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The Wonders of Watches

The hallowed halls of the Palexpo in Geneva were home to this year’s Watches and Wonders 2022.
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It’s hard to believe that the largest watchmaking summit ever held in Geneva (from 30 March to 5 April 2022) has come and gone, after years of waiting out pandemic restrictions around travel and large gatherings.

The wait was worth it. The promised ‘salon of many wonders’ delivered on all levels as journalists, collectors, retailers and clients flew in from around the world to marvel at the latest watchmaking creations from 38 exhibiting Maisons. Even more exciting was the first-time presence of major brands Chanel, Chopard, Grand Seiko, Hublot, Oris, Patek Philippe, Rolex, TAG Heuer, Tudor and Zenith.

This was the first physical event for Watches and Wonders Geneva since its transformation from the final Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in 2019. The exhibition exists to showcase the creativity, innovation and sustainable practices of esteemed watchmaking brands,
news of which is broadcast across all media platforms worldwide.

Longstanding exhibitors A. Lange & Söhne, Baume & Mercier, Cartier, Hermès, IWC Schaffhausen, Jaeger LeCoultre, Montblanc, Panerai, Parmigiani Fleurier, Piaget, Roger Dubuis, Ulysse Nardin and Vacheron Constantin were there, and Van Cleef & Arpels made a welcome return.

The Carré des Horlogers, reserved for independent watchmakers, was a hive of activity, especially after a year that saw many of their pieces increasing in demand, and commensurate value. Angelus, Armin Strom, Arnold & Son, Cyrus Genève, Czapek & Cie, Ferdinand Berthoud, H. Moser & Cie., Laurent Ferrier, Louis Moinet, Rebellion

Timepieces, Ressence, Rudis Sylva, Speake-Marin and Trilobe all had their moment. The war in the Ukraine and China’s Covid-19 restrictions at the time meant that representation from Asia and Russia was noticeably reduced, particularly at the start of the fair. But those who could not attend in person tuned in remotely to keynote addresses, digital presentations and panel discussions, while attendees enjoyed the longed-for privilege of intimate touch-and-feel sessions to inspect the timepieces at close range.

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Apart from cocktail events and exclusive dinners, the highlight of the entertainment on offer was the world premiere of ‘The Sound of Color’ hosted by IWC at the Theatre du Leman opposite Lake Geneva. The musical featured Hans Zimmer and his band performing a number of hits including the soundtracks of Dune and The Lion King, both of which earned Zimmer Oscars for Best Original Score.  The band included 10 musicians from the orchestra of the Odesa Opera House (Ukraine), who had fled Ukraine and joined him for his tour, as well as the multi-talented, multidirectional Venezuelan-born flautist Pedro Eustache.

This was no regular performance, however, as IWC Schaffhausen CEO Christoph Grainger-Herr joined Zimmer on stage to discuss their collaboration on a musical composition to launch additions to the brand’s TOP GUN Pilot’s Watches collection. The timepieces feature five striking new ceramic

Pantone colours in stunning, monochromatic designs. And Zimmer created music for each colour: The Sound of Color – IWC Ceratanium®, The Sound of Color – IWC Mojave Desert, The Sound of Color – IWC Woodland, The Sound of Color – IWC Lake Tahoe and The Sound of Color – IWC Jet Black.

‘What I love about music is the playful element and the opportunity to try out things I have not done before,’ explained Zimmer. ‘I enjoyed creating sounds with IWC because it was quite different from my work on films. Writing music is always about telling a story and taking people to new places, whether inspired by a moving picture or a colour, and this was no different.’

Meanwhile, as an architectural designer, Grainger-Herr says he has learned to express his ideas visually. ‘Hans’s powerful soundtracks have continuously inspired me and given me energy during countless hours of drawing and many a late night. Having the opportunity to work with [him] on translating “The Colors of Top Gun” into music is a dream come true. The soundscape will be instrumental in creating a unique atmosphere in which to showcase our watches to maximum effect.’

By Debbie Hathaway

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