Let’s Do the Time Warp

At March’s Baselworld, most of the 1,952 exhibitors—representing 45 countries—reported a surge in orders. That’s in addition to the Swiss show’s 7 percent boost in attendance. And while vendors and watch-industry officials warned against expecting too much renewal too soon—the economic situation is still “fragile,” said one—retailers came ready to buy. A rise in U.S. buyers (5.1 percent of visitors, up from 3.5 percent) symbolized “a general upturn,” said Baselworld’s end-of-show report. Many vendors scheduled more U.S. appointments than ever. But exhibitors said retailers have recently become more demanding about price, quality, value, and turnover. “People are ready to invest if it makes sense to their business,” said Ebel president Marc-Michel Amadry. Consequently, numerous watch brands, including upscale ones, adjusted pricing, lowered their points of

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