Several changes shall occur at this year’s 26th edition of the SIHH (Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie), occurring from the 18th up till the 22nd of January 2016, in Geneva, Switzerland. Traditionally this annual luxury fair, which is organized by the FHH (Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie) mainly showcases brands under the Richemont Group umbrella. But, this year we’ll have some new comers on the floor.
The exhibition hall is being expanded to accommodate nine independent watchmakers to the list of exhibitors. After last year’s joint venture between Richemont and Ralph Lauren, this year in their place will be the “Carré des Horlogers”. It will work as a sort of “exhibition inside an exhibition”, since these independent brands will all be gathered in a large room where they’ll occupy less space, then the more established brands, such as: Jaeger-LeCoultre, Vacheron Constantin, IWC, Officine Panerai, and others. This is similar to how these brands tend to showcase their watches at other luxury fairs, like we’ve seen at Baselworld.
The main factor determining whether or not a certain watch manufacturer is present at SIHH, is linked to being part or not of the Richemont Group. But, what tended to happen in previous years was that these independents would display their watches in Geneva at the same time as the SIHH. It was a way of them getting attention and trying to steal the limelight. So, this year rather than fuss over this predicament. SIHH organizers opted to incorporate these nine brands into their fair: Christophe Claret, De Bethune, H.Mser & Cie, Hautlence, HYT, Kari Voutilainen, Laurent Ferrier, MB&F and Urwerk.
This invitation and induction recognizes the growing influence of these watch brands. But, mainly by integrating these manufactures SIHH makes sure there are less distractions, so they can manage to keep all the relative guests and media at the Palexpo, as intended. Still one can’t help but notice how the numbers have shifted. As suddenly this year’s SIHH will host more independent brands (thirteen in total) versus Richemont Group brands, which only sum up eleven. Though the Richemont manufacturers obviously will have the most real estate and control over the event. Certainly a spectacle to be seen and appreciated with time.