The Geneva Watch Fair, the first big event of the year for the world of luxury, opens Monday in a more relaxed way, despite geopolitical uncertainties, after a return of Swiss exports of watches last year.
In the past year, watch exports have increased from month to month, mainly due to the renewed interest of Chinese consumers in luxury goods, although they had a hesitant evolution in autumn.
If the figures for the whole year are published at the end of January, the export of watches has already increased by 7.1% between January and the end of November, according to the watch federation data, a clear acceleration due to a 2.7% growth in the year 2017, which showed a positive result after two difficult years.
For four days, large luxury brands such as Cartier, Piaget or Richard Mille will present their new collections at the International Haute Horlogerie (SIHH). They give a first impression of the trends in luxury but also their expectations for luxury. year that starts.
"In 2018 we found a real growth in the timepiece," said Guillaume de Seynes, a director of Hermes, in an interview with AFP, saying that, so far, "2019 is a bit in the same spirit".
For this 29th edition watchmakers show "some confidence" after this year of recovery, more specifically, for the famous Fabienne Lupo, the director of the show, during a conference call prior to the event.
"But the watchmakers are cautious people and we are not in euphoric times," she said, noting that watchmakers have to deal with a large geopolitical instability in this sector that is very sensitive to tourist flows but also very dependent on China, one of its most important export markets.
The fair, held this year from January 14-17, brings together 35 brands and highlights the claws of the Richemont group, the largest competitor of the French LVMH, whose watch brands show, their innovations at the competitive fair in Basel. , and Kering, for its part with the Girard-Perregaux and Ulysse Nardin brands.