Style / World of Watches (WOW)

WOW Spring 2018: An SIHH perspective of the Year

WOW Spring 2018 looks at the Year Ahead for Watchmaking through the lenses of SIHH and the overall business climate As WOW’s MARCH edition hits the newsstands, you will have discovered that 2018 is off to a positive note. In the December issue, my Predecessor noted that cryptocurrencies have come to at least one brand […]

Mar 29, 2018 | By Jonathan Ho

WOW Spring 2018 looks at the Year Ahead for Watchmaking through the lenses of SIHH and the overall business climate

As WOW’s MARCH edition hits the newsstands, you will have discovered that 2018 is off to a positive note. In the December issue, my Predecessor noted that cryptocurrencies have come to at least one brand in the industry, but as general consensus would have, almost all the brand CEOs I have spoken with do not agree that the virtual currencies are good stores of value. That said, they aren’t Ruling out accepting a highly regulated version of Bitcoin should One ever arise. Nevertheless, if the tepid performance of the last few years might have encouraged more than one CEO to embrace digital tender, improving market conditions will certain put an end to those notions.

WOW Spring 2018 looks at the Year Ahead for Watchmaking through the lenses of SIHH and the overall business climate

WOW Spring 2018 looks at the Year Ahead for Watchmaking through the lenses of SIHH and the overall business climate

Then again, watch sales are improving everywhere except in the United States. Which is odd, because they used to be one of the biggest markets around. What potential new developments have put an end to this primacy? Furthermore, while the narratives of yesteryear continue to abound the halls of SIHH and it is becoming apparent that  it’s not just some cynical money-grab but really, a great new way to introduce newcomers to watch mania about the various brand stories.

Furthermore, while the last three decades have been mostly about ever increasing wizardry on the movements, we’re finally seeing some innovation in cases, bracelets and even the faces of the watches. Finally, it looks like GPHG revival prize finally went to the least expected but the most deserving – Longines.

On our cover, the Longines Aviation BigEye is emblematic of the much lauded heritage for the Winged Hourglass. The BigEye is one of the many great timepieces from the first half of the 20th century. Outstandingly, it serves as a reminder of the many great chronograph calibres that made the brand one of the premier makers of chronographs of the era. Interestingly, Longines might no longer occupy its place on the Big Three, but nevertheless, the company is still pioneering some amazing developments on what might be reliable but otherwise run-of-the-mill ETA 7750 chronographs. It is not every day that a horological object of outstanding provenance is offered affordably to a new generation of consumers.

Associate Editor of WOW, Jonathan Ho says, “America’s biggest watch retailer, Torneau, is no more and it’s still anyone’s guess if ownership by Bucherer is enough to rescue the name but I think we will all remember 2018 as the year premium watch brands embraced closed casebacks and reduced prices even in once high end collections. While all the CEOs we have interviewed have downplayed the strategy of unabashed pushing of “affordable watches”, it remains to be seen whether diminished positioning and standing will end this practice.”

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