MARTIN FOSTER reflects on the 2023 edition of Inhorgenta Munich following a remarkable increase in attendance.
Inhorgenta Munich unfolded across four days late last month and provided a refreshing change from the conflicts plaguing the Swiss industry exhibitors in recent years.
It continues to offer the format and facilities emulating the engaging elements of the best days of Baselworld and now presents an attractive prospect for watch exhibitors in the coming years.
Baselworld has declared itself finished, however; Inhorgenta Munich is now wide open and inviting annual bookings. The event was once very strong with its watch industry presentations until about a decade ago when Baselworld was successfully promoting its ascendancy.
The landscape has now changed following the COVID-19 pandemic, the shutdown of Baselworld, and the political hostilities making headlines in Europe, China and Hong Kong.
The most recent of these of course is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February of the past year.
These events have all contributed to Inhorgenta Munich being seen as an ideal venue for the wide variety of middle-range and intermediate watch brands which otherwise get lost in the melee of the Geneva events.
The ‘big end of town’ in terms of brands, such as Rolex, Patek Philippe, Chopard, Vacheron Constantin and LVMH are unlikely to appear at Inhorgenta Munich as they are now clearly committed to their higher profile at Watches and Wonders Geneva.
With that said, the Munich trade fair is understandably expanding again, especially among mid-luxury brands, including SEIKO, Citizen, Festina, Garmin, Junghans, Liu Jo, Mondaine Watch, Montres Edox as well as Nordgreen, Casio and Staudt Chronometrie.
Six spacious exhibition halls greeted visitors and were dedicated to watches, jewellery and gemstones, glamorous craftsmanship and innovative designs.
These were joined by a supporting program of diversity – from counterfeit watches and artificial intelligence in jewellery design to sustainable supply chains.
The Watch Boutique in Hall A1 hosted presentations by MeisterSinger, Mühle-Glashütte, Tutima Glashütte, Michel Herbelin, Alexander Shorokhoff and Raymond Weil.
The Salon Suisse enjoys an increasing demand, with brands such as Al-Time, Aerowatch, Continental and Elka Watch participating for the first time.
In terms of how well the fair performed, Stefan Rummel, CEO of Messe München revealed that there were approximately 24,000 visitors, a 51 per cent increase compared with 2022.
Commenting on a foreign visitor share of 40 per cent he says “Inhorgenta Munich is back in a spectacular way, more international than ever and strikingly confirmed as a serious platform for the watch, jewellery and gemstone industry in Europe.
“With around 800 exhibitors from all over the world, including many brands of great charisma, the foundation has been laid for further international growth for brands and retailers in 2024, when Inhorgenta Munich celebrates its 50th anniversary.”
The event organiser conducts an annual design award and the winners are announced and featured at a gala during the fair.
“The Inhorgenta Award is our way of providing a great stage for exceptional creations from the jewellery, watch and gemstone industries – from a piece of jewellery by a young newcomer, a special watch by an established brand to a newly conceived retail concept,” explains Rummel.
“We are particularly pleased with the strong international participation, as 80 of 137 submissions came from 37 foreign countries.”
The category ‘watch design’ demanded applicants produce an innovative concept and independent design with a high recognition value.
The award winner for 2023 was Uhrenfabrik Junghans.
Inhorgenta Munich is a supporter of technical education and provides exhibition space and financial assistance to the Goldschmiedeschule mit Uhrmacherschule in Pforzheim, a goldsmith and watchmaking school situated in southwest Germany.
This ‘traditional’ school was established in 1767 and is a vocational institution with headquarters and classrooms at St. George’s Way in Pforzheim, combining faculties for goldsmiths and watchmakers.
Augsburg, a very old area of German clock, watch and jewellery manufacture is also a significant supplier of tools and equipment for the industry.
Today, Inhorgenta Munich is the only broad-spectrum European Union trade fair which includes a tools and equipment category.
The range of high-quality tools, equipment and machines available for the industry from Boley, Augusta, Beco, Flume, Horbach and other major German houses can only be fully appreciated by taking the time to visit them all at the fair.
All exhibitors reported strong footfall and good sales.
The fair provides a wide cross-section of machines, tools, watches, clocks, jewellery and maker’s forums which is certainly informative and highly relevant to this industry. Most exhibitors speak English if your German is at all shaky.
Next year Inhorgenta Europe will open its doors at the grounds of the New Munich Trade Fair Centre on 16-19 February 2024.
Before then; however, attention will turn to Watches and Wonders Geneva, beginning on 27 March and concluding on 2 April.
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