Digital and luxury
What should the luxury industry do with new technologies? With new possibilities come new challenges… How can the [...]
Last Friday I was lucky to attend the 2017 SIHH (Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie), famous luxury watchmaking salon held in Geneva, Switzerland. It was a first for me, and I had a great day! On this occasion, prestigious brands like Cartier, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin and 24 more maisons gather in the Palexpo hall to demonstrate their unique savoir-faire and present their new pieces. Along with Baselworld, the twin event held in year in Basel in March, the salons generates between 70% and 90% of the year revenue for the Swiss watchmakers. It is one of the highlights of the year, setting the trend: no wonder the stands are so elaborate, as 28 samples of grandiose.
There were 2 reasons why I was present at the SIHH this year. First, I find watchmaking fascinating. During my visit, I encountered several watchmakers (at A. Lange & Söhne and Audemars Piguet), who demonstrated their savoir-faire. I was even lucky to hold a few extremely tiny pieces with a tweezer. Something that looked a lot like a broken silver string turned out to be a chain, just like a bike one, only very very small! To see the different components, you need a magnifier. Some watches require up to 1 man-year to assemble.
In a few words, the stands at the SIHH were, thus representing the watchmaking industry itself, a delicate balance of creation and technology, a perfect mix of arts and skills.
The second reason of my presence at the SIHH is that I work a lot with the luxury industry, and especially watchmakers. As a UX consultant, I design and improve their digital interfaces, from e-commerce websites to productivity internal applications. Knowing my clients’ industry is the best way for me to be relevant in my job.
I had a fabulous day at the salon, going from a stand to another, discovering each time a new universe and unique pieces of art and technology. I was happy to meet several co-workers and get to know more about prestigious brands. In a few words, the stands at the SIHH were, thus representing the watchmaking industry itself, a delicate balance of creation and technology, a perfect mix of arts and skills. At the end of the day, here are my favorite moments:
1. Presentation of the new pieces at Baume & Mercier
A private collector was explaining to me that he came to the salon this year to discover the new pieces. He was very happy to be invited to try them at Baume & Mercier. Did you know you can make leather from truits (yes, the fish)?
2. Augmented reality watch try-out at Jaeger-LeCoultre
Entering the stand, a hostess would give me a very special bracelet. When placed under a tablet close to the displays, it would turn my bracelt into a watch, allowing me to virtually try it on my wrist. It was very well done and worked perfectly on my hand: what do you think?
3. Watchmaker savoir-faire demonstration at A. Lange & Söhne and Audemars Piguet
They are the savoir-faire behind the scenes, the passion behind the luxury: a few watchmakers were present at the salon, and met a huge success presenting a few tools, materials and explaining their challenges.
4. Virtual reality video at Roger Dubuis
Roger Dubuis’ stand was futuristic, with fluo zebras sculpting the area. They proposed to discover the new pieces in a virtual reality video, with VR glasses and headphones on.
5. Discover exceptional pieces and innovations at the Carré des Horlogers
The Carré des Horlogers is dedicated to smaller, very innovating and exclusive watchmaker: a glimpse into the future of watchmaking…