Luxury watch brands pull back from annual Hong Kong fair

Watches & Wonders will now only happen every two years and will consider other cities as hosts.

HERO Watches & WondersThe twelve luxury watch brands exhibiting at the Watches & Wonders fair in Hong Kong have decided the event will no longer take place every year.

While not mentioning flat sales in China, they’ve announced that the fair, the prime one in Asia, will now be biennial, with other countries also being considered for future events.

The fair has been almost exclusively the domain of Richemont brands, namely A. Lange & Söhne, Baume & Mercier, Cartier, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Montblanc, Officine Panerai, Piaget, Richard Mille, Roger Dubuis, Vacheron Constantin, Van Cleef & Arpels. Audemars Piguet pulled out of the fair last year citing in part its proximity to the Geneva fair in January.

Mr Richard Mille at the fair in Hong Kong.
Mr Richard Mille at the fair in Hong Kong.

Organised by the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, the first Watches & Wonders fair took place in Hong Kong in 2013, while the latest, just months back in September 2015, welcomed more than 20,000 visitors including 800 journalists, an increase of 25 per cent on the previous year.

In that time however, sales of Swiss watches in Hong Kong – the largest importer of Swiss timepieces – have fallen 29.1 per cent and sales in China, the third largest importer, by 23.2 per cent according to The Federation of Swiss Watch Industries figures.

Sharing expertise at Watches & Wonders.
Sharing expertise at Watches & Wonders.

In a statement, the organisers say: “Building on this success in Asia, the organisers of Watches & Wonders will examine possibilities for duplicating the concept in other world regions, alternating with Hong Kong”.

The move, which is effective immediately, means the next Watches & Wonders event will be at the end of September 2017, again at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

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