Today marks the start of Baselworld, the annual fine jewelry and watches show in Basel, Switzerland where top luxury brands, buyers and the press meet as new creations are unveiled and industry trends are set for the year.
Baselworld continues to modernize, and with more exhibition space added in 2013 plus 1,500 brands presenting and 150,000 attendees, there’s no lack of innovation to take in. To help navigate the most important happenings, we turned to Senior Director of Fine Jewelry & Watches Michael Groffenberger. Here, he breaks down his top five trends to watch at Baselworld 2015.
1. New Pricing For New Models
“Pricing will be one of the hot topics of the 2015 show. Presenters at Baselworld have a little bit more of a cushion than the presenters at SIHH who were blindsided by the Swiss currency changes. They have likely been discussing pricing strategy for the past several weeks and reworking their pricing on new models to make them more palatable in the U.S. and elsewhere. I would not expect too many brands to change pricing on existing models as they will want to keep the show focused on new pieces and moving forward.”
2. The Impact Of Smart Watches
“Expect the Apple watch to be the buzz of the show for watch brands in the $1k-2k price range. It is not likely that Rolex, Omega or Patek Philippe will be too concerned with the watch, but brands like Longines and TAG Heuer will be very focused on this potential threat. I would not be surprised if they try to enter the market themselves, which would be a mistake.”
3. New Rolex Models
“Rolex debuted the new calibre 3255 movement, which is twice as precise as the standards set by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute. This shows that they are continuing to dial up their quality even when they don’t have to. And they probably won’t stop there.”
“Rolex will likely continue to round out the redesign of their GMT and Daytona models, with additions to the steel collection. Be on the lookout for a blue and red ceramic GMT 2 in steel and a steel Daytona with the ceramic bezel. It is also the 100th anniversary of Rolex, but they are not the most nostalgic company so I doubt there will be anything earth-shattering.”
4. Eyes On The American Market
“Brands that were previously dependent on the Asian market will start to build out more models and collections that appeal to American consumers, as the focus of the industry starts to shift back to a country with deep pockets and less volatility. Blancpain and Breguet are the brands to watch here.”
5. Something More From Patek Philippe
“I hope to see Patek Philippe recover from what was a somewhat disappointing anniversary release this past fall. I expected a much more exciting collection of watches from the storied brand, and perhaps they saved the best for Basel.”