What To Expect At Watches & Wonders 2021

What To Expect At Watches & Wonders 2021

Interactivity, immersive experience, and a stellar line-up of brands will unite like never before.

By Steven Rogers

Watch enthusiasts have much to look forward to next month as Watches and Wonders 2021 kicks off its two-phase, prestige watch fair.

The event begins in Geneva with an all-digital gathering which will run online from April 7 to 13, followed by a five-day physical, invitation-only show in Shanghai.

Mouthwatering Line-Up

The virtual Geneva fair will feature no fewer than 38 brands who will unveil, virtually, their latest releases for this year.

Richemont companies like A. Lange & Söhne, Cartier, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Panerai, Piaget, and Vacheron Constantin – mainstays of the show’s forerunner, the SIHH – will be joined by ex-Baselworld heavy hitters Rolex, Tudor, Patek Philippe, Chopard, and Chanel.

Likewise, LVMH brands Bulgari, Hublot, TAG Heuer, and Zenith will be present, plus a host of large and niche independents – NOMOS Glashütte, Oris, Carl F. Bucherer, Chronoswiss, H. Moser & Cie., Ferdinand Berthoud, and Ressence, to name but a few.

It is an exciting line-up; rarely have so many of watchmaking’s most prominent names been united under the same salon roof, albeit a virtual one.

You can see the full list of participating brands at the Geneva event below.

Interactivity and Immersive Experience

The first edition of Watches and Wonders Geneva, held in April 2020, was forced to transform itself into a virtual show at the last minute due to the onset of COVID-19. And in light of the ongoing pandemic, the show’s organizers, the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH), have chosen to return to the virtual format this year.

This time, the FHH is promising to “ramp up the fair’s digital component” and provide an “upgraded” online platform offering visitors – wherever they are in the world – the chance to interact directly with brands for a more immersive experience.

As well as product launches and announcements made by the brands, the FHH says there will be live chats and streaming, online press calls, a live morning show each day bringing analysis of what’s new at the salon, plus panels and talks led by leading industry figures and influencers.

There will also be the possibility of exploring future watchmaking technology with a feature called the Lab Minute.

Exclusive Previews

While certain content and features will be accessible to all visitors to the platform as of April 7, some will be reserved for industry professionals and VIP customers invited by the participating brands.

VIP clients, for example, will be afforded exclusive previews of the brands’ new releases.

It has also been rumored that the latest forms of social media such as Clubhouse, the invitation-only audio chat app, could play an exciting role at the fair.

“More interactive, more functional, and focused on services and exchange, this upgraded version is designed to favor synergies, communication, and networking,” said the FHH in a statement.

The statement continued, “Visitors will become actors, not just onlookers, in a robust program that includes multiple opportunities to directly interact with the brands.”

Stay tuned to Watchonista during the fair as we will be covering all the latest developments from it.

Onsite Salon in Shanghai

A few days after the Geneva digital salon – dates are yet to be confirmed – Shanghai will host a five-day physical salon at the West Bund Art Center where 15 brands will welcome visitors at pop-up booths.

And, of course, strict health and safety measures will be observed.

It will be the second edition of Watches and Wonders Shanghai – the inaugural event taking place only eight months ago – and there will be new arrivals including, Chopard, Rolex, Tudor, and Ulysse Nardin.

Described as a “watch-in-hand salon,” the event will be open by invitation only to watch enthusiasts, journalists, and retailers who will be first to see, in the metal, the new releases unveiled during the Geneva edition.

At the Shanghai edition, the emphasis will, like the Geneva show, be on an immersive experience, but with a particular focus on the art and culture of watchmaking.

The FHH says there will be workbench demonstrations, expert-led panels and talks, interactive experiences, and a glimpse of the exhibiting brands’ latest technological innovations inside the LAB.

Further Physical Events on the Horizon

Depending on how the Covid-19 situation evolves, the FHH is eyeing more Watches and Wonders physical events later this year. It is also angling for the return of the onsite show in Geneva in spring 2022, which the FHH hopes will be the largest watch salon ever held in the Swiss city.

To find out more about Watches and Wonders 2021, visit https://www.watchesandwonders.com/en

The full list of brands participating in the digital Geneva edition of Watches and Wonders 2021:

The full list of brands participating in the physical Shanghai edition of Watches and Wonders 2021:

• A. Lange & Söhne • Baume & Mercier • Cartier • Chopard • IWC Schaffhausen • Jaeger-LeCoultre • Montblanc • Panerai • Piaget • Roger DubuisRolex • Tudor • Ulysse Nardin • Vacheron Constantin

(Images provided by the brands & Watches and Wonders)

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