Reinforcing the dreams, emotions and the connection we have to time and timepieces, there’s true magic in a physical gathering. After two years of digital, this year’s Watches & Wonders in Geneva was a reminder that nothing can replace or replicate the joy of meeting people in person and experiencing a watch on your wrist. The appreciation of quality materials and finishes of a watch, its weight and finer detailing, and its heartbeat can never be replaced by an NFT. While the diary filled up fast with presentation meetings and formal interviews, it was often the impromptu in-between encounters with complete strangers where I found the most insights.
Luxury is not about fleeting trends, but the industry is certainly responsible for establishing a few. Innovation and creativity are at the heart of the watch industry and even in times that call for a little austerity and conscious consumption, there is ongoing refinement, fresh ideas, and of course, fantasy. There was plenty to highlight the industry’s great prowess as innovators and the purveyors of dreams. From elegant to bold statements in dial designs or the mechanical wonder of high complications, brands captured the renewed energy and that of the approaching summer, when it is hoped their products will be worn in full view.
Sustainability was definitely present on the agenda of the last two years of virtual fairs, but it was clear this year that the time for real action from the industry had arrived. There is something about meeting face-to-face that always seals a deal. From new initiatives to innovation and design, transparency, ethical sourcing and circularity, all panel discussions at W&W2022 addressed the pressing social-ecological crisis, while revealing the promise of a more “sustainable luxury” future.