Article and Photography by Boris Pjanic
|Reflection of the Baselworld Entrance in the Window Panes of a Neighboring Hotel|
My Very First Visit to Baselworld
Basel is a city close to the German border with Switzerland and is the host to Baselworld, the largest annual watch and jewelry fair in the world. This was the first year I attended Baselworld.
Baselworld is a must for watch dealers, journalists and enthusiasts alike, as it offers an opportunity to view the latest timepieces and developments in the watch industry. At Baselworld, you can also enjoy a fascinating atmosphere complemented by visitors and exhibitors from all over the world. Small companies and large corporations alike commit to being present at Baselworld every year.
Since I’m living much closer to Basel than when I used to live in Chicago, I decided to take the opportunity to see this amazing watch show. I wanted to visit the fair for two reasons: my interest in mechanical watches and to find new information to use for my watch blog. I didn’t really know what to expect from Baselworld. Moreover, I didn’t know how I could attend it.
I checked the Internet for information. Google was very helpful, and I found what I needed to contact Baselworld administration. While I wasn’t invited to come as a journalist, I nevertheless received a quick reply from Baselworld administration allowing me free access to the fair for the whole duration. What a great surprise, and a pleasant one at that!
|One of Several Baselworld Entrances|
Walking through the doors of Baselworld, you are greeted a somewhat overwhelming combination of impressions. You see the most famous watch brands in the main hall and feel like you are floating with the masses through a shadow world sidelined with bright lights of logos from Rolex, Patek Philippe, Zenith, and Chopard, as well as the Swatch Group at the end of the first hall. Added to this, I quickly realized that this is not just a regular size fair, it’s the biggest watch fair in the world, and it occupies many halls which you must navigate like a labyrinth. Sometimes it was really tricky to find the right route to take, and how to return. But that was probably me with my particular sense of orientation.
I brought back some fascinating memories experienced at Baselworld:
Long before I went to Basel, I met Sandra Martial from Offshore Limited via Facebook, and I took the opportunity to meet her and her husband at the fair. (Interestingly, this is one of the watch brands currently represented by Gevril Group in the United States.)
I was very impressed to see an enameler paint on an enamel dial at Jaquet Droz. Take a look at these two photos. You see the enameler at his workbench:
|Enameler Painting a Dial at Jaquet Droz|
And here you see his final product:
|Completed Enamel Dial Painting at Jaquet Droz|
In addition, I liked the area where the AHCI (Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants – representing the very best in high-end watchmaking) presented their watchmakers and timepieces and it was a great experience. I ended up having the pleasure to see, touch, and talk with the two Irish McGonigle brothers who explained to me their unique one of a kind timepiece. I have never seen anyone with such passion for watches.
I also saw many brands that I have never before seen or heard of, many small watch manufacturers that make high-end watches, and many companies that deliver mass products, such as the ICE watch.
I spent four days at the Baselworld fair. I had a wonderful time meeting many very interesting people and learning a lot about watches and the watch industry. There’s no question that I’m going to attend Baselworld again in 2012.
About Gevril Group
Gevril Group, directed by company founder and long-time creative force in the watch business, Samuel Friedmann, is the exclusive US agent for well over 30 select European watch brands — distributing and servicing luxury, fashion and sporty timepieces at a wide range of price points.