Last year, the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) celebrated its 25th anniversary, but the watch fair will be rejuvenated in 2016 by the addition of nine independent watch brands, most of which are still fairly new to the watch industry.
No word yet on how the changes will affect SIHH’s main competitor, the Baselworld watch fair. Brands such as MB&F, Urwerk, De Bethune and HYT had been exhibiting their novelties there for many years. No brand currently exhibits at both fairs, and already it looks like some of SIHH’s new residents will be switching allegiance altogether. Yesterday, HYT CEO Vincent Perriard said of the SIHH it was “the most prestigious watch show in the world.”
This will be the first time so many independent brands exhibit at once. And in an extraordinary turn of events, this means the SIHH will host more independent brands (13) than Richemont brands (11). Most of the new brands were already presenting novelties during SIHH, although they had to meet with press and clients away from the fair, in various hotels around the Swiss city.
The nine brands joining the SIHH will be regrouped inside the “Carré des Horlogers” (French for Watchmakers’ Plaza), taking the booth reserved in previous years for Ralph Lauren. According to Luc Perramond, its new CEO, the American brand leaves to focus on its home market next year.
From five exhibitors sharing 4,500 square metres in 1991 to 24 brands squeezed inside a space ten times larger, the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie has displayed a capacity to evolve along the years. But since its inception, the fair has welcomed independent brands. Gérald Genta and Daniel Roth led the way in 1991 and while neither one remains, Richard Mille and Greubel Forsey continue the fair’s proud independent tradition since 2010.