Wearable tech and elegance lead trends at the 36th edition of this annual event.
Relief was in the air at the conclusion several weeks ago of the 36th Hong Kong Watch and Clock Fair, which annually sets the pace for the upcoming major watch industry events in Geneva and Basel. Particularly regarding watches and clocks at the mid-and lower prices ranges, when compared to other global timepiece events this massive fair annually displays wares demonstrating a wider variety of manufacturing, design and purpose.
Exhaling could be heard around the show as last year’s nervousness appears to have dissipated. Instabilities remain but with positive direction as the Richemont luxury group reported that its sales for the five months through August increased by 12% at constant exchange rates and by 10% at actual exchange rates.
“The strong performance in Asia Pacific was supported by double digit increases in most markets, including China and Hong Kong,” according to the report. Similarly, the Swatch Group in their half-year report showed sales growth of 2.9% at constant rates.
Every year Chinese watch production shows a growing understanding of how to be in the company of the best European luxury watchmakers. What we can see year by year is a huge advance of the quality and finish, now more clearly part of the established pattern of high-end manufacture here. At this 2017 Hong Kong fair we especially noted the quality of manufacture and advances in artistic subtlety.
Stylistically this year there has been a seismic shift to minimalism, evident in almost very maker’s range. Echoing the elegance based on minimalism seen, for example, in products from German watchmaker Nomos, displays at this show indicate that the rest of the world has now caught on.
The other attention-getter this year is the Billionaire Tourbillon Watch from Jacob & Co, an exceedingly non-minimal timepiece that sells for an eye-watering $20.4 million. Never mind the beautiful skeletonized tourbillon movement, the Billionaire Tourbillon Watch features 239 emerald-cut diamonds, including one single three-carat stone, with the total weight amounting to 260 carats. Very deep velvet pockets needed here.
Wearable tech is the name seen here embracing smart watches, which have evolved into something much broader than a timepiece with add-ons. Indeed for most wearable tech now, showing the time is a very minor part of the functionality. Apple Watch is now only a part of the wide and clever spectrum of shrewd add-on providers defining this class today.
WTs now range from children’s toys through to a traceable children’s watch and on to full health reporting and communication functions. While most rely on the smartphone for connectivity the very latest are even independent of this platform. Indeed, a full salon here presented a vast selection of branded smart watches with the latest technologies and functionalities.
Cupid Memory from Hong Kong brings its namesake collection with a patented strap that features near-field communication (NFC) technology as well as a QR code. Users can tap the watch with an NFC-enabled mobile phone or scan the QR code.
Next year’s Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair is set to begin September 4th, 2018. See http://m.hktdc.com/fair/hkwatchfair-en/s/2321-General_Information/HKTDC-Hong-Kong-Watch-and-Clock-Fair/Fair-Details.html