A major announcement came from Geneva yesterday that has surprised many in the high-end watchmaking world. The luxury watch trade show SIHH (Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie) that was established almost three decades back in Geneva, Switzerland will go by a new name starting in the calendar year 2020. SIHH from next year will be known as “Watches & Wonders Geneva.” The announcement was made by the FHH (Fondation Haute Horlogerie) – the organization funded by a group of luxury watch brands that organizes SIHH and Watches & Wonders events across the world. In addition to the change of name, the major event will adopt a completely new format. The rebranded watch trade show has been broken down to two components for 2020. The first of them is the Watches & Wonders-The Salon which will take place in the Palexpo, the large convention center in Geneva where the show has taken place for many years. However, it will be more open to the public from next year. Tickets to the show will be 300 CHF (about $300), which is considerably more than last year’s 60 CHF tickets which were restricted to only invited guests. The second part of the trade show will be W&W-In the City, which is going to be completely free and open to the public It will include activations in watch boutiques and private spaces throughout Geneva – a similar concept to the W&W shows that have been taking place in other parts of the world.
Watch shows, including SIHH and BaselWorld, have been struggling in the last few years with dwindling interest of watch collectors as well as top brands. This has forced the organizers to transform the event according to the changing times. Late last year, the organizers of SIHH and BaselWorld announced that starting from 2020 the two major watch industry exhibitions will be held in close succession. “Because it’s about more than watches, we chose a name that conveys a sense of wonder, excellence, openness and discovery; a different way to experience watchmaking. Watches & Wonders becomes the focal point for the exceptional talent, creativity and infinite innovation of the world’s leading watch and jewelry maisons,” said Fabienne Lupo, chairwoman and managing director of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie in a statement.