Highlights from SIAR 2018: The Hottest Watches We Saw And Interview With Carlos Alonso
On hand in Mexico City was a plethora of specially designed timepieces made especially for the premier Latin-American horological showcase. Viva Mexico! Let’s have a look at the hottest watches we saw at SIAR 2018!
As media partners of SIAR 2018, Watchonista enjoyed many special moments at the St. Regis in Mexico. While it was incredible to reconnect with friends new and old, the timepieces on display were exceptional. Nestled within the SIAR show floors was a multitude of brands. Many of which were showing unique edition timepieces for the very first time.
Interview with SIAR founder Carlos Alonso
On the occasion of SIAR, I had the opportunity to sit down with Carlos Alonso, Director General and organizer of the show. Alonso also serves as the publisher of Tiempo de Relojes, Gentleman México, and Moiré magazine. We had an in-depth discussion about the show, and Alonso even gave some hints of what to expect in 2019.
Alexander Friedman: From your viewpoint, what’s been your favorite highlights of SIAR 2018 and how can you describe the success of SIAR in general?
Carlos Alonso: First of all, I think that in the 12 years of the show, this year has been the most successful yet in all senses. We had a record 42 participating brands, 4,100 visitors compared to 2,600 last year. But most of all, we had record visits from the media, this year we welcomed 557 media and journalists which is 100 more than last year.
SIAR 2018 is a success in many senses but not only in figures but after talking with the brands the perception and the feeling of the visitors and brands this year has been very successful. It’s true! We have been learning how to make SIAR successful, but in the end it all came together. For example, the communication of the brands after SIAR telling what happened at SIAR and that they received an award has been very eloquent. For example, there are communications from Ferdinand Berthoud, Audemars Piguet, TAG Heuer, and all are saying that SIAR is one of the most successful events in the world.
Brands say that this event is beneficial for their actual situation in the watch industry even for the future. This is very new for me because in the past it was very much like "hey ok thank you, was fantastic, I sold 3-4-5 watches," but this year, I perceive that the show has been changed and the brands see how we express SIAR.
For example, Mr. Biver (Jean-Claude) was telling the crowd that SIAR is fantastic and even made a joke, “Marcel, the brand is living, and the brand is right into this.” In the end, every time Mr. Biver says a sentence, there is a significant meaning behind that you can read. In the end, it is a joke. He is a big animal, and we are a tiny insect compared to him. And I would never compare SIAR with Basel. But the brands are starting to see that this formula has all the right ingredients for the collectors, retailers, and journalists. All this in a small local event. One of the perks of Mexico is that the public that comes here is local, Mexicans. They are not tourists or people that come From New York, Florida or even Brazil. It's their event. Still, all of this makes it a very positive year for SIAR.
AF: There are a lot of brands that did limited editions this year, how do you define this? Not only they are brands present at SIAR, but it seems they are getting more involved.
CA: One of the characteristics of the Latin people is that they are more conservative people. Patek Philippe, Rolex, Audemars Piguet that’s it! Mexican people are passionate. And Mexican people at the top of the economic pyramid are more impulsive. When they understand and fall in love with something they buy immediately. One of the arguments that the brands have learned in all these years is that Mexican people have an immediate reaction when you produce limited editions for Mexico. Most of these touch the fiber of Nationalism: Frida Kahlo, Mexican flag colors, anchor of the impendence, etc. When brands touch on the thread of emotion via the link to national icons and Mexican proudness the reaction is really successful.
This year we received about 20 limited editions by the brands. Hublot produced five limited editions alone. In total, around 20 limited editions were dedicated to SIAR for this year. TAG Heuer, Frank Mueller, Ferdinand Berthoud, and Corum all brought limited edition pieces to SIAR. Brands have been hugely successful, multiples brands sold their limited edition during SIAR, but some watches have been even sold before the first day of SIAR.
AF: How do you forecast the 13th edition of SIAR for next year?
CA: At this moment I have a slight problem because Richemont was dominant this year as well as in the past. We have multiple brands such as Piaget, A. Lange & Söhne, and Vacheron Constantin. This year we recuperated Jaeger-LeCoultre and IWC. We always had on board Montblanc and Roger Dubuis. And in the past, we had Baume & Mercier. I need to talk with Richemont during SIHH to know what we should expect for next year.
For the other matter, sometimes, I receive recommendations to move a more prominent space like "Congress Center." But I do not want to move because of our cozy atmosphere and a little bit of claustrophobia are part of the success of SIAR. People feel like they are in a private event, and not in an impersonal congress center. I want to keep this space. I can add at least ten more brands, and it could be interesting.
Also, I do not like and do not want a massive event. I do not want 70 brands, because I do not want to create false expectations for brands. I want to have brands that Mexico is ready for. For example, I am not sure Mexico is ready for Kari Voutilainen. We have tried before with other brands, so I can’t tell. I don’t want to invite 70 brands. If next year with Richemont we get to 50 brands, that will be a good number. I will push to make sure all the brands participating in SIAR are successful. I am not only a businessman that is like, “come and exhibit and give me the money and good luck!” My function is more like a curator of a gallery of art trying to impulse talents and brands.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)
Photo Gallery Of SIAR 2018 Timepieces
Please enjoy this photo gallery of the hottest watches we saw at SIAR 2018!