Getting Wound Up for the 2014 Baselworld Watch & Jewelry Show

At this month’s Basel fair, find the high, the low, and the in-between

Thierry Andretta is banking on brisk business for one-of-a-kind jewels and timepieces as he prepares for the 2014 edition of the Baselworld luxury watch and jewelry fair, which runs at the convention center in Basel, Switzerland, from March 27 to April 3.

“Luxury is going in this direction,” the CEO of Buccellati tells JCK. Andretta’s firm saw double-digit growth in the United States in 2013, which surely gave the partners at Milan-based private equity firm Clessidra SGR something to smile about; the firm bought a 70 percent stake in the Italian jewelry and watchmaker last spring.

For the show, Andretta’s team is introducing a bridal jewelry collection for the first time in its 95-year history. “Our approach is widening,” Andretta says. “We are always making important pieces, so this is perfect for us to launch a bridal line.” And with the house’s ­creative director, Lucrezia Buccellati, living and working in the United States, where bridal jewelry commands a dominant position in the marketplace, Buccellati’s wedding styles—backed by the ­Milanese brand’s well-respected history—are poised for growth.

On the other end of the price spectrum, there’s Bering Watches, a 4-year-old maker of Danish-designed price-point watches. Dorte Sørensen, U.S. sales and marketing manager for the brand with an office in Inglewood, Calif., tells JCK that Bering is bringing solar-­powered watches to the fair and hopes to introduce radio-control models to the United States later this year. She’s also hoping that Baselworld visitors will appreciate Bering’s reusable glass jar packaging and accessible pricing: Purchases start at $99 retail.

Also new this year: stainless steel jewelry retailing for as low as $19. “The sweetest thing is when you buy a ring, you get a smaller glass jar—like a shot glass,” Sørensen says. The inventive packaging may end up doing double duty in Basel, where Bering is planning to offer visitors a special Danish ice tea and vodka concoction. Here’s hoping show management green-lights the company’s request for a bar!

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