The Hong Kong Trade and Development Council have once again invited aBlogtoWatch to attend the annual Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair. Running from September 5th to 9th, 2017, and marking its 36th edition, the organizers like to remind us that it is the “world’s largest watch and clock fair,” and aBlogtoWatch has been covering it since 2012. With over 800 exhibitors packed into the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre and an overwhelming roster of events, my expectations are high for the scale and energy that “this part of the world,” so important to the watch industry, is known for.
Regular readers and watchaholics already know about the significance of China and Hong Kong (whether taken together or as separate markets) to the watch industry. We can attest that Hong Kong is culturally a watch-crazy place, and the high degree of appreciation and appetite there for watches at all levels helps lend more excitement to a trade show like this one. For such a geographically small market, it is remarkable that Hong Kong consistently ranks number one in the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry’s (FH) list of Swiss watch exports by country.
However, what the Hong Kong Watch and Clock Fair offers that should be even more unique and fascinating is a look into the manufacturing side of the industry that is less often seen or understood. It is no secret that Chinese parts and labor are major elements of many “Swiss Made” and other watches to varying degrees. Here, we should get to meet some of the people behind it all. From suppliers for watch parts of every kind, machinery and equipment, services, and packaging to complete watches, I am looking forward to the very broad cross-section of the industry that will be represented among the 810-plus booths. There is no way that I will be able to see it all.
There will be plenty of brands displaying complete watches as well. The often wild, wacky, and experimental designs from across the globe is indeed a freak show to look forward to. I am personally always on the lookout for proudly homegrown Chinese and other local brands to champion, and while there is a lot to sift through, Chinese brands have continually been making strides in terms of design and quality. Then, of course, smartwatches will again be a major theme as the segment continues to evolve and become more mainstream. Needless to say, this great diversity is one of the show’s highlights.
If it all starts to make one dizzy, the show’s Salon de TE section will host international watch brands and perhaps offer some respite with high-end watches from familiar Swiss and German brands. The HKTDC has kindly prepared the press with a roster of apparently mandatory events and optional ones, even including “watch parades” – I don’t know what that is, but it half makes me expect a Disney World of Watches type of experience. We shall see.
While the Baselworld and SIHH shows in Switzerland steal the headlines for the big new watch releases each year, the Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair should present a very different side of the watch industry. I say “should” and speak of “expectations” because this will, in fact, be my first time attending the event – you can see all our past coverage of the Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair here. Stay tuned for social media updates, our impressions, and show coverage. If you are local at that time, the Salon de TE is open to the public with pre-registration on Saturday, September 9, the last day of the show. hktdc.com