Watches & Wonders Miami, which takes place from February 15 to 17, is shaping up to be the biggest event of its kind in America this year.
The event was only launched last year by Fondation Haute Horlogerie (FHH), the organization behind SIHH in Geneva, in conjunction with the Miami Design District Associates (MDDA), and the 2019 outing will be considerably bigger with 12 new brands taking part.
It comes a month after SIHH and will be the first time watches first unveiled at the Geneva show will be presented in the United States.
This year’s new participants are De Bethune, Dior, Girard-Perregaux, H. Moser & Cie., HYT, Omega, Roger Dubuis, Speake-Marin, Tiffany & Co., Ulysse Nardin, Zenith, and Turkish jeweler, Sevan Biçakçi, which recently launched a luxury timepiece collection.
Returning exhibitors include A. Lange & Söhne, Audemars Piguet, Bulgari, Cartier, F.P. Journe, Hublot, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Kari Voutilainen, Louis Vuitton, Panerai, Piaget, Romain Gauthier, RJ, Tag Heuer, Vacheron Constantin and Van Cleef & Arpels.
Multibrand retailers like Tourbillon, which is owned by Swatch Group, are also located in the Miami Design District.
While Switzerland’s major exhibitions are grappling with how to appeal to end consumers as well as trade executives and press, Watches & Wonders Miami has catered to all constituents from its first year.
The event is centered around the upmarket Miami Design District, which is home to many branded boutiques for the world’s biggest watchmakers including Cartier, Omega, Panerai, Vacheron Constantin and Piaget, which means watch enthusiasts, connoisseurs and collectors can browse and buy watches.
Many of the launches in Miami are still under wraps, but Piaget has said it will be displaying its record-breaking Altiplano Concept timepiece, the thinnest in the world. Dior will unveil a new personalization service for its Dior Grand Bal watch. Hublot will have artwork on display throughout the weekend from renowned artist, Michael Moebius. Jaeger-LeCoultre will showcase the maison’s know-how by featuring various craft stations in their boutique for guests to experience. Patrick Pruniaux, CEO of Ulysse Nardin and Girard-Perregaux, is expected to attend Watches & Wonders Miami and host the global launch of a new watch from Ulysse Nardin, the X Collection, designed to appeal to a younger clientele.
There will also be a larger conference and workshop series at the event. Five panel discussions will be held over the course of the weekend and include topics such as ‘Can Women Save the Watch World,’ ‘What’s the Point of Watch Creation,’ and ‘Getting Your Super Collector All-Access Pass.’
Expert panelists will include collectors, executives from premier luxury brands and auction houses, major retailers and top journalists. There will be three workshops offered a day where attendees will have the hands-on opportunity to assemble and disassemble watch movements.
“We are continuously looking at ways to expand and evolve our signature events around the world, always with a focus on building understanding, awareness and interest in fine watchmaking,” says Fabienne Lupo, chairwoman and managing director of the Fondation Haute Horlogerie. “Watches and Wonders Miami has quickly become a must attend, and the premier event for maisons to connect directly with the end consumer.”