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Thoughts – watch and jewellery fairs come and go: is it still relevant today to have so many fairs, even in the digital era?

Axelle Loichot

April 8, 2022

What interest do jewellery and watch brands have in participating in large shows such as Vicenzaoro, Watches & Wonders, Gem Geneva or more confidential and intimate showrooms such as Jewellery Geneva, or Haute Jewels Geneva?

What interest do jewellery and watch brands have in participating in large shows such as Vicenzaoro, Watches & Wonders, Gem Geneva or more confidential and intimate showrooms such as Jewellery Geneva, or Haute Jewels Geneva?

After a period of the pandemic that lasted more than two years, travelling, exchanging and finding new suppliers and partners could prove to be a real challenge for some brands, despite the presence of online shows.

This is why it seems obvious that reconnecting even face-to-face seems to be an essential need for most of the players in these sectors today. In addition to the main objective of brands to foster their B2B relationships and to conclude sales with distributors, the visibility and media coverage of these trade fairs remain an advantage. Indeed, brands will often adjust their calendar in order to present their new collections to buyers and the whole world.

A specific role and an increase of visitors

A few weeks ago, Vicenzaoro, the international trade fair for the gold and jewellery sector organised by IEG (Italian Exhibition Group), welcomed over 1,000 exhibiting brands, 300 buyers, as well as students, designers, schools, institutions and the press from all over the world over a period of five days.

This edition recorded an increase in visitors of +24% compared to the previous edition held in September 2021. An edition with the same duration and also held in a post-pandemic context.

In a phygital format with both face-to-face and digital extensions, this event was intended to be "All at Once" and a true "international hub", offering training centers in sustainability, innovation, trends and watchmaking for the entire supply chain: high-end, jewellery, components and semi-finished products, diamonds, precious and coloured stones, transformation technologies, visual merchandising and packaging.


The latest fairs to date are Watches & Wonders, which opened its doors on 30 March 2022 in Geneva, and a new jewellery fair, Jewellery Geneva, which has coincided its dates with this watchmaking fair. This new edition of Watches & Wonders, unlike the SIHH, was 100% dedicated to watch professionals and was therefore not open to the public. Journalists, retailers and VIP clients of the 38 exhibiting companies were therefore expected to attend the event.

All the Richemont group's brands were present, with the participation this year of brands that had left Baselworld, such as Patek Philppe, Rolex, Tudor and brands from the LVMH group such as Tag Heuer, Hublot and Zenith, as well as independent brands such as Chanel, Chopard and Grand Seiko, and even the carré des Horlogers.

However, the question arises: where are the remaining brands from Baselworld? Wouldn't a Genevaworld rather than a Baselworld be a good idea?

Moreover, is it a good thing to close this type of show completely to the public? Does separating the big shows from the small showrooms make them meeting places or does it encourage " consanguinity "? There are many questions that can be asked today, especially about the relevance of having so many different shows in a year all over the world.

Salons Geneve

Is there any possible explanation?

In 2020, Swiss Watch Passport Magazine published an article pointing out that there might be a non-competition clause between the Richemont group and Palexpo. This would therefore be the reason why the event is not open to all brands, why Palexpo could not host other watchmaking events at the same time or why other shows such as EPHJ and GemGenève do not host watchmaking brands.

In the end, in these constantly changing sectors, it is difficult to know in which direction these shows will evolve.

And you, what do you think?

Axelle Loichot - Le Sens du Détail - Conseil Expertise en Bijouterie-Joaillerie

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