To say that this year’s calendar of new watch releases has been more scattered than any in recent memory is surely an understatement. The COVID-19 pandemic has made traveling and holding large events ever more difficult, and shows have had to be canceled or converted to digital formats. But that hasn’t done much to stop the steady flow of new watches. We’ve done our best to present them to you as they’ve been announced, and in an easily digestible format that can be referenced as a whole. There is, however, a major watch event on the horizon for later this month, and HODINKEE will, of course, cover it.
Originally planned for April, the upcoming Geneva Watch Days will be the first (and perhaps only) major watch industry trade show of the year in Switzerland when it kicks off later this month. Showcasing watches from 17 brands, it will run from August 26-29 in the city of Geneva and will adhere to a “decentralized format.” This means that the brands will show watches in their own spaces – at boutiques or in hotels – by appointment only. The show’s organizers have emphasized that the event is going forward with the support of the city and the canton of Geneva, and the decentralized format is geared toward keeping the show’s visitors and exhibitors safe.
The participating brands include the show’s founders – Breitling, Bulgari, De Bethune, Gérald Genta, Girard-Perregaux, H. Moser, MB&F, Ulysse Nardin, and Urwerk – as well as eight associate brands. They are Artya, Bovet, Carl F. Bucherer, Czapek, Ferdinand Berthoud, Louis Moinet, Maurice Lacroix, and Reuge. A press release from Geneva Watch Days makes mention of the fact that these brands will be presenting “numerous new models.”
The event was announced in March by Bulgari CEO Jean-Christophe Babin during an appearance on Swiss television, and Babin has been the show’s most visible proponent.
“The decentralized format of this unique watch brands’ gathering will allow us to be safe,” Babin says in a statement on the Geneva Watch Days website. “Also, we have put together strict hygiene rules for all participants and visitors. No risks will be taken.” Babin calls the Geneva event “a major and unique opportunity to rekindle the flame of the watchmaking sector that has been slowed down the last weeks.”
To that end, masks and hand sanitizer will be be made available to all exhibitors and will also be available in areas where people meet. “While social distancing measures will of course be strictly respected,” the press release from the Geneva Watch Days says, “this will in no way dampen the warm and friendly atmosphere desired and expected by all.”
The City and Canton of Geneva have been severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis, according to the organizers of the show, and their press release mentions the hospitality industry in particular. “Above and beyond their initial purely watchmaking vocation,” the release says, “Geneva Watch Days are also intended to bring a breath of fresh air to the local economy as a whole and to a city whose watchmaking industry is one of the brightest jewels in its crown.”
Stay tuned for lots of new watch releases from the above brands in late August. And that’s not all: The next installment of Watches & Wonders will take place in Shanghai just a couple of weeks later, from September 9-13.