When we decided to open a haute horlogerie salon in Mexico in the first week of October 2007, our market had been preparing for it for years without knowing it. The third millennium had begun with a free trade alliance between Mexico and Switzerland, and watch sales had been growing in double digits for seven seasons.
The Salon International de Haute Horlogerie (SIAR) was born with high hopes and with the gift of timing in time and space. It debuted with the 38 brands that had to be there at the time. They were almost all the brands that had a certain prominence in the market and the most respectable independent creators: Richard Mille, Greubel Forsey, F.P. Journe and Urwerk, among others. Two industry legends came to toast Mexico’s debut as a watchmaking powerhouse: Jack Heuer, TAG Heuer’s long-time honorary chairman, and astronaut Eugene Cernan, who at a packed Omega conference recalled that what surprised him most about the moon was its darkness.
Mexican-American designer Octavio Garcia rediscovered his origins on the first trip to SIAR and has since returned repeatedly, having become a celebrity.
The Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, the most respected institution for the dissemination of watchmaking values in the world, held its first conference, and Cartier and Chopard realised that their haute couture vein had found fertile ground here.
The success of that first SIAR fulfilled what Antonio Seward, Audemars Piguet’s regional director at the time, had predicted: “We need a show not to be discovered by Mexico, but for Switzerland to put us on the map”. A month later Paris premiered its Salon Belles Montres, three years later London followed with Salon QP and six years later New York joined the regional events with Time Crafters. We know that at least the last two had SIAR as the benchmark of what the firms expected: a group of top brands, a luxurious and sophisticated staging, a programme of cultural activities and the atmosphere of privacy for watch-buying visitors or potential watch buyers.
In recent years, most of the watch industry’s CEOs have paraded through SIAR’s exhibition spaces, the most established creators such as: Giulio Papi, François-Paul Journe, Stephen Forsey, Carole Forestier, Vincent Calabrese, Daniel Roth, Jean-François Mojon, Andreas Strehler, Felix Baumgartner… More than 130 brands have been presented in public, some of them unveiled for the first time in Latin America, over the years, more and more firms have taken advantage of the start of their high season to present their world premieres at SIAR. Not to mention the presence at two of our editions of the Fondation du Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) with the great watchmaking prizes.
This was the case with the latest edition of the TAG Heuer V4, the Gérald Genta Metasonic, the HM5 and HM6 from MB&F, or the complete Montblanc collection for 2016 last October, which attracted journalists from the United States, Europe and the Middle East, in addition to those from Latin America who usually travel to Mexico for the event.
The 2013 edition alone saw the first showing of La Esmeralda, the pocket watch with tourbillon under three gold bridges that belonged to Porfirio Díaz, the masterpiece of the Girard-Perregaux Museum, computed the highest number of accredited journalists, Vacheron Constantin organised the first-ever charity auction for the benefit of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) of a Traditionelle World Time, a unique timepiece for Mexico that doubled its starting price, the 2011 edition was the record-breaking one.
Grandiloquent figures that help to put into perspective the enviable health of the relationship between haute horlogerie and its first Latin American market. But the show was also a forum for the exchange of ideas. Philippe Merk, the then president of Audemars Piguet, warned at a round table in 2009 that watchmaking had gone too far in invading the market without considering demand.
Fifteen years. An instant but a long learning. Three lustrums in which we have seen Mexico become, slowly but surely, in a market of enviable watchmaking maturity with SIAR as a forum for celebration. Last year we snuck into the only glimmer of light among the covid tunnel of darkness and it was an unexpected survival party. In June SIAR and its community responded as always.
Something foreshadowed a SIAR in October with good results. It was going to be the first salon with ‘green light’ since the beginning of the health emergency, and so it was. Mexico, magical. The XV edition left us with a message of optimism after the calm of 2020. We gathered 52 brands, eighteen more than the previous edition. We were helped by the success of the previous year. We were delighted to welcome back historical allies who could not be there last year: Bulgari, Montblanc, Chopard… Breitling also reappeared, a firm called to recover its splendor of the 90s, of the 00s in Mexico and long absent. For the first time the Swiss Independent Watchmaking Pavilion (SWIP) participated with a group of creators totally unknown in Mexico
Several trends have become consolidated over the past fifteen years and we were able to confirm them once again. SIAR, a rara avis dedicated since its inception to the final customers (#ThinkingAhead… since 2007), remains ideal place to present and find superlative creations away from commercial watchmaking.
From 18 to 20 October, SIAR celebrates its sixteenth edition with the feeling of being an event that has definitively changed the way of seeing, understanding, presenting and consuming watchmaking in Mexico and Latin America. In a year like this, the Mexican show will put to the test the dynamising effect that it has had over the last fifteen years. Once again, all the attractions will be on display at the St Regis Hotel in Mexico City. CEOs, global and regional managers, creative directors and master watchmakers will come to the country to enjoy the enthusiasm of one of the world’s most knowledgeable audiences. We invite you to join them.
General Director of Salón Internacional Alta Relojería