Baselworld 2008 - Impressive Innovations and New Products

Apr 09, 2008
Baselworld, the largest and most important watch and jewelry trade show in the world, opened its doors once again this year on April 3.

Baselworld 2008 has attracted more than 100,000 industry experts and other visitors from all over the globe, 100 countries to be exact. The eight-day fair has welcomed 2,087 exhibitors representing 45 nations. The exhibitors have presented their products and services in six multi-level football-field-sized buildings. The show has also attracted more than 2,500 trade, consumer, lifestyle, and specialist media representatives ready to covere the latest watch and jewelry innovations and trends.

This year the show, with the surface area of 160,000 m2, has featured the reconfigured layout to offer more space for branded jewelry and better accommodation of the increasing number of watch and jewelry brands, according to Rene Kamm, chief executive officer of MCH Swiss Exhibition Ltd., which owns and runs the show.

The jewelry exhibitors have been invited to unveil their products at the new Hall of Impressions, while the watch brands have been pleased to accommodate in the reconfigured Hall of Fascinations. Baselworld 2008 has also provided the additional floorspace for the enhanced quality of the brand's presentations.

The show has impressed the participants and visitors with more eye-fascinating diamond watches, and those created for men in particular; more ladies' chronographs and mechanical watches, more brands proud to unveil their own in-house movements, more red gold models, and some remarkable innovations in mechanical horology for greater performance and accuracy.

Baselworld 2008 was officially opened at a morning ribbon-cutting ceremony held by Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard, President of the Government of the Canton of Basel City Guy Morin, President of the Exhibitors' Committee Jacques J. Duchene, and CEO of MCH Swiss Exhibition Ltd. Rene Kamm. Doris Leuthard's presence at the opening ceremony underlined the great importance of the show to the Swiss watch industry that represents the third-largest commercial sector in Switzerland. It is noteworty that the export volume of the Swiss watch industry rose to CHF 16 billion in 2007, with the Swiss exhibitors participating in Baselworld accounting for over 90% of the export volume.

Look through the list of BaselWorld 2008 highlights:

1. New Brands:
Among the new brands participating in the show, two are worth special attention. The 'Joaillerie de France,' a label and hallmark supported by the government. It has already been used by over 40 French jewelry makers. 'Joaillerie de France' promotes and guarantees jewelry made entirely in France corresponding to the top standards.

One more brand - Swarovski & Co.'s 'Enlighted-Swarovski Elements' - is a new brand of fashion-forward, trend-oriented gem cuts and colors.

2. New in-house movements:
Carl F. Bucherer has revealed its first in-house movement - the CFB A1000, that required three years of development. The mechanism has incorporated a peripheral rotor, new shock absorption system and bidirectional winding.

Alpina Geneve has presented its Avalanche Manufacture Regulateur.

3. Horological Innovations:
  • Patek Philippe has introduced its exclusive Pulsomax escapement, produced from silicon-based Silinar. This innovation offers a significant improvement on the traditional Swiss lever escapement.

  • Maurice Lacroix has unveiled its Memoire 1, the first mechanical watch with memory.

  • A world-first from Frederique Constant is the mechanical movement with a silicium escapement wheel equipped into the brand's Heart Beat Tourbillon.

  • A noteworthy innovation from Seiko is the Spring Drive Space Walk watch created specially for the first private space walk to be performed by Richard Garriott, a famous video game designer and adventurer. The space mission is set for October 2008.

  • Wyler Geneve has debuted the first-ever carbon neutral watch able to offsett the impact on the environment from its materials and production.
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4. New Diamond Lines
The most eye-catching diamond lines revealed at Baselworld 2008 are the following:
  • Roberto Coin's Diamond Time,

  • Perrelet's Diamond Flower series,

  • Marc Ecko's 'diamond-look' Vice, embellished with Swarovski crystals,

  • IceLink's 6Timezone Snow watch collection, with dozens of tiny diamonds suspended in liquid in one of the watch's six dial zones.
5. New Designers:
Valentina and Salvatore Ferragamo are the lines produced by the Timex Group, expanding its business in fashion watches. The Timex Group has specially opened a Milan design center.

6. Social Events:
Swiss luxury watch Hublot gala debut for the 'Euro 2008 Big Bang watch' ( created for the European soccer championship this summer) will donate the raised funds to the Fight against Racism. Hublot has devoted its entire billboard space at each stadium to Unite Against Racism, a pan-European campaign against racism in football.

Written on the basis of the article BaselWorld 2008 Opens
by William G Shuster, Senior editor, JCK magazine.

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