Visits to SIHH Down

Attendance plunged 20 percent at the prestigious Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie luxury watch fair in Geneva, held Jan. 19–23. Show officials blamed the global slowdown, but not overlapping Basel World (late March/early April) also was a factor.

Some brands didn’t host their usual dinners for retailers, and exhibitors canceled gala events.

Exhibitors were cautious, but Luigi Macaluso, Girard-Perregaux president and chief executive officer, expected a U.S. recovery in 2009’s second half.

Bernard Fornas, president and CEO of Cartier International, told Reuters the stronger luxury brands will get stronger. “Real, true luxury is back,” he said.