The watch world’s calendar is packed with meet-ups, fairs, auctions, conferences and awards ceremonies.
When the mechanical watchmaking renaissance hit its stride in the early 2000s, the Swiss watch industry had just one main event: the Baselworld watch and jewelry show, a trade fair held every spring in the river port city of Basel, Switzerland.
Two decades later, the trade’s event calendar is packed with meet-ups, fairs, auctions, conferences and awards ceremonies. To help make sense of the fall 2023 schedule, we’ve highlighted a handful of goings-on, from a pair of New York City buying fairs to the watch industry’s answer to the Oscars.
RedBar global meet-up
This coming weekend as many as 200 members of the RedBar Group, the watch industry’s largest collectors group, with around 90 chapters worldwide, are expected to gather in Edinburgh, Scotland’s hilly capital, to ogle, buy and talk watches.
“It’s just watch nerds hanging out,” Kathleen McGivney, the group’s New York-based chief executive, said recently.
The schedule includes a buying fair with a dozen exhibitors, including the Britain-based microbrands anOrdain, Christopher Ward, Farer and Fears; visits to local watch boutiques; and two evening parties. Oct. 1-2
WatchTime New York and
Windup Watch Fair
Thousands of watch lovers are poised to descend on Manhattan in late October for a pair of concurrent buying shows, WatchTime New York at Gotham Hall in Midtown and the Windup Watch Fair at the Altman Building on West 18th Street.
“New York’s become the destination for collectors,” said Minda Larsen, WatchTime New York’s event director.
Founded in 2015, WatchTime grew out of a series of post-Baselworld collector dinners that took place around the United States starting in 2004. This year’s show — which begins with a V.I.P. party on Friday, Oct. 20, and includes weekend panel discussions and presentations — is set to feature 36 brands, including the first-time exhibitors Ulysse Nardin, Piaget, Roger Dubuis and H. Moser & Cie.
The Windup Fair, 18 blocks downtown, is expected to cater to a more value-conscious crowd than WatchTime and plans roughly twice as many exhibitors, including a new crop of EDC (“everyday carry”) makers selling watches, knives and apparel. The show owes its accessibility to its organizer, Worn & Wound, the online watch publication often credited with helping to give birth to the microbrand watch category.
“The brands are very welcoming,” said Zach Weiss, the co-founder and chief creative officer of Worn & Wound.
In addition to featuring 27 new exhibitors, which include the movement maker Miyoda, Windup New York will serve as a platform for new releases, with plenty of buying opportunities, said Blake Malin, the co-founder and chief executive of Worn & Wound.
“The marquee brands, even those selling at higher price points, sell dozens of watches over the weekend,” Mr. Malin said. Oct. 20-22
G.P.H.G. awards ceremony
Since 2001, the industry’s best and brightest brands have competed in the annual Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (G.P.H.G.), an Academy Awards-like watch design competition that culminates in a ceremony at the Théâtre du Léman in Geneva.
The 2023 competition, which highlights timepieces in 15 categories, including “men’s complication,” “jewelry” and “challenge” (restricted to watches that retail for 2,000 Swiss francs, about $2,264, or less), has attracted 230 entries. They include 56 from non-Swiss brands, said Raymond Loretan, president of the G.P.H.G.
“For a long time, this prize was understood as a Swiss watch promotion, but it’s opening up and becoming quite universal,” he added.
The ceremony will be live-streamed on the G.P.H.G. website. As at the Oscars, winners will be announced in real time.
The finalists in each wristwatch category, 84 timepieces in total, are scheduled to take part in an international roadshow that begins in Macau on Sept. 25 and concludes in Zurich on Dec. 3, with stops in Hong Kong; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; New York; Geneva; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Nov. 9
November watch auctions
Live auctions, which are typically held in late spring and late fall in the watch world’s three major cities of Geneva, Hong Kong and New York, are one of the important barometers for sales trends.
At press time, all eyes were on Hong Kong and Geneva, while dates and details for the New York sales were still being completed.
On Nov. 23, Phillips’s 17th watch auction in Hong Kong will feature a rare five-piece set of 38-millimeter stainless steel wristwatches made by F.P. Journe, including a Tourbillon Souverain and a Chronomètre à Résonance.
At Christie’s Hong Kong auction on Nov. 26, the highlight is a single-owner sale of 150 lots from the “OAK (One of A Kind) Collection,” including a vintage Audemars Piguet Ref. 5516 perpetual calendar wristwatch; a unique piece by the independent brand Akrivia; and a vintage Breguet that once belonged to the French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, said Alexandre Bigler, Christie’s vice president and head of watches in the Asia-Pacific region.
For many watch aficionados, however, the high point of the season is the Only Watch auction on Nov. 5 in Geneva. The event, held every other year to raise money for research on Duchenne muscular dystrophy through the sale of one-off timepieces, includes 62 lots by an eclectic mix of brands, from the independent maker ArtyA to Patek Philippe.
Dubai Watch Week
Networking opportunities abound at this biennial gathering of brands, educators and collectors founded in 2015 by Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, a regional multibrand retailer.
The sixth edition of Dubai Watch Week, which is free and open to the public, will occupy more than 100,000 square feet at the Gate at the Dubai International Financial Centre, the city’s financial hub.
The gathering is best known for its panel discussions, which this year are set to include a critical look at collaborations in the luxury watch trade and a debate about whether a policy of exclusivity risks alienating some clients.
The event is expected to feature more than 50 exhibiting brands, many of which are planning to use the occasion to introduce new timepieces, according to Hind Seddiqi, director general of Dubai Watch Week. Nov. 16-20