Today I continue my stories about SIHH 2019 with Part 2. If you skipped the first part, you can read it here. I left my story at the preparings for the first day of SIHH 2019. Let’s continue…
The first day of SIHH
Bowties, traffic and parking spaces
The first day can be tricky. You have to be there early enough to pick up your badge without queuing too long, prepare for the first meetings and so on.
So I wake up at 6:30 to get ready. The suit was prepared, the only worries in the morning being reserved for the bowtie. The bloody thing is gorgeous (I like bowties, without being one of the guys wearing one with religiosity, like some of the fellow journalists. No, I will not give names… Who knows, knows…) but so complicated to tie. Especially when you used it just a few times per year.
Preparing for the Salon 20 minutes, arranging the bowtie another 20 minutes, traffic for Monday morning another 20 minutes. Ohhh, I am so much late… But not for what one might expect!
Arriving at Palexpo it is easy, just a few kilometres away and the morning traffic. Finding an empty parking slot in which my car gets in, another story. I usually have two situations: I block one of the sides near a pillar or block both sides by parking in the middle, between two other cars blocking. Why they have so small parking slots? It’s not like they come cheap. I was lucky enough to find a slot close to an emergency exit, so my driver side should remain theoretically free. That was for just 5 minutes until a car parked on the forbidden space. But did not blocked me. I just thought: “Let’s see until the evening”.
Badges, orange juice and Lamborghini
Look OK, parking OK! Now I need to go in… A ginormous queue to get in. The security was checking every bag and every device, just like at the airport. Metal detectors included. “Great, I feel safe!” I do actually agree with the increased security. It gives me a good feeling. With the last events all over Europe, you can never know when someone decided it is the time for you to die.
After the guys have checked to my entire equipment with some untrusty look: “That is yours? Your entire equipment?”, I get to get my badge. I had to choose between the girls, which one should make my badge. I just picked the cutest one and proceed with the papers and stuff. The first badge was an error. Being registered to a later event at IWC made me appear in the system as an IWC guest. But I was an accredited journalist… After another 2 minutes, a full press badge was on my neck.
And now running to the press corner. Why? Because there are less than 200 lockers for more than 1000 journalists. But I was lucky. At around 8 o’clock there were still a few available. The same amount of lockers as of fingers on my hand. So I locked part of the equipment and asked for an orange juice. There was almost an hour to kill until the first presentation. So I have made a quick tour of SIHH and made some photos with my phone to put on Instagram.
The first conference was held in Auditorium by Roger Dubuis. People from Roger Dubuis and Lamborghini talked about their collaborations. Rather impressive.
Meetings and failures
The first real meeting was with Christophe Claret. Lovely booth, nice timepieces… The new cable fusee is something out of normality. The time display with rubies is a nice touch – I like rubies.
I have met with the Gronefeld brothers. I love those two guys. The new Principia is like an entry level for the brand – in the Gronefeld style.
Then another conference in Auditorium – “The genesis of a new complication” with Christian Selmoni and that girl from Revolution that knows about watches more than I will ever know in my lifetime. You can see the conference here:
I head it to the lockers to pick up the video lights and stands for the interview with Stephen Forsey. What can I say? Prepared everything, did a great interview only to discover after that the camera stopped after one minute. Did I prepare a B-roll? Of course not… So I died a little bit inside… Stephen stormed away from the room. Probably not to kill me ’cause he lost 30 minutes of his time. The perks of working alone.
I managed to photograph the novelties… So it was not a complete waste of time.
The dark clouds and my disappointment were fast away. I had another interview with David Bernard, from Time Aeon Foundation. Lovely time, great discussion. The interview will follow in the next days. Stay tuned for some horrible sound (noisy background) and poorly placed camera. I still have so much to learn.
I ran to the Vacheron Constantin booth to meet the girl from the German press. I promised her we meet for a drink (working drink, you know – business meeting) and I was more than half an hour late. I managed to find her, kind of pissed of. But she was right, I have made her wait in a time and place where there was no time to spare. Thank you, A-M, for understanding. I owe you…
Swiss SIM, German dinner
So after the crazy first day was over. I ran to my car. Paying the 20 CHF for the parking was painful. So again on the Genevan roads to try to get a SALT boutique to buy a SIM card. I was lucky to have one relatively close. I was there 10 minutes before the store closes. I managed to get the desired SIM. The prepay system has unlimited Internet with 2 CHF per day. Necessary to post on media and to keep in contact with my loved ones (roaming was like 5 Eur per 150MB traffic – too much for too less).
Now was the time to meet and greet the colleagues from the German press at a hotel nearby. I will be honest, it was nicer than expected. Nice people, good conversation, good food. Since I was driving, no alcohol.
After the “social duties” were over, I drove back to the hotel to get some sleep. It was already midnight.
The second day of SIHH
The second day was less stressful. A tie, easier to tie than the bowtie, no hurry to get a locker…
Meeting, people & watches
My first meeting was with the girls from Roger Dubuis. Now that I knew them from the German press dinner, everything was quite a pleasure.
The next meeting was with Hautlence. Interesting implementations / variations of an older design.
The booth also hosted the H. Moser & Cie – crazy pieces. “Go green!” sounded in my eyes and ears. I am an avid fan, not only of their watches but also of their campaigns.
Is green the colour of this SIHH?
The Piaget press conference amazed me with some gorgeous ladies pieces. Again, green was present in some lady watch and in the Polo.
The Richard Mille was an explosion of colours. A strange thing: I was asked to send the pictures to headquarters before publishing something… To get the approval. Hmmm, forgot to send them so no pictures for you. You got to believe me, it was colourful.
The next appointment was with my close to heart JLC. Not all the pieces were available for me to photograph. But it’s ok…
Audemars Piguet was an interesting stop. I had read some articles and seen some of the videos pre-SIHH and I was curious to see the C.O.D.E.11:59. The watches look much better in reality. Seen straight from above, the dials don’t breath the AP’s individuality. But I am not an expert in AP to judge that.
The Girard-Perregaux appointment ended with a tour of the booth and the presentation of the watches. There was, unfortunately, no time to photograph them. I have to tell you: the new perpetual calendar and the Girard-Perregaux Cat’s Eye Plum Blossom – gorgeous pieces.
After the photo session with Piaget (yes, first a presentation and later a photo session), I ran to Vacheron Constantin booth to catch the novelties in my hands. Here, I was again firmly convinced that, for SIHH 2019, there is a battle between green and blue. The new shade of petrol blue from VC is gorgeous.
Singer and Krayon
After all the meetings from SIHH were over, I drove to Geneva’s centre to meet some friends. One and a half hours to cover 6 km. The traffic in Geneva is terrible. The only good thing was that I arrived after 7pm and I could park on the street, for free.
I got the chance to meet Rémi Maillat and his interesting Krayon. More about that in a separate review.
My second day of SIHH ended. I was tired, kind of hungry and eager to have some proper conversation with my wife. So I head it to the hotel and tried to rest…
But was not the case. I prepared first some press releases. A lot of brands sent me the PR just after SIHH started. How was I supposed to prepare them? Even copy paste the text and upload the pictures needs at least half an hour…
But enough for today. Enjoy your weekend.