Hong Kong finally has its very own watch fair, and it’s about time (couldn’t resist).
Watches & Wonders is Asia’s first haute horlogerie exhibition, and having spent years running around the vast grounds of BaselWorld and freezing in Geneva for Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH to those whose eyes just glazed over), I have to say I’m glad luxury timepieces have tic tocked their way to our shores.
The fair officially starts today, and the booths of the 13 participating brands are some of the most stunning ones seen within the halls of the HKCEC. The location is certainly convenient, but more importantly, the fair illustrates the growing appreciation the Chinese market has for luxury timepieces.
It wasn’t so long ago that fun tech was prized over fine watchmaking, and the scores of fakes across the border also had their role to play. Nowadays, however, there seems to be a genuine interest in movements, complications and craftsmanship, not to mention a certain pride in knowing how a tourbillon works and what people really mean when they start pontificating on the “equation of time”. Now, watch collectors aren’t the only ones going glassy-eyed over Vacheron Constantin’s latest complication. The market has gotten a lot less intimidating and a lot more open, and for those whose tastes run towards visual impact rather than clicking gears, the metiers d’art and jewellery lines within luxury brands are something to behold (Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels quickly come to mind).