EPHJ 2024 registers record attendance

Marked by the presence of the European Union ambassador to Switzerland, the 22nd edition of the EPHJ show was held in a context where export statistics for finished watchmaking products and micromechanics point to new challenges. A look back at an intense week.

The world’s leading high-precision exhibition, EPHJ, held its 22nd edition from 11 to 14 June this year. Officially opened by Nathalie Fontanet, President of the Geneva State Council, along with Petros Mavromichalis, Ambassador of the European Union to Switzerland, the event welcomed 23,680 Swiss and international trade visitors, an unprecedented level of attendance.

This year, 765 exhibitors took part in the event, slightly more than in 2023. The majority of them were Swiss (76%), followed by representatives from 11 other countries, including France, Germany, Italy and Japan. Neuchâtel still dominates the ranking of the 22 cantons represented, as per the following top five: Neuchâtel (123 companies), Bern (118), Jura (86), Geneva (78) and Vaud (74). Among this Swiss representation, French-speaking Switzerland accounted for 66% of exhibitors, with the German- and Italian-speaking regions sharing the remaining 34%. Another remarkable fact is that more than 100 companies were exhibiting at EPHJ for the first time this year.

Statistics also confirm the multi-sectoral development of the firms present in 2024, with 92% of exhibitors active in the watch or jewellery industry; 55% in microtechnologies, particularly the machinery industry; and 53% in the medical sector. This trend clearly demonstrates the watchmaking and microtechnology industry’s ability to provide sought-after skills in the medical equipment environment.

Double watchmaking anniversary and highlights
This year’s event was marked by two historic celebrations: the bicentenary of the Geneva Watchmaking School and the centenary of the Swiss Chronometry Society (SSC). The SSC took part in the first EPHJ Innovation Forum, where some of this year’s most remarkable new products were presented.

Another highlight of the week was the traditional round table on the state of the watch market, during which eminent specialists and major players in the subcontracting sector discussed their points of view at a time when a slowdown is occurring.

Other important themes were discussed at the round tables, such as the state of play in Swiss-EU relations during a period when the Bilateral III agreements are under way; gold and its traceability; as well as the impact of artificial intelligence on healthcare.

For the third year running, the EPHJ gave the job market in the watchmaking sector a helping hand by organising a Job Dating Day to round off the show. Some 180 jobs in the high-precision sector were on offer, in partnership with JobWatch, which hosted a large number of applicants interested in these positions.

Exhibitors’ Grand Prize
Once again this year, the jury for the Exhibitors’ Grand Prix selected five innovations from among the many entries received. These were then put to the vote by the exhibitors, who named Incaptek as the 2024 winner.

A Swiss start-up founded by scientists, Incaptek has developed a new cutting-edge technology that produces ultra-resistant composite materials using uniformly coated elongated fibres. Compared with existing technologies on the market, this technology enables an over 1.5-time increase in strength. These composite materials are remarkable because they are extremely strong and durable, technologically flexible and compatible with additive manufacturing and injection moulding.

June 27, 2024