The Salon International de la Haute Horlogerieexternal link (SIHH) returns for the 25th time on Monday. Just days after the shock ending of the ceiling on the Swiss franc, the industry has been left wondering what impact this will have on a largely export-led business.
Back in 1991, five exhibitors, five days and 4,500 square metres paved the way for the SIHH, a venture which brought together a handful of prestigious watch-making houses.
“From what were indeed modest beginnings, the SIHH quickly grew,” recalls Fabienne Lupo, the salon’s managing director. “Some Maisons have left while others have joined as groups have formed within the sector. The exhibiting Maisons defend a tradition that draws on breakthroughs in new technologies.”
With 16 exhibitors – 12 belonging to the Richemont group – sharing close to 40,000 square metres, the SIHH 2015 at Geneva’s Palexpo is expected to attract some 15,000 professionals, including 1,500 journalists.
“It’s true that the drop in the price of oil and the sharp devaluation of the rouble are recent phenomena, but I don’t think that at this stage they are likely to jeopardise the arrival of professionals from those countries,” she said.
The luxury watch brands however have yet to calculate how much the added complication of a now very strong Swiss franc will cost them.