SIHH won’t expand in 2008

SIHH (Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie), one of the world’s top luxury watch shows, won’t expand in 2008 and—for the first time in years—won’t coincide in 2009 with BaselWorld, the international watch show, the world largest, in Basel, Switzerland. The announcement was made Aug. 14 by the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH), based in Geneva, Switzerland, which operates the annual invitation-only trade event.

The SIHH is held annually at the Palexpo center in Geneva. Its 17th edition this year drew some 13,000 top buyers from 2,500 prestigious points of sales around the globe, and 1,300 international journalists.

Because of SIHH’s growing success and renown in recent years, various high-end watchmakers, small and large, independent and corporate, have asked to be added to the current 16 exhibitors (most of which are part of the Richemont luxury group). However, FHH said that despite requests, the amount of space already allotted by the Palexpo for other, concurrent events prohibits expansion. “The number of brands exhibiting at the SIHH will remain the same in 2008, with their allocated areas,” it said. SIHH 2008 will be held Apr. 7 to 14, 2008.

Calendar restrictions from scheduled events also affects SIHH in 2009. Almost from its beginning in 1990, SIHH’s organizers have overlapped their seven-day show with BaselWorld’s annual 10-day show, enabling trade visitors and the international press to attend both. However, SIHH 2009 will take place Jan. 19 to 24, 2009, two months before BaselWorld 2009 (Mar. 26 – Apr. 2, 2009). The FHH said “in view of dates already confirmed for the Geneva Motor Show, and other events programmed by Geneva Palexpo, the Basel and Geneva fairs cannot coincide.”

It isn’t clear, yet, how SIHH’s 2009 dates will affect attendance or press coverage (some might not want, or be able, to travel twice to Switzerland in such a short time) or several other, smaller luxury watch exhibitions held in Geneva concurrent with SIHH and Basel.

The FHH promised to provide more information “in due course.”