WatchTime New York, America’s largest public watch event dedicated solely to collectors and enthusiasts, wrapped up its fourth year in Manhattan at Gotham Hall today. The two-day event began with a sold-out VIP cocktail party on Friday, October 26, followed by a full day of exciting panels, seminars, tours, and events on Saturday, October 27. Over the course of the two-day show, over 1,400 attendees came to see the latest watches from 35 internationally renowned watch brands: the largest number of exhibitors and the highest number of registered attendees the WatchTime New York Show has seen to date.
WatchTime Magazine presented the annual event for the fourth consecutive year with returning partner, media platform WatchAnish. Additional supporting partners included SWISS Airlines, Wempe, and Four Roses bourbon, along with The Wall Street Journal, Robb Report, Gear Patrol, Watchonista, The Horological Society of New York, and the RedBar Group. WatchTime New York 2018’s guests included notable international watch collectors, timepiece enthusiasts, and social media influencers, with an appearance during the VIP cocktail event on Friday, October 26, by Number-1 ranked amateur boxer Brian Ceballo.
Over four years, the event’s runaway success has exceeded all expectations, a phenomenon reflecting the changing landscape of the watch industry’s annual event calendar and the rising importance of the United States watch market. The WatchTime New York show has become both a direct-to-consumer experience and hub for the industry. This direct-to-consumer event format is uniquely tailored to the U.S. market: a formula that is as much the New York Fashion Week of watches as it is an enthusiast meet-up, trunk show exhibition, and educational forum.
As the buzz surrounding the show has grown, many brands have seized the opportunity to debut new watch models and collections to the world for the first time, exclusively at WatchTime New York. This year, Japanese high-end watchmaker Grand Seiko unveiled three versions of the new Grand Seiko U.S. Exclusive Limited Edition to the world, Raymond Weil debuted a new version of the Calibre RW1212 Skeleton as part of its Freelancer Collection with a “titanium-colored steel” case. American watch brand RGM debuted its William Penn Model for the first time among five other new timepieces, and Akrivia watchmaker Rexhep Rexhepi made his first-ever visit to the United States. Britain’s Bremont also launched its eighth historical, limited-edition timepiece to the world, the Bremont Supersonic, which commemorates the 50th anniversary of iconic aircraft, The Concorde.
The show opened on Saturday, October 27, with an opportunity for guests to “Meet Independent Watchmaking Stars,” including Rexhepi, Fiona Krüger, Stephen Forsey of Greubel Forsey, Kari Voutilainen, Romain Gauthier, and Roland Murphy of RGM. In this panel, moderated by noted collector and consultant Jeff Kingston, these notable watchmakers shared how and why they started their careers in horology. After the first panel, Kingston took registered guests on a tour of the exhibiting brands. Kingston’s annual tour and his “Inside Basel-Geneva” presentation, which took place later that afternoon, have become a much-anticipated highlight for show guests.
The mid-day, keynote panel of WatchTime New York 2018 convened a diverse group of industry experts to discuss “The Future of Watch Collecting.” The panel of experts was moderated by WatchTime Editor-in-Chief Roger Ruegger, and its roster of experts included: Jeremy Roizin, Managing Partner, WatchAnish; Davide Cerrato, Managing Director of the Montblanc Watch Division, Giles English, Co-Founder of Bremont; Ruediger Albers, President, Wempe USA; Tirath Kamdar, Founder of TrueFacet; and Reginald Brack, private collector and industry analyst. Taking a break from the fascinating watches on the floor of Gotham Hall, WatchTime New York guests enjoyed a whiskey tasting from Four Roses Bourbon.
The final panel of the day, “An American Movement,” sponsored by Gear Patrol, explored the rise and revival of American independent brands, including Brew Watches, Monta Watches, and Oak & Oscar, hosted by WatchTime Editor, Logan R. Baker, and joined by Gear Patrol Assistant Editor, Oren Hartov.
Remarking on WatchTime New York 2018, luxury watch collector Holt Ardrey observed: “This is the best WatchTime New York Show yet, in my opinion. WatchTime New York is really a family for serious collectors.”
Regarding the brand’s first time exhibiting at WatchTime New York, Greubel Forsey Co-Founder Stephen Forsey remarked, “What is great about this show is that it has such a nice diversity of companies, large brands and independents, and attendees of different ages with such a level of passion and knowledge. To have such an event in New York is very important for American watch collectors.”
The 2018 edition of WatchTime New York’s expanded line-up of 31 watch exhibitors was matched by sold-out ticket sales. WatchTime Editor-in-Chief Roger Ruegger remarked, “WatchTime New York has undoubtedly become the leading platform in the U.S. for brands to interact with collectors.” WatchTime publisher Sara Orlando added, “It is quite smart for brands to participate in events that build relationships with their customers on a more personal level. Once again, WatchTime New York has proven how important it is to connect qualified, enthusiastic customers to important watch brands and the people behind them.”