Baselworld is absolutely fascinating for its all-encompassing display of the watch industry’s hold on the world. The horology business has all those brands placing their mark on a watch, certainly, but certain others, such as Chanel and Louis Vuitton, have invested heavily and built their own manufactures complete with Swiss artisans and limited production to ensure high quality timepieces.
For a big brand such as Mikimoto, this is not, of course, about watches, but about jewellery, and jewellery is a bigger part of Baselworld as each year goes by. In fact, an entire new pavilion was erected two years ago simply to accommodate the growing demand from jewellers to be able to showcase at the fair.
Another huge uptick is in brands known not for jewellery, and not for watches either, for that matter, but who are diversifying and using watchmaking as a large component of their efforts to market, to in a way keep themselves front of mind for their loyal customers. While you can certainly find the usual suspects, such as Swarovski, Armani, Gucci, Fendi, you can also find watch boutiques here for Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bentley. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.
It’s anything but business as usual, here. The complexity of the watch industry, and increasingly that of the jewellery industry, are on vivid display, in a kind of couture week that rivals anything else on earth.