Combining digital and physical events along with increased accessibility, HourUniverse aims to connect the entire watchmaking, jewellery and gems community
For the watchmaking world, the coronavirus pandemic hit especially hard as it began in earnest during the early months of the year when the industry’s major trade fairs are traditionally held. The Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie or SIHH responded by rebranding into Watches and Wonders Geneva and relocating—for this year at least—into the digital sphere. Baselworld, on the other hand, was eventually postponed. The string of high-profile departures by major exhibitors certainly didn’t help.
At the end of September, however, came news of a new platform for the watchmaking, jewellery and gemstone industries to be held in Basel: HourUniverse.
Described as a “digital networking, business, information and content platform” that would be “active 365 days a year,” HourUniverse will launch in February 2021. From April 8 until 21, 2021, there will also be a five-day live show, held in line with other watchmaking events in Geneva. At that time, industry professionals, retailers, media and visitors will once again convene at the city’s famous Hall 1.
HourUniverse’s 2021 event promises to include “open spaces, pop-up stores, pavilions, multiple experience zones, initiation workshops, themed exhibitions, collectors’ corners and sales area, a forum with a programme of conferences and debates streamed live available to brands and exhibitors, start-ups and suppliers of new technologies, to reflect on the major challenges and demands of the industry.” There is also greater emphasis on networking opportunities through themed breakfasts, aftershow parties and so forth.
Another notable aspect of HourUniverse—both for its digital platform and life event—is that exhibitors are not limited to watch, jewellery and gem brands, but also those engaged in distribution, marketing, points of sale and other related elements. For example, CPO (certified pre-owned) platforms will have their place in the watch sector while manufacturers of synthetic stones can join the gems sector.
Finally, a lot of effort has gone into making HourUniverse much more accessible, most notably with a redesigned reception structure and a drastically-adjusted pricing policy. So, all in all, Basel appears to be set to join in 2021’s comeback of the watchmaking and jewellery industries.