OK, Baselworld and Watches & Wonders have both been scratched from the calendar, with all the losses to manufacturers, stand builders, hotels, caterers, media outlets, security staff etc. Quite a lot of jobs are going to be lost this year in the luxury watch industry if the media panic over CoronaVirus continues.
Yes it’s serious, people have died. But the truth is more people die of regular flu every winter, and that doesn’t stop us going about our everyday business. This is a huge blow to the Swiss industry, albeit that Swatch Group and some other brands gave up on Baselworld a few years ago.
Assuming the hype subsides in a month or so, will we see any watch shows later in 2020?
Well the London Watch Show is scheduled to go ahead on Friday 3rd April – Sat April 4th at the Intercontinental Hotel, near the 02 Arena. Even if the government passes temporary laws banning large gatherings of say 5000 plus people, this is unlikely to affect a smaller, ticket only show like this one.
The Midland Watch and Clock Fair is scheduled to go ahead this Sunday 8th March, at the National Motorcycle Museum, which is located just south of Birmingham, quite well signed from the M42/M6. Having attended this fair a few times to buy vintage watches, I can say it is good for picking up project watches, straps and tools, books etc. The really nice watches tend to be priced high, but you can always make an offer – traders can always harrumph and retire behind their Sunday Express.
The Watch It fair on June 27th, held at Brownsover Hall Rugby looks like something very different indeed. There are lots of small scale manufactuers popping up all over USA and Europe, all sourcing Seiko/Citizen and Swiss movements, then finding cases, hands, straps etc from the thousands of parts suppliers worldwide. Hey presto – you’re a watchmaker!
OK, some of these new brands look very well assembled, such as Farer for example, others slightly less so. But if you’re in the market for a chunky divers style, or classic aviator, dress or field watch, with £200-£2000 to spend, then you’ll find something at this fair. There are also some beautiful vintage watches from traders such as Watches of Lancashire, plus things like framed prints of famous watch dials and movements to feed your passion.
The only downside is that this event is on for just five hours, so it probably will be a bit hectic around the stands. Great to see something unique in watch shows however, with a mix of new start-ups, accessories, vintage and modern Swiss all in the mix.