So…? In watchmaking? In these difficult times… So then what?
There is a certain feverish feeling in the air, a sort of ambient nervousness set against a background of uncertainty. Everyday, the question comes up: So, what will happen this year in the watch industry?
It is a little like astrology. No one actually believes it, and yet everyone reads their horoscope in the doctor's waiting room. But even if these wizards wear the suit and pink tie of the financial pages' gurus, it really doesn't change anything. They know absolutely nothing about what will happen. Don't listen to them, they are ignorant. Just like you and me… no more, no less.
Stagnation, recovery, war, oil… The world of luxury is having these down to earth worries as it begins to slowly realize that the story is far from over, that a position is never assured, that hierarchies and strategies can be turned upside down. So then, what about the consumer? The famous consumer that has the annoying habit of changing his mind, of having money and then not having any (just ask the Argentineans!). Hardly do we think about him and he is here. Can't we put him in his rightful place, once and for all?
Ah, but if only we could count on the 'business plan', without having to worry about disruptions or surprises caused by the 'human factor'. But no. Man is not made to simply mark time in front of those 'roadshows' that try to make him believe that the future has already been written. No, things move, they change relentlessly. It is not only healthy but necessary that there are surprises in life, that the unexpected happens. Uncertainty, that wonderful uncertainty… isn't it at the root of our lives?
Hope comes from meeting and sharing. Why is it, in the Internet age, that the fairs, shows and other events are enjoying such success? Is it not precisely because they offer the 'human factor'? Nothing, absolutely nothing will ever replace the physical contact, the verbal exchange of ideas and projects, the act of building something together in the warmth of human relationships.
For the global watch community, the large spring fairs taking place in Basel and Geneva provide this human contact. It is their primary asset.
To answer the initial question as regards the watch industry in 2003: So then what? Whatever is going to happen, will happen!
What will be, will be!