Reports by Tsang Shuk-wa
Small-scale luxury event now has more brands showcasing their latest collections with new features to entice buyers
The annual international luxury watch fair Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva was a nice change of pace after the hustle and bustle of BaselWorld 2004.
Not that SIHH was any less breathtaking. If anything, the smaller-scale fair - with just 16 watch brands - was as glamorous, if not more so.
It was launched in 1990 by the Richemont Group, owner of a handful of important brands, as an alternative to the Basel event. It provides an elaborate showcase for dealers and a chance to woo members of the media with first-class transfers, fine gourmet dining, free-flowing beverages and organised briefing sessions.
Apart from the 11 brands in the Richemont stable - A. Lange & Sohne, Alfred Dunhill, Baume & Mercier, Cartier, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Montblanc, Officine Panerai, Piaget, Vacheron Constantin, and Van Cleef & Arpels - five other brands join the prestigious lineup - Audemars Piguet, Roger Dubuis, JeanRichard, Parmigiani Fleurier and Girard-Perregaux.
The 16 brands are said to account for almost a third of the value of all luxury timepieces sold worldwide.
The Richemont Group last year reported group sales of Euro3.65 billion (HK$34.09 billion) and a profit of Euro259 million.
This represented a significant share of the market, despite the fact sales were down from Euro3.86 billion and profit from Euro482 million reported for the year before.
While SIHH does not release official attendance or business statistics, it was estimated the show was attended by more than 10,000 visitors.