This week I returned from a business trip to Switzerland where myself and a good customer went to see what the world’s top watch houses would be introducing in 2015
In a word….Wow.
Let me try to paint a picture! Imagine visiting a beautifully appointed Rolex store and then transporting it into a massive exhibition centre along with probably 250 other luxury companies and you have perhaps one of the most luxury exhibitions in the world.
These beautiful exhibition units cost between £1-4 million euros, take a month to build, are taken down and used the following year and have a 10 year life. I understand that Hublot’s stand cost circa 2.5 million euros but they took orders for 250 million euros of watches so perhaps not such a bad investment.
The Basel Watchfair is predominantly for the trade to come and see the new watches and jewellery and then order stock for the next year. Although members of the public can enter the show at £40 per day it is mainly retail dealers that frequent the show.
I expect over two days we probably walked over 4 miles and viewed hundreds of watches. The main brands like Rolex, Omega, Patek Philippe and Breitling were sadly behind glass however the more specialist low volume brands were more approachable and I had the great pleasure of wearing some timepieces that exceeded £250,000.
Visiting Switzerland is a tad expensive. Having booked last minute we found that local accommodation triples in price for the Basel week and as a result we stayed 34kms away from the venue. Having finished day one we returned by a Swiss taxi to our hotel. When we arrived the meter read 175 Swiss Francs which was equal to £110!! For the remainder of our trip we hired a French taxi and agreed a fixed price.
For anyone that loves watches and jewellery I would really recommend a visit.