If you can’t get into Sanya for the event, then an online experience is the way to go
One of the most pertinent business lessons unravelled as a result of COVID-19 is the importance of e-commerce in the luxury business. A report by consulting firm Bain & Company noted that the imposition of lockdowns and collapse of tourism resulted in sharp declines for brick-and-mortar retail, and all but decimated travel retail.
Online luxury, on the other hand, remains resilient. While all categories of luxury goods have seen declines, the report adds, accessories show the most resilience and watches decline the most “due to a lack of online sales platforms to offset the shutdown of physical channels.”
In response to the strong market rebound in China spurred by ‘revenge spending’, the organisers wasted no time in putting together a refreshed format to be staged in the Middle Kingdom.
By July, the first Watches & Wonders Shanghai was announced. It took place at the West Bund Art Center from 9 to 13 September, and the results by way of watch sales were nothing short of spectacular.
So spectacular that the organisers were compelled to return for seconds. Thus, following the first Watches & Wonders in Shanghai is the first Watches & Wonders in Sanya. In addition, the resort city will host the event not just for a week, but an entire month.
Watches & Wonders Sanya
From 29 September to 31 October, the futuristic CDF Mall will attract customers from around China with product presentations, workshops, talks and virtual reality experiences all related to watches and watchmaking.
But don’t worry if travel restrictions or health concerns are barring you from flying, because Watches & Wonders is both an offline and an online event. Aside from the main watch fair in Sanya, it has roped in multi-brand e-tail stores Net-a-Porter and Mr Porter to bring Watches & Wonders to life, digitally.
Over the course of the month-long campaign, you’ll find exclusive EIP (Extremely Important Privileges) virtual events and small-group activities, along with virtual one-to-one appointments and interactive Instagram Live conversations.
The sites will also curate small selections of timepieces and offer customer service propositions to help you make the best purchase decision. A total of 14 watchmaking Maisons are included in this initiative, from major luxury houses like Cartier, Hermès, and Montblanc, to watchmaking specialists such as Jaeger-LeCoultre, A. Lange & Söhne, IWC, Panerai, and Vacheron Constantin.
Ultra-niche brands like Roger Dubuis, Bovet, Ulysse Nardin, Parmigiani Fleurier and HYT are also a part of the show. All of the watches featured on Net-a-Porter and Mr Porter sites are available for immediate purchase.
Not sure where to start? Here are the top 10 watches for men and women Robb Report Singapore would recommend buying, and why.
Cartier Tonneau XL Dual Time Limited Edition
How much: £56,249 (approximately S$99,112)
Why you should get it: This is a Cartier Privé model in platinum offering two time zones in a beautifully skeletonised movement – very chic, very unique.
Panerai Submersible Marina Militare Carbotech PAM979
How much: £15,159 (approximately S$26,709, pre-order only)
Why you should get it: The Submersible is Panerai’s most underrated collection and this 47mm model comes crafted entirely in Carbotech, including its dial.
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Retrograde Day-Date Automatic
How much: £35,489 (approximately S$62,531)
Why you should get it: This year may be all about the Overseas but when it comes to classic elegant complications, the Patrimony always hits the spot.
Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Automatic
How much: £4,637 (approximately S$8,170)
Why you should get it: The Geosphere is Montblanc’s most iconic model, delivered here with an exquisite bimetallic titanium and steel rice-grain bracelet.
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Aventador S Limited Edition Skeleton
How much: £168,971 (approximately S$297,730)
Why you should get it: Clad in carbon, rubber and Alcantara, this swashbuckling double tourbillon is the ultimate reward for staying home all year.
Piaget Limelight Gala
How much: US$44,100 (approximately S$60,338)
Why you should get it: Is it jewellery or a watch? Actually it’s both, and it’ll be a perfect match with the other Piaget pieces in your jewellery box.
IWC Portugieser Automatic Chronograph
How much: US$8,745 (approximately S$11,965)
Why you should get it: This is IWC’s most updated Portugieser which sports refined proportions and a cleaner silhouette. And that bright green dial just cannot be missed.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso One
How much: US$5,890 (approximately S$8,059)
Why you should get it: The Reverso is such a classic, every collection needs one – or three. This burgundy model adds a nice splash of colour to any outfit.
Maillon de Cartier
How much: US$25,645 (approximately S$35,087)
Why you should get it: It’s fresh yet familiar; it’s new yet perfectly timeless. Most of all, it sits gorgeously on the wrist and looks amazing from every angle.
Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Qualité Fleurier
How much: £18,650 (approximately S$32, 860)
Why you should get it: It offers an independent watchmaker’s take on haute horlogerie with the quality guarantee of a major league luxury company.