The London Watch Show closed yesterday after two days of trading at the Freemasons Hall.
This was the first edition of the show and marked an important moment for the UK watch industry with the creation of the first UK trade show dedicated to watches.
The London Watch Show was attended by 700 industry professionals and played hosts to 48 watch brands, some of which were exhibiting for the very first time in the UK.
The show kicked off with a press breakfast on Tuesday July 2nd. More than 200 members of the press attended the show, which was opened by Patek Philippe UK managing director and School of Watchmaking director Mark Hearn.
Opening the show, Hearn said: “For many years the UK market has lacked a venue and event to give a variety of brands the opportunity to show what they have had to offer. Thank you to the organisers, ITP Promedia and WatchPro, for having the foresight of doing this. From the beginning it has had my support in terms of both my Patek Philippe role and the British School of Watchmaking."
Many of the UK’s top watch journalists and publications attended the show, including representatives from the BBC and national publications such as The Independent, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, the Economist, City AM and GQ. Specialist journalists from titles including QP, 00/24 and Escapement attended the show as well as influential fashion bloggers.
Retail buyers at the show came from many of the UK’s top independent retailers as well as the multiples and London department stores. There were also non-watch specialist retailers such as fashion stores and design stores.
Retailer visitors included representatives of Wave, Berry’s, Gallio Jewellers, WatchWarehouse, DM London, QVC, Signet, Identity the Jewellers, Pressleys, Charles Fish, John Pass Jewellers, Selfridges, Amazon and Debenhams.
Christopher Warner of Identity the Jewellers in Derby said: “We were very impressed with the London Watch Show. We have spotted some cool new brands and some brilliant new designs. It was well worth a visit.”
David Mason London Watches was one of the British watch brands at the show. Head of business development Cos Costas said: "Our eventual goal is to make a purely British watch, so a watch show based in London is great. The key for this event is for us to approach retailers and get into a retail market and a show like this is important to get that exposure."
London Watch Show organiser ITP Promedia, the publisher of WatchPro magazine, is already in negotiations with London venues to create a watch show that is four times bigger in 2014, expanding the show into a three-day event and opening to the public as well as to trade buyers.
Event director Daniel Malins said: "The London Watch Show proved beyond doubt that the British industry deserves and desires an annual trade event that brings together brands, retailers, press and other passionate professionals. The reaction from exhibitors and visitors suggests that there is an overwhelming demand for this show to get bigger and better every year. Everybody recognises that there is a collective responsibility to drive this forward, and we are fully committed to lead that charge.
"Freemasons’ Hall was an incredible setting for the first London Watch Show, but we know we have to be bigger next year, and we have already short listed a couple of venues that will allow us to expand to four times as big. However, we are also going to continue with the theme of creating a visually spectacular event in a landmark building. We’ll be announcing that venue in the coming weeks.
"We would like to thank all the retailers and press for attending the London Watch Show. We know how precious time is to these people, and it is testament to the importance of the watch industry that so many visited the exhibition."