CORDER’S COLUMN: Geneva Watch Days could be the sunlit uplands we need right now

Rob Corder, managing editor, WatchPro and managing director of Promedia. (Photo by Ausra Osipaviciute/ITP Images)

Today’s official announcement that Geneva Watch Days is being rescheduled is not big news — yet.

Its original dates for the last week of April have been impossible for weeks, and its postponement had already been assumed by most, including me.

The new dates, from August 26 to 29 make the event a very different proposition to the trade-focused event it would have been in April.


Timing of the two big Swiss shows, which have historically been over by the end of March, made them shows where only the media and trade executives got to see new collections, and the watches on show did not generally feed into retail for many months.

A show in August is very different. We hope that the world will be back open for business, and wealthy tourists will be flocking to Geneva bursting to indulge their passion for watches.

As we report today, Watches of Switzerland Group CEO Brian Duffy thinks there will be a rebound. “When it’s over – and at some point this is over – someone who wants to buy a Rolex, say, or an IWC, I believe still will,” he says.

Little wonder that Bulgari, Breitling, Ulysse Nardin, Girard-Perregaux, Gerald Genta, Urwerk, H. Moser & Cie, De Bethune and MB&F have already said they will participate, with an additional 15 to 20 brands are expected to join, according to the organising committee.

The plan remains for most brands to present their watches from 5-star hotel suites in Geneva, but there are also going to be retailers participating.

My hope is that many more brands that have their own stores in Geneva participate, and major retailers like Bucherer and Les Ambassadeurs also take part.

City authorities should also consider every idea to escalate and amplify the event into a celebration of watchmaking for the world to enjoy.

Of course, this all assumes the current Coronavirus crisis is in our rear view mirror by the end of August. I choose to believe it will.

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