By Norman Miller
What always strikes me as ironic in Basel is the importance of time. I’ve been coming to Basel since the early ‘80s when it was The Swiss Industry Fair, and many things have changed, among them my ability to move between meetings as quickly as I used to. Seeing 120 brands in 6 days is no easy feat—and is NOT easy on the feet. You’re forever looking at your watch to make sure you’re not late for the next meeting. One late arrival throws your entire day off, not to mention those waiting to meet you! The ultimate irony.
These are my thoughts on this year’s fair:
- Touching and feeling hundreds of timepieces. Even on the publishing side of the business, I still love to touch product and revel in its artistry.
- Staying at a tiny Hotel just steps from the fair. In 29 Basels, I’ve never stayed in the city. I have stayed in Zurich, on boats and at 20 different locals.
- Dining at Restaurant Za Zaa , returning to Chez Donati for white asparagus and morels, and joining Tag Heuer at Farnsburg Liestel.
- Spending an evening at the Louis Vuitton mansion with Marcie and Bert Kalisher, publisher of Chronos, at their 42nd Basel. Well past customary retirement age, they are a staple here and Basel wouldn’t be the same without them.
- Carousing with my friend, colleague, co-conspirator, most knowledgeable watch writer and partner in crime Roberta Naas-even in full Diva mode. We are a great team, can finish each other’s sentences, and have probably shared nearly 7,000 bottles of wine through the years. May we continue to co-Basel—even when we’re in electric carts. Yes, I’ll drive.
- Literally falling for Dior. Leaving their stand, I missed a step, managed to stay upright, but only by twisting my knee in four different ways. And that, my friends, was the first day of the show.
- The restrooms. With the restructuring of the show in 2013, they did away with the main restroom by the entrance. By the time you can find one and either climb up or down the stairs to get to it, you are out of the aforementioned time. (Additionally, even after 29 years, I still can’t get used to the women in the restroom continually waiting to wash down the space.)
- The trip home. Call is post-Basel depression, but it’s always the longest part of the trip.
Looking forward to Basel 2015—my 30th!