Press Release / BASELWORLD 2008 Press Day / April 2nd 2008
Creations of enduring magic
Welcome to BASELWORLD 2008!Once again, the Swiss exhibitors are happy to present their latest creations to you, the fruit of fantastic work throughout the whole sector: watchmakers, jewellers, designers, craftsmen and engineers. Buoyed up by the incredible success of Swiss exports in 2007, the sector is booming, with suppliers and sub-contractors having trouble meeting demand and substantial investment being made in new industrial tools, a sure sign that the whole watch sector can count on a promising future.
A flood of chronographs, both original and functional, await you at BASELWORLD 2008! Countdown functions and multiple time zones are also given star billing. Many basic movements have been enhanced with rotors, often pierced and exquisitely decorated, like so many small mechanical jewels that can be admired through transparent case-backs. Some fashion houses have begun introducing their own movements, giving them a well-deserved legitimacy in the watch world. As a result, women’s watches are no longer confined to the category of fashion accessories, but have become genuine timepieces in their own right, housing quality mechanical movements in the purest Swiss tradition.
The tourbillon, that star of complications, has been given back its original function: a mechanism designed to negate the variations of time in a vertical position. Some brands have positioned it off-centre, others have concealed it. Date mechanisms – annual or perpetual – have made a discreet comeback.
Pointing to possible industrial development, silicon escapements, traditionally limited to specialised watches, are now being used in models produced in series.
When it comes to dials, Swiss designers have outdone each other in terms of ingenuity and creativity, introducing interlacing discs, coupled movements, multi-levelled counters and dancing retrograde hands. In keeping with their tradition of excellence, Swiss watchmakers have been meticulous about the finishing on their dials, offering the most delicate kind of piercing, applied hour-markers and an astute use of volume and structure that is particularly successful in large-sized timekeepers.
The circle, fashioned in some highly original versions, has once again taken pride of place: while some find reassurance in its round curves, others prefer the pure, vigorous lines of squares or rectangles. Pink gold and steel, often set with white diamonds, continue to be in favour for cases, but are not to be outdone by clever combinations of new materials with their creative use of colours and textures. Finishes are increasingly more elaborate, alternating matt and polished surfaces or offering novel PVD coatings. What is more, the innovative use of ceramics holds promises for the future.
A blend of comfort and elegance
Large-sized cases are curved to fit more smoothly round the wrist, while straps and bracelets are also more comfortable to wear. The trend in 2008 is for suppleness; from crocodile to the noble scaled alligator to very sporty natural rubber. Some legendary models have been revived with a very modern and trendy look and come on woven or linked steel bracelets.
While Swiss watchmaking is thriving, morale amongst Switzerland’s jewellers is also very high! 2007 will be remembered as an outstanding year for exports, boosted by such key markets as Russia and Asia. Although Swiss excellence and savoir-faire have nothing more to prove, this success has also been enjoyed in each brand’s specific segment, with these established territories contributing to a strong identity.
The predominant themes in this year’s jewellery pieces revolve around white gold, platinum and diamonds. Eternal they may be, but above all diamonds are rare. While some jewellery is covered in small diamonds, large diamonds have proved more popular than ever with jewellers. Their value has risen accordingly, as has platinum, whose price has doubled since 2006. Such dramatic price increases have undoubtedly had an influence on this year’s creations, which are lighter than in the past. But don’t worry, this influence has altered neither the beauty nor the magic of the sumptuous creations on display at BASELWORLD 2008!
We confidently predict that you will be dazzled by this year’s watch and jewellery pieces. As you walk around, remember that they would never have been on display without those unsung heroes behind the scenes. So don’t leave out Hall 3, which houses the booths of the related sectors. There you will be treated to a rich abundance of skills and savoir-faire, about which little is often known.
May we wish you a very enjoyable and rewarding visit!
Swiss Exhibitors’ Committee