The evolution toward a watchmaking character of the Vicenzaoro jewelry fair continues. After the performance of the editions subject to health restrictions, VO returns in a big way in 2023.
There is no doubt that the watch market is booming is nothing new: all industry indicators confirm that the passion for watches has never been so widespread. So, the Italian Exhibition Group intercepted this trend and, thanks to an agreement made with the Watches of Italy group, the trade show expanded its offer of spaces to include a representation of Italian microbrands.
Success beyond the highest expectations
The final visitor figures set the 2023 edition as the one for the record books, with a +11% increase in attendance compared to the 2020 edition of the fair, the one that had so far the highest attendance – and with one less day of opening. Of the more than 1,300 exhibitors, about a hundred came from watchmaking sector, covering both microbrands and well-established companies, as well as several vendors of watchmaking equipment and machinery. As a note, we saw a compact 5-axis CNC machine presented by the German Chiron Group capable of machining any material and obtaining a base plate in about 20 minutes which caused a stir.
Going back to the exhibition, the format makes the difference: apart from a dedicated pavilion like VO Vintage, the manufacturers were scattered within Hall 1, alongside the stands of jewelry manufacturers, and thus the fruition by the public, composed mainly of specialized retailers, was organic and uninterrupted, favoring the presentation of the brands that are aiming to enter traditional jewelry distribution.
The proposals of microbrands
We find it hard to define some of the companies we met as microbrands: many are solidly rising realities etching their mark on the global indie watchmaking scene, and they used Vicenza Oro as a platform to present their latest products to the traditional distributors. One example is Venezianico, which showed its GMT Ceratung with a ceramic and tungsten bezel. A beautiful and well-made timepiece animated by the new V3290 caliber created in collaboration with SOPROD.
But let’s also not forget the new Redentore models with mother-of-pearl dials and indexes dotted with diamonds – a unisex style that is becoming the latest market trend. Among others, we saw Gravithin with its Argo (which we featured in this article), and we heard the first rumors about a new model coming soo.
On the other hand, Out Of Order unveiled its cards, officially presenting its GMT Cocktail series in six different versions based on the Seiko NH34A movement, a sign that a passion for travel is an important trait for post-pandemic watches.
Traditional and fashion brands
In the jewelry universe, the difference between these niches becomes blurred, causing two very different companies, such as Daniel Wellington and Maurice Lacroix, to find themselves showing their products side by side – and this, in our view, is a good thing, since like this every retailer can discover targeted suggestions to serve their specific clients.
For example, Maurice Lacroix offered a version of its Aikon, the Venturer, with a 38 mm case and unidirectional rotating bezel, with a soft military green rubber bracelet embellished with the Maison’s logo.
Still talking about Italian microbrands, we noticed the presence of D1 Milano, with its models inspired by traditional watchmaking classics but re-proposed at much more affordable prices, such as the Polycarbon Street model, a Royal Oak in three color versions made of soft-touch polycarbonate that mounts a quartz movement. Ironic and fun at a truly affordable price (160 Euros).
The Italian Movement
The Italian Revolution of watches does not end here; it also expands into a strategic sector such as caliber production. We discovered it at Watches of Italy three years ago, and today OISA 1937 presents its own completely Italian-made caliber, produced through a collaboration with Locman. The caliber 29-50 “Cinque Ponti” (Five Bridges), with an elegant and cleverly retro design, reproduces with appropriate improvements the one developed in the 1960s by the Maison. It is hand-wound, but several unique versions are being studied, like the double barrel and the automatic, that will be presented in the coming months.
The cost is in line with mid- to high-end Swiss calibers such as La Joux Perret or Vaucher. Moreover, the performance is almost chronometric, thanks to a particular winding energy distribution system invented by Domenico Morezzi in the 1960s. In short: the conditions for a successful future are all there.
We were impressed by the evolution of these new communication formats, and Vicenza Oro represents an interesting case study involving the watch industry; we believe that the mix of jewelry and watchmaking has excellent potential. We are happy to witness this new synergy, which has already resulted in several side events, such as themed conferences.
So, we look forward to what the next edition of VO will bring us and how indie watchmaking, both Italian and global, will grow in the meantime.