Swiss Watch Brings Basel to the Strip

Swiss Watch at JCK Las Vegas is an excellent facsimile of Baselworld

From May 30 to June 2, 40 watch brands will take part in the 12th annual Swiss Watch at JCK Las Vegas, less a show than a coordinated series of opportunities to see the latest timepieces from Switzerland in well-stocked suites located throughout Mandalay Bay, THEhotel, Mandarin Oriental, and Four Seasons.

In addition to returning brands such as Breitling, Gucci, and Hermès, expect to see four newcomers: BALL Watch, Bedat & Co., Graham, and Perrelet.

While the consensus after Baselworld is that this year’s introductions didn’t push too many horological envelopes, buyers should nevertheless be pleased. “It was a really strong year in wearability,” says Sandy Hequin, owner of Morays Jewelers in downtown Miami.

On that note, the return of the classic men’s dress watch appears to be in full swing. For a retro-inspired version with a nifty case, check out Hamilton’s new “gents” watch, the Flintridge. Also in vogue this year are heritage pieces, grey dials, and strap styles—incorporating exotic leathers, colored rubber, and trendy NATOs.

In the ladies’ category, watchmakers are focusing on artistry, using techniques such as marquetry, enameling, and intricate gem setting to catch the eyes of discerning buyers. At Ulysse Nardin, a new collection, Jade, features “horns” made from the ancient Chinese stone and a bezel snow-set with diamonds and emeralds.

For Swiss Watch organizer Steven Kaiser, owner of Kaiser Time, the industry’s safe tactics this year were initially hard to reconcile with the fiscal big picture: “If someone had told you a few years ago that the stock market was at all-time highs, and there was good economic news, you’d say it would be a risk-taking year,” he says. “Yet it’s a very conservative year.

“But hey, look—nobody’s crying,” Kaiser continues. “What I liked about the year is that people are coming back to earth. ­Products are more mainstream and prices are coming back down. Every year can’t be the Chinese booming.”

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