I’ve been known in the past to take a close look at the shows and bring the good, the bad and the ugly to the forefront. After spending a weekend in New York, it’s time to take a close-up look at WatchTime New York 2018.
The Good About WatchTime New York
To begin with, this show is highly successful and this year it exceeded expectations when it comes to high-quality foot traffic. With a top-notch sold-out cocktail party on Friday night, WatchTime New York launched with a bang. Executives from more than 30 exhibiting brands flew in from around the world to attend the two-day event. Watch collectors crowded Gotham Hall, checking out timepieces, talking to CEO’s and delving into the displays around the Hall.
Almost every brand showcasing its newest timepieces either had a watch secreted away to show only the chosen few (a sneak peek at what could be coming in 2019) or were boasting new watches that have never been seen in America before. The attitude during the Friday night event and all day long on Saturday was incredibly upbeat. G-Shock’s exhibition at the front of the hall was exceptional, with deconstructed watches, cases and movements, as well as detailed information about the robust and highly technical timepieces. Inside the hall, there were watchmaking demonstrations by some brands, and historical displays from others.
Thus far, this open-to-the-public event is by far the most successful of its kind in America. From the caliber of the brands exhibiting, to the caliber of the collectors attending, as well as the educational programs taking place concurrently, WatchTime is not to be missed.
One of G-Shock’s detailed display at WatchTime New York
Because I consider the WatchTime Magazine folks a bit like family (after all I do write for them, and the editors there are people I proudly call friends), this section is a bit difficult for me to write. However, there are two things about WatchTime New York that might be of concern. One: While it is the perfect size for the 30 exhibiting brands, the show may be outgrowing the space. It would be nice to see a few more brands showcasing their watches, but that would require a larger venue — and Gotham Hall is such a beautiful setting for the event that moving would be sad. It might be better if the show utilize the upstairs space — where it currently holds panel discussions — for a few more exhibitors, and use the smaller Oak Room for those panels. This idea brings me to the more personal issue I had with WatchTime New York this year: the panel discussions. While I understand the desire to involve a lot of brands in the discussions, the first two panels of the day seemed to have too many speakers on the roster, each answering the same questions. I would love to see more of a “conversation” style panel — with a talk amongst perhaps three key panelists, wherein the topic flows nicely and is explored more thoroughly. However, I may not be in the majority with my thinking here.
There is no getting around it: the New York weather was downright ugly. While last year’s event brought sunshine and Indian Summer like weather, this year was a mess of torrential downpours and high wind. Wet umbrellas abounded. Of course, there is nothing WatchTime New York can do to control the weather, but thankfully the event was so intriguing that the ugly weather didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits.
Looking forward to next year’s edition (if I am still invited).