Watches and Wonders is set to take up a three-month residence in China, starting next month. The chief objective of the Mainland edition: To create a more immersive experience for watch enthusiasts.
Against the backdrop of the picturesque Hainan Island, the exhibition will provide a comprehensive overview of watchmaking history. It will create an educational area for the general public, focusing on the most notable complications. What’s more, a workshop is on the anvil and it will be supervised by a trainer for a more hands-on learning experience. In keeping with the theme of immersive experiences, the digital Time Design exhibition will highlight the evolution of wristwatches since their inception.
The news about this trip to Hainan, the southernmost island of China, broke right after it was announced that the prestigious Watches and Wonders trade show would be establishing its own not-for-profit organisation, Watches and Wonders Geneva Foundation (WWGF). The management will be overseen by a Foundation Board, with Jean-Frédéric Dufour as the Chairman, Emmanuel Perrin as the Vice-Chairman and Matthieu Humair as the CEO. Previously, Humair has been the CEO of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH).
The mission of the foundation is “to promote watchmaking excellence throughout the world”. They aim to organise in-person and digital exhibitions globally.
Before diving into the main event, Watches and Wonders is bringing the watch gala to Hainan from December 2, 2022 to February 28, 2023. Known for its tropical beaches and often referred to as ‘Eastern Hawaii’, Hainan appeals to a variety of tourists. As per an official statement, this short residency will “aim to create a timeless interlude…all the better to create an immersive experience”.
With the Chinese New Year festivities on January 22 next year, the exhibitions and encounters are expected to attract a lot of attention. The CDF Mall in Sanya and the newly opened CDF Mall in Haikou will serve as the venue for the cultural exhibition. In an 800-square metre space, an immersive village in four parts will be set up from scratch.
The Participating Maisons
Thirteen watchmaking Maisons will be displaying carefully curated collections, along with some special offerings. They include A. Lange & Söhne, Baume & Mercier, Cartier, Girard-Perregaux, Hermès, IWC Schaffhausen, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Montblanc, Panerai, Piaget, Roger Dubuis, Ulysse Nardin, and Vacheron Constantin. They will unveil their watch collections at the two malls, thereby providing visitors with an opportunity to discover exceptional pieces. There will also be in-store events showcasing the latest pieces from each Maison.
Through the lens of its new Grand Lange 1, A. Lange & Söhne will offer an overview of its history; IWC will be displaying its new Portofino collection and guests will be offered to pose with the watches; via an animation table, Cartier will provide guests with an opportunity to explore its Coussin, Pasha and Panthère creations. In addition to its Riviera watches, Baume & Mercier has developed an innovative Seed Vending Machine concept as per their commitment to sustainable watchmaking - needless to say, this will be on display. Lastly, guests will be invited to Montblanc’s Ink Bar to express themselves with postcards, featuring the latest models of the 1858 collection.
Marching towards the Main Event in Geneva
With Rolex, Richemont and Patek Philippe coming together to form this organisation, the excitement around the event has reached frenzied heights. The main event will be held from March 27 to April 2, 2023 in Palexpo, Geneva’s exhibition centre. About 50 brands will be opening their showcases for the public over the weekend.
The first five days will be reserved for the press, retailers and guests of the 49 exhibiting Maisons. The tickets will be available exclusively on the Watches and Wonders website (https://www.watchesandwonders.com/en/home).