I had the privilege (is that what I am calling it now?) to visit Basel World 2017 as Team Be for Beauty. For the uninitiated, Basel World is one of the biggest events on the horology calendar and watch lovers (read the Chinese) from all over the world flock the exhibition halls at MessePlatz. This was my first experience at the event, and I was uncomfortably floored.
So what is Basel World exactly?
A few facts before I pour out my true feelings:
- More than 300 brands, more than 100,000 visitors every year. Why? – I tried to find the answer.
- The primary purpose of the event is for brands to connect with wholesale buyers. Is that true? No. The watch sales and markets have experienced a serious decline in the past few years.
- The second purpose (which has become the primary purpose) of the event is for brands to connect with media. Enter journalists, bloggers, and influencers.
- The who’s who of the watch industry arrives, some in their own jets!
Basel World for the ordinary can be regarded as nothing short of an extra-terrestrial journey, where the world inside the halls is glimmering, shiny and lavish. The brands are housed in their respective “booths” where their exquisite timepieces are put on display.
What does a Basel World booth look like?
Now a booth could be anything, in this case, it doubles up as a lounge and the access to this lounge is with the wealthy. Outside this lounge, at the reception are these snooty gorgeous women in expensive jewelry and clothing. Their job (I assume) is to “shoo” the ordinary away and cajole the wealthy inside, to the land of champagne, oysters, and numbers!
The magic actually unfolds in this la-la land where the prices of the timepieces are unveiled over hearty laughs, “aww” moments, candor and some amount of disbelief. What happens in the booth stays in the booth!
What about the FQ (Fashion Quotient)?
Everyone dresses up at the Basel World, even journalists. In general, men were seen wearing crotch hugging suits with loafers and women were trying too hard (a cross between contemporary and formal wear). On the first day, in the ladies’ room, I heard a few women complaining about how atrocious the “lighting” at the event was? Uh huh, Picky!
I chose formals on both days. I wore a blue dress (Avirate) with a blazer (Zara) on day 1 and on day 2 I wore a lace dress in burgundy from H&M. My makeup was quick but evident. I wore a darker shade of lipstick than usual, I applied kohl and the eye shadow matched my outfit.
The “Actual” Exhibit
I believe that a whole lot of new models were introduced during the event from the classics Patek Philippe and Rolex to the contemporary Tag Heuer, and from the sporty Lacoste and Tissot to finally brands like Hublot, Tudor, and LaFerrari who seemed to be pushing the boundaries of design.
While I am no timepiece expert, a common trend was a lot of big brands (like Tag,Omega, Tissot, Hublot, Tudor, Oris etc.) introducing hybrid models which remain true to the horology mechanics along with the smartwatch revolution. A lot of smart watches had classic looks with touchscreen options or at least a blue tooth element in them. This is most definitely not just a watch trend but it marks the beginning of a revolution for future times.
I am an ardent watch-lover, I loved a lot of time pieces but the sweet spot prices range in between $3000-$10000.
Basel World kicked off Spring, and it was a welcome relief. The sun is out, it’s time to dress up, socialize and make merry. This time in Basel, might or might not be great for the timepieces but for the bars, restaurants, and hotels – this is the time to be alive.
All in all, it’s an out of the world (quite literally) experience and I look forward to more coverage and preparation for the next year.
Thanks so much for reading and checking out our event coverage. I’d love to hear your comments on the same.
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