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New Fashion Tours at Baselworld examine the links between high fashion and horlogerie

Join a Fashion Tour at Baselworld and delve into the horological history of some of the world's grandest couture brands to discover what makes them tick.

19 April 2013

For anyone who wonders what links watches with high fashion, Baselworld this year has the answer. The world's greatest watch and jewellery trade fair used to be full of the grand names of horology and technical watchmaking innovations - and it still is. But over the past decade or so it has been infiltrated by names more familiar from luxury advertising and international shopping malls: haute couture houses and luxury fashion brands. Houses such as Chanel and Dior have been showing for a decade, joined by the likes of Hermès, Versace, Gucci and Fendi and, most recently, luxury monoliths Louis Vuitton and Burberry.

Many of them went into watches in the 1970s, when such firms diversified into ready-to-wear and accessories, but these tended to be quartz and not too serious. Now the best have their own design departments, are very innovative - particularly in decorative areas, where watches link with jewellery - and some are even working towards their own manufacturing. Naturally these big brands have the money to throw at the best of materials, design and craftsmanship. And, as watches are a brilliant a canvas for showing off the coveted house symbols and logos, the links with fashion are very strong.

Any registered journalist visiting the fair who wants to learn more can join a Baselworld Fashion Tour, every half hour from 9am to 5pm on Friday April 26 and Saturday April 27. Avril Groom and Francesca Fearon, two very experienced journalists in fashion and jewellery, will delve into the history of these grand brands: where those famous house symbols came from, why they decided to go into watches and how the house codes are interpreted in timepiece terms. They will take a closer look at five famous brands and explain the very latest models at their stand displays. Just enough info, they hope, to encourage an in-depth appointment with each brand.

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