Welcome to SIHH

By Michael Friedberg from SIHH in Geneva, Switzerland

Date — 16 January, 2012

Share:

If you’re an insider, you can sneak into the SIHH – the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie – a day early, before it’s officially open.
The watches aren’t there and the huge exhibition halls are empty and aren’t ready. There are hundreds of carpenters, painters and electricians everywhere.

—Inside the booth

Today, Monday, January 16th, walking into the SIHH reflects a huge transformation. This is not a “trade show” but rather a European salon. There is plush carpeting and everyone is dressed in their business finest. There’s a certain buzz of excitement as one enters and obtains validated photo credentials to pass through electronic scanners. The halls are large enough to get lost, but in-between all of the company entrances are décor seating, fine dining areas, and espresso bars.

The approved visitor feels special too. He or she must be important in order to be treated so well. Today, Monday, is primarily for journalists in the morning, plus the beginning of incessant appointments with key retailers that will continue throughout the week.

All the companies’ booths are nicely presented, and certainly show off their new and important models well. The IWC booth, however, is in a different league, and it’s one of the major talking points in the salon. It’s literally breathtaking. It takes a visitor to a new world because it converts the space into something totally unique. This year, the visitor is a guest on an aircraft carrier, the USS F.A. Jones.

—Welcome to the Bar. Proud to Serve you Budweisers and Oreo Cookies.

Instead of the plush carpeting and mahogany trim, there’s the grey steel, industrial look of a Navy ship. In the center is a ramp leading to what looks remarkably like an F/A-18 Hornet, the supersonic fighter jet. Actually it’s a flight simulator.

—Come Inside the IWC Aircraft Carrier Lounge

We’ve all magically become Top Gun pilots. Our flight suits are ready and we’re waiting for the announcement from the P.A. system. The press today gets ushered into the Flight Control station, for which a briefing is in progress.

It’s great to see IWC’s many new models, which are excellent achievements of design and engineering. But these models are equaled by the originality and interest generated by IWC’s unique presentation. It’s something that has to be seen to believed, and can’t be experienced anywhere else.

—A Peek Inside IWC Admiral's Headquarters

Welcome to SIHH. It is very special to be here.

Explore More Articles
IWC
IWC SCHAFFHAUSEN ANNOUNCES COMMITMENT TO FRENCH FILMMAKING

IWC Schaffhausen sets up another milestone in its commitment to filmmaking. As official partner of the Festival du Film Francophone d’Angoulême, the Swiss luxury watch manufacturer now promotes French-speaking films from various countries including France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Canada, Switzerland, Africa and the Middle East. Read Article

portofino for two
The Portofino for Two from IWC Schaffhausen: A very special way to tie the knot

IWC Schaffhausen has created a seductive range of partners’ watches to grace its Portofino collection. The Portofino Automatic and the smaller Portofino Automatic 37 have formed a bond and together set off their respective attractions to their best advantage. Read Article

IWC Volvo Ocean Race
IWC Schaffhausen Celebrates Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing Victory

After almost 72,000 kilometres, IWC-sponsored Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (ADOR), led by Skipper and two-time Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker, has emerged as the victor in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014–15. Read Article

IWC Nico Rosberg
IWC Schaffhausen Brings Nico Rosberg and Bernd Mayländer to Passione Caracciola Rally

IWC Schaffhausen’s role as official partner of the Passione Caracciola rally is a further expression of the company’s passion for motor racing at its classic best. Read Article