were organised for children.

Watches and Wonders Geneva opened its doors to an even broader audience this year, welcoming all generations, while continuing to balance both inclusivity and exclusivity around an industry, which has become more inspiring than ever. The celebration of watchmaking continued with an incredible evening party in the city centre that was appreciated by all. Boutiques were teeming with customers late into the night, while the Lost Frequencies concert transformed Geneva’s quayside into an open-air festival for all to enjoy.

April 25, 2024