By Olivia Quiniquini
Luxury timepieces have always been the belle of the ball at Baselworld, attracting the most buyers and attention at the annual show. This year was no exception. But the show still served its purpose for fine jewellery players seeking to get their brands into more retailfronts and points of sale the world over.
At Baselworld 2012 from March 8 to 15, silver jewellers went all out in highlighting the latest sparkles in their portfolios to retailers and distributors.
Italian brand Nanis, long known as a master of silver jewellery with marcasite, took the lid off its first attempts with crystals and yellow gold-plated pieces. Sales manager Dario Pastorelli said the company was offering more plating options for various pieces to inject more colours in its collections.
Adami & Martucci likewise made the most of Baselworld’s opportunities for exposure to media and buyers. The young Italian brand, established some three years ago, highlighted its addition of new elements to its signature silver mesh jewellery. The Ocean collection incorporated mother of pearl in its silver and mesh necklaces and bracelets. White, purple or pink mother of pearl also brought a new twist to the Dune collection of brushed silver jewellery. Meanwhile, stingray gave an edgy advantage to Adami & Martucci’s mesh jewellery.
Operations manager Henrik Michel said the brand enjoyed a 130 percent increase in turnover last year, thanks to its expansion into new markets such as Turkey. “As a mid- to upper-market brand, we want to grow further in traditional stores and multi-chain stores. The UK and France are some markets we are looking at this year,” Michel revealed.
Baselworld 2012 was the initial international foray of Lois Hill, the silver designer brand from the US. By day four of the show, chief operating officer Angela Poppe happily reported that she had been inundated with queries and orders from Western European markets and even the Caribbean.
Peter Bruining’s silver brand, Dji Dji, was also making its international debut at the 2012 show. The Dutch company had launched its silver offerings three years ago, securing high-end positioning at department stores in the Netherlands and Belgium. Maayke Bruining, the brand’s co-designer, said Dji Dji’s mid-market stackable trendy silver bracelets were trying to reenter the international scene. “We had a big US agent before and then we concentrated on our home market. Now, we are looking to find German agents.”
Palido Jewels of Austria highlighted its Laura Coon brand featuring silver jewellery with cubic zirconia. Managing director Christoph Paukner noted that the collection of “everyday silver jewellery” still accounted for a small percentage of sales but had high growth rates. “We have started to make shop-in-shop systems for Laura Coon and have no pressure at present to establish a flagship. We are expanding to the Netherlands, Switzerland and the US,” Paukner said.
Sea of change
Baselworld 2012 also saw a number of gold jewellery manufacturers dipping their toes in the silver pool, often with satisfactory results.
Italian gold jeweller Gavello used Baselworld as a testing ground for its first silver collection, featuring plain silver pieces and classic cameos in silver darkened by galvanic baths, as well as silver jewellery with gold or with stones. Company executive Paolo Martinelli said: “This silver collection was a test for us, and it seems it has been a great success!”
Another Italian company, Favero, introduced Bijoux. Marrying silk and silver, the collection was Favero’s attempt to catch a share of the Eastern Europe market, said executive Cristina Carniel. “Favero has been into gold since 1973. We now expect around 20 percent of our business to come from silver, with the opening of new markets,” she said.
As its exhibitors shifted gears to offer clients more, Baselworld organiser MCH Group was similarly invested in reinventing the show as the definitive showcase for international watch and jewellery brands.
The 2012 edition, with its March dates, was held earlier than usual to accommodate construction schedule for the venue expansion. Baselworld 2013, from April 25 to May 2, will thus have a total gross exhibition area of 141,000 square metres.
MCH Group is also creating a separate show for the supply industry, LAUSANNETEC. The trade fair, from May 22 to 25, is aimed at watch and jewellery industry managers in the field of development, production, after-sales service and purchasing.
“Baselworld will become more of an event for brands. This will be even more the case next year,” MCH Group CEO René Kamm explained. “LAUSANNETEC will be an additional platform where the focus is on the supply industry rather than the brands. But we will still have space for these exhibitors at Basel.”
Baselworld 2012 welcomed some 104,300 specialist buyers from more than 100 countries.