A paralysed Russian currency, record low oil prices and the endless wars in the Middle East. All this and other world problems seem to not really bother any of the watch brands presented on the luxurious Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie. Champagne was poured, smiles were big and parties were held for the carefully selected members of the world press and retailers.
Most of the guys at the helm of the brands seemed comfortable in their own skin when interviewed and certainly have learned from the last crisis: adapt rather than panic. A strategy that seems to work, making the watch industry seem almost bullet proof to most crisis these days. At least when observing from the outside.
Tourbillons were shown, diamond-set watches too and Richard Mille shined again with a million euro watch of pink sapphire dubbed ‘Bubble Gum’, meaning SIHH was ‘business as usual’. But why is it so? Why is it that the old fashioned mechanical wrist watch gets more and more popular in a world dominated by digital devices and clever IT? Well, I’ll tell you why: watches represent the past. Back when the sun was shining every day and we had pancakes morning, noon and evening. At least that is what we remember from yesteryears life.
When the world is burning, Daesh is beheading and the Chinese growth is stagnating, the watches represent a needed break from the horrid headlines and scary news on the TV. We dive into the beautiful dials, the exquisite crafted movements and luxurious bracelets that sit on the wrist. We admire the enamel, the wonderful sound from the minute repeater and the fascinating splitting of the seconds hands on the chronograph with rattrapante function. All this without checking the time and completely ignoring that your house is on fire.