t won’t replace the flesh and blood kind, but it will give you a hint, a flavour, and perhaps a touch of nostalgia. No amount of Zoom meetings can ever fulfil our desire, our need, to be physically together. No paper document either.
But leafing through its pages (starting from the back, as you’re doing right now) is a little bit like taking a walk. You can stop, go back, focus intently on a small detail, speed up, slow down, or quickly skim through. It’s a little like strolling between the booths, all clamouring for our attention, hoping to draw us into a discussion, playing on our wish to find out more.
Like an actual fair, paper has a physical, geographical presence. It has fixed dimensions. Everything is together in one place, bound into a single volume.
“Like an actual fair, paper has a physical, geographical presence. It has fixed dimensions.”
Paper gathers and unites, just as a fair brings people together, whereas virtual media tend to scatter and isolate them in their own separate, solitary windows.
And on this note, as lockdown begins to ease and physical spaces gradually start opening up, statistics appear to show a sudden decline in watchmaking e-commerce. So, while online retail may have helped some actors to keep their heads above water, and, for a brief and unusual period, seemed to be triumphant, things have quickly resumed more moderate proportions.
The immoderate growth of e-commerce also revealed its limitations. After all, a watch isn’t a pizza, a supply of masks, or even an exercise bike. Choosing between two different guilloché patterns, between one shade or finish and another, appreciating the sound and feel of a chronograph pusher, or the drape of a bracelet on the wrist – a hundred and one physical details will determine whether you choose this watch or that. Watchmaking is all about detail. Indeed, a watch is the sum of all its details. Watchmaking is a physical art.
“We hope to meet you all again in 2021, to celebrate a real-life watch fair, together!”
A “Print Watch Fair” provides a foretaste of the experience we were unable to enjoy in 2020, but which we will almost certainly see again in 2021. We don’t yet know what these “new fairs” will look like, but they are already taking shape. And so, we hope to meet you all again in 2021, to celebrate a real-life watch fair, together.