Timely event to boost market sentiment
The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) expects this year's Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair to be even more successful and appealing than previous years, with new elements giving the event extra dash.
'We believe that the new elements - an open day for the public to visit the 'Brand Name Gallery' and the setting up of a new zone, 'Pageant of Eternity', for high-end watches - at this year's fair will bring more value for participants,' said Raymond Yip, assistant executive director of the HKTDC, organiser of the fair.
The 28th edition of the fair will be held from today until Sunday at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai and will feature more than 700 exhibitors from 17 countries and regions.
The mainland, South Korea and Taiwan are setting up their own group pavilions following on from the success of these last years.
The Watch & Clock Fair is the world's largest timepiece event. For the first time, it will be open to the public for one day, with entry to the 'Brand Name Gallery' on the last day by ticket admission. The HKTDC hopes the last day, being a Sunday, will attract more members of the public.
The long-running 'Brand Name Gallery' showcases original and licensed branded watches and clocks, fashion labels and designer collections.
It will display more than 100 watch brands from 13 countries and regions, including o.d.m. Design & Marketing from Hong Kong, Tonino Lamborghini from Italy, Angel Heart from Japan, Foce from South Korea, Jacob Jensen from the Netherlands and Cyril Ratel from Switzerland.
'The aim of having the public day for the 'Brand Name Gallery' is to enhance the awareness and knowledge of the public towards branded timepieces,' Yip said. There will be no on-the-spot sales.
Exhibitor o.d.m. believes that the public day will be beneficial to local visitors. Sarah So, o.d.m.'s business development manager, said: 'The Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair has always been an exhibition on a trade level. By opening up to the public, more people can get a feel of this dynamic industry and learn more about one of the major industries in Hong Kong.'
Hitoshi Terada, executive director of Time Module (HK), said that the public day would bring some advantage to the local watch and clock industry because it would 'strengthen the brand name of the industry and help it survive'.
New zone 'Pageant of Eternity' will showcase luxury complete watches and will contribute to the upscale ambience of the fair.
Yip said that watches were more than just necessities; they were fashion accessories and 'Pageant of Eternity' would reflect this trend.
The difference between 'Brand Name Gallery' and 'Pageant of Eternity' is that the former will showcase branded luxury watches and clocks whereas the latter will showcase complete luxury watches. Other major exhibit categories include complete watches and clocks, parts and components, equipment, machinery, packaging and trade services.
Exhibitors, who have participated in many editions of the fair, said the main reason they kept on coming back was the attention the fair created for them.
o.d.m. has taken part in the fair for 10 years and keeps coming back to gain more market exposure, especially in the firm's target market, the mainland.
Terada said the fair was an important opportunity to expand business.
Gordon Li, manager of Condor (HK), said the fair attracted targeted customers and so provided immediate feedback.
Although the Watch & Clock Fair has a solid reputation, exhibitors fear that the poor economy may affect visitor turnout. 'The watch and clock business has already slowed down due to the economic crisis and some countries that were badly hit may need more time to recover, so visitor numbers from those countries may decrease,' Li said.
So also said the visitor turnout would be affected to a certain extent, especially for visitors outside Asia.
But, she added, the economy was gradually picking up and that next year's fair should reflect this improvement.