The Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie will be evolving once again for 2017, which will see its doors open to the public for the first time.
The annual luxury watch fair, organised by the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH), will also be welcoming seven new brands, including two international brands and five independent watchmakers.
The new changes were revealed in an interview Swiss daily newspaper Le Temps did with Fabienne Lupo, the President of FHH.
In the interview, Lupo indicates that the show, which was traditionally only open to journalists and retailers, will now include a public session on January 20, 2017. SIHH is to take place at Palexpo Geneva from January 16 to 20.
For a fee, the public will be able to access some of the most impressive watches ever produced, a move Lupo believes is in line with the changing habits of their final clients, who now seek out watches from official boutiques rather than retailers.
The second major change is the return of Girard-Perregaux, who has been absent from SIHH since 2013 when it was acquired by Kering Group.
“As a founding member of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, Girard-Perregaux naturally regains its position alongside the most prestigious brands of haute horlogerie,” stated Antonio Calce, CEO of Girard-Perregaux.
The brand, along with Audemars Piguet and the rest of the Richemont Group, had been a founding member of FHH.
Ulysse Nardin, also from Kering Group, will be joining SIHH 2017 for the first time.
Brands from the previous editions, including Cartier, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Vacheron Constantin will continue to showcase their watches at the salon.
Having successfully welcomed nine independent watchmakers into their exclusive circle last year, SIHH has opened up the Carré des Horlogers space to welcome five more independent brands, including RJ-Romain Jerome, Grönefeld, MCT, Ressence and Speake-Marin.
The interview with Lupo also included a hint of what’s to come in the future: the possibility of opening a fair in the Americas. FHH had previously held exhibitions in Hong Kong with Watches&Wonders, and now that the Hong Kong fair has been turned into a biennial affair, rumour has it the American edition could open as early as 2018.