By Brice Goulard
Until 2015, the SIHH, Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, organized by the FHH (Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie) was opened only to 16 brands, mostly the Richemont Group (Cartier, JLC, IWCÖ) and a few friends of the group (Parmigiani, Audemars or Greubel). In 2016, nine new independent brands came to join the show in the Carrè des Horlogers (MB&F, Urwerk, Laurent Ferrierö). For 2017, in a context that will certainly not be highly enthusiastic, SIHH will again evolve, by opening to the public for the first time and by welcoming seven new brands (two international ones and 5 new independents).
In an interview given to Le Temps, Fabienne Lupo, the President of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, gives a few indications on the future of the SIHH. First of all, the show, which was only opened to retailers and journalists, will now open its doors to public visitors on the Friday 20th of January 2017 ñ the SIHH will be open for the usual retailers and journalists from the 16th to the 20th January 2017. The entry will be rather expensive ñ around 70 or 80 Swiss Francs - but youíll have access to some of the most impressive brands.
To the question of the reasons of a public opening, Fabienne Lupo recalls the change of habits from final clients. More and more brands now have their own boutiques and less and less retailers. Ms. Lupo also evokes the fact that more and more sales are done outside the SIHH for retailers, who spread orders all over the years. Thus, exhibitors found harmful to invest so much in a salon without showing watches to their final clients, as most of them buy through official boutiques and not retailers.
The second major change concerns the comeback of Girard-Perregaux - the brand, before being acquired by Kering Group, was part of the SIHH. It is also rather natural to see GP coming back, as the brand was one of the founding members of the FHH, together with AP and the Richemont Group. The other brand of the Kering Group, Ulysse Nardin, will also join the SIHH 2017. No brand from the previous editions will go away and the spaces allocated to the brands will remain the same, meaning that the salon will also expand in terms of space, going from 40,000sqm to 45,000sqm.
Finally, after inviting nine independent brands to join the show in 2016, all located in a dedicated space named the "Carrè des Horlogers," the SIHH 2017 will welcome five new independent brands: RJ-Romain Jerome, Grˆnefeld, MCT, Ressence and Speake-Marin.
Final piece of news from Fabienne Lupo: a possible opening of a fair on the American continent (maybe Miami), just like the FHH did previously in Hong Kong, with Watches & Wonders (which is now every 2 years and not annual anymore). This American edition could open in 2018.