The watch and clock industry is an industry-of-industries, aggregating component and accessory makers as well as final product assemblers and marketers. Quality component and product makers gravitate to a handful of hubs, such as Switzerland and Hong Kong.
Both centres featured at the 42nd HKTDC Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair and 11th Salon de TE, organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), Hong Kong Watch Manufacturers Association Ltd and The Federation of Hong Kong Watch Trades & Industries Ltd.
In spite of the torrential downpour in Hong Kong, the fairs still welcomed nearly 15,000 buyers from 95 countries and regions, bringing brisk trade to the fairgrounds.
Under the EXHIBITION+ hybrid model, online exhibitions will continue until 16 September, providing additional opportunities for buyers to browse products and conduct business exchanges.
Exhibitors came from 17 countries and regions. The Swiss Independent Watchmaking Pavilion (SIWP) and Franceclat returned to the fairs, while the International Luxury Group (ILG) made its debut. Together, they showcased a variety of Swiss and international watch brands. ILG Chief Operating Officer Chavadi M.S said Salon de TE was an excellent platform for identifying business partners and OEM suppliers.
The debut Guo Chao theme garnered much attention. A number of heavyweight Chinese watchmakers showcased timepieces that blend Chinese cultural elements with exquisite craftsmanship.
Exhibitors bullish on sales
To gauge watch and clock industry trends for next year, the HKTDC conducted an on-site survey during the fairs, interviewing about 900 exhibitors and buyers for their views on topics, such as market outlook and product trends. The survey found nearly 60% of respondents expect overall sales to grow in the next two years. Most respondents consider Korea, Australia & Pacific Islands, North America and Japan to offer the best growth prospects among traditional markets, while India, the Middle East, Mainland China and ASEAN countries are the most promising among emerging markets.
In terms of product trends, 26% of respondents expected smartwatches to continue as the most popular watch category, followed by mechanical watches (22%), automatic watches (16%), and quartz analogue watches (14%). They consider fashion watches (34%), smartwatches (32%) and leisure type watches (23%) to have the highest growth potential in the future.
Paul Anthony Yuen, Industrial Director of Hong Kong’s Dayton Industrial Co, said the Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair and Salon de TE were the world’s largest marketplaces for watches and clocks as well as parts and components. “The Wearable Tech Zone inside Salon de TE provides an important platform for us to promote our smartwatches and look for cooperation opportunities.”
All-new Scan2Match offered alongside Click2MatchO2O scans foster business opportunities
Augmenting EXHIBITION+, the HKTDC recently launched the Scan2Match function for fairs, enabling buyers at the physical exhibition who scan the exhibitors’ QR codes with the HKTDC Marketplace app to bookmark their favourite exhibitors, browse product information and e-floor plans, make product enquiries and continue discussions online even after physical fair, extending the interactions from offline to online platforms.
Swiss exhibitor Ribawatch (Suisse) Sarl has participated in the Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair since 2008. Marketing Manager Rami Taher said: “Due to COVID-19, we were unable to attend the physical fair last year. We are happy to be coming back this year and have high expectations. The HKTDC’s Click2Match service has helped us set up six business matching meetings.”
Naouras Dabaan, COO of the Dabaan Group Co., a watch manufacturer and distributor in the United Arab Emirates, noted that he had visited the Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair more than 10 times. “At this year’s fair, I have met with six new suppliers and 11 existing suppliers. So far, I have placed orders worth US$400,000 in total, with five watch suppliers.”