Cartier's new Maillon watch

PARIS  — Watches & Wonders, the Geneva-based watch fair, is taking to the road with plans to host a show in Shanghai in September, joining a growing number of luxury labels taking to mainland China while travel remains subdued.

Eleven watch brands, including Cartier, IWC Schaffhausen and Jaeger-LeCoultre will take part in the event on Sept. 9 to 11 at the West Bund Art Center. 

The program includes product launches, talks, panels and workshops on watch trends, technology and mechanical movements, as well as demonstrations by artisans. 

Watches & Wonders, which was formerly known as SIHH and traditionally takes place in Geneva, became an online event in April this year as plans for a physical gathering were scuppered by coronavirus shutdowns in Switzerland. 

The Geneva showcase is dominated by labels belonging to Compagnie Financière Richemont.

The watch industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis. Exports of Swiss timepieces have declined 35.7 percent in the first six months of the year, according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. Business sharply improved in China, with a 47.1 percent rise in exports to the country, highlighting its importance to the industry.

Sales at Swatch Group were down 46.1 percent in the first half of the year, while sales at Richemont in the three months ending June 30 were down 47 percent.

Seventeen watch labels have decided to host events in Geneva at the end of August, for Geneva Watch Days, including Bulgari, which belongs to LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, and Kering-owned Ulysse Nardin and Girard-Perregaux. The activities will be held from Aug. 26 to 29 at stores and hotels in the city center.