Make Time for 28 High-End Brands at Swiss Watch

On the heels of Baselworld comes Swiss Watch in Las Vegas

Timing, as they say, is everything—especially when you’re talking about trade fairs for the timepiece industry. And this year’s show schedule is more complicated—no pun intended—than ever.

That’s because Baselworld, the granddaddy of all watch shows, concludes its weeklong run in Switzerland on May 2—much later than most years in order to accommodate the Basel convention center’s $460 million makeover—and Swiss Watch, an appointment-only showing of 28 high-end brands, opens May 31 in Las Vegas.

“Logistically, it’s more stressful for the retailers and especially the brands, but even brands with limited distribution are coming to Vegas because that’s where the retailers are,” says Steven Kaiser, president of New York City–based Kaiser Time, which produces Swiss Watch in collaboration with JCK Events.

From May 31 to June 3, the event—now in its 11th year—will take over a host of luxury hotel rooms at ­Mandalay Bay, THEhotel, the Four Seasons, and, for one brand, ­Breitling—the Mandarin Oriental at CityCenter.

“The most important thing is we have practically everybody coming back,” ­Kaiser says, citing Breitling, TAG Heuer, Dior, Zenith, and Hermès as returning exhibitors and Baume & Mercier, Ralph Lauren, and Bovet as newcomers to the Mandalay Bay event.

Retailers that have just returned from viewing the latest collections in Switzerland can expect to see many of the same ­novelties in Las Vegas—timepieces that incorporate new, lightweight materials, such as the Breitling for Bentley Light Body Midnight Carbon Limited Edition; automotive-inspired styles; black-on-black aesthetic combinations; and classic gentlemen’s watches with slim profiles.

Initially, Kaiser says he was concerned that the cramped spring show schedule would affect the numbers of exhibitors and retailers coming to Swiss Watch, but that does not appear to be the case.

“What are you going to do?” he says. “It’s not better to sit at home.”

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