Last year’s virtual Watches and Wonders was forgivably dull. I cannot recall a single watch launched at the online series of webinars, although I managed to see many of the 2020 collections in stores over the course of last summer.
They were nice.
I forgive the tedium of the digital presentations last year because covid was brand new to the world when it made physical events impossible and businesses were right to focus on cost cutting and cash management.
A huge amount of time and money had gone into exhibitions that had to be cancelled at short notice, and nobody had much time to think of anything better to replace them.
A year on and I feel less generous, and the approaching Watchesandwonders.com presentation fills me with dread.
The fact that the oversight committee at La Fondation de Haute Horlogerie is holding a proper show in China, ground zero for the pandemic, even makes me angry, particularly as my request to attend has already been declined.
Of course it is right that there are no mass gatherings in Europe this spring, that much was obvious from around October when the second wave began, and it would be irresponsible to suggest that international travel should be back on the agenda this side of May.
But, because it was obvious from the autumn that alternatives would need to be found, I hope time and talent has been devoted to making this year’s online presentations as theatrical and fun as possible from the multi-billion dollar groups.
Here are a few suggestions:
First, I want to see inside Rolex, the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory of the Swiss watch industry.
Why not have Jean-Frederique Dufour in ivy green top hat and tails showing around wide-eyed actors or models.
Submariners tumbling over a waterfall of liquid Rolesor gold would be nice. Children turning funny colours after eating gems from a candy Daytona could inform and entertain. I could go on.
Omega should team up with Elon Musk and Steven Spielberg to create a space-themed odessy with a futuristic story arc, not just a rehash of 1969.
Georges Kern could star in a remake of Easy Rider with a bit of Breitling product placement.
Patek Philippe and Richard Curtis could do something weepy with fathers and sons.
TAG Heuer should send a Steve McQueen hologram into every home.
I gave this list two minutes thought and I’ve already cheered myself up a bit.
Imagine what Richemont, LVMH, Swatch Group, Rolex, Patek Philippe, Chopard, Chanel, Breitling, etc, could do with a full year of planning.