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Sophomore Edition of Watches & Wonders Miami Draws 28,000

Attendance was up 40% at the free event.

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Independents tent

IF I SAID YOU could spend a weekend in February surrounded by blue skies, palm trees, dozens of luxury cars, the finest champagne, extremely large yachts, huge jewels, extraordinary works of art, and the latest releases by some of the world’s most respected Swiss watch brands (whew!), would you do it?

Well, you can, and next year, you should. The sophomore edition of Watches & Wonders Miami this past weekend had all of those magnificent things, J-Lo and A-Rod sightings, and oh, so much more.

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Visited by nearly 28,000 people over three days, according to the event organizers, Watches & Wonders Miami – a joint effort between the Fondation Haute Horlogerie (FHH) and the Miami Design District Associates – is already being hailed as a success with a 40 percent increase in attendance from its first edition in 2018. What makes this event different from watch-oriented fairs such as Baselworld, however, is that the event is open to the public for its duration and doesn’t charge an entry fee. Oh, and the fact that the event is held outside in 80-degree weather rather than in the middle of a Switzerland winter doesn’t hurt, either.

Another plus to Watches & Wonders Miami is that guests are invited to visit many of the brands and see their latest novelties in their pre-existing boutiques located in the Miami Design District in lieu of booths at a traditional trade fair. This makes for an intimate environment for those in attendance, and in some cases, buyers are treated to additional perks like visiting Cartier’s rooftop VIP lounge (I may or may not have had a glass of wine or two up there. I’ll never tell.) Attendees also have a variety of opportunities to learn more about the watchmaking world through the classes, seminars, lectures and panels set up at varying times throughout each day. For example, if independent watchmaking is your thing and brands like H. Moser & Cie or F.P. Journe are what you covet, then you likely would have wanted to hang around the independents tent where many pop-up shops were located and where several panels on collecting independent watches were held.

As a first-time attendee of the three-day event, what I probably liked most about it was that there wasn’t this separation of Richemont brands versus LVMH brands versus Swatch Group brands versus independent brands. I was running from Zenith to Romain Gauthier, then from Omega to Girard-Perregaux for appointments, which is something I could never do at one of the other watch fairs.

Watches & Wonders Miami offers an opportunity for those who may not be able to attend the SIHH in Geneva or fork out the thousands of bucks it often costs to get to Baselworld.

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Those who are members of the press, or who are collectors, or who are just your everyday watch enthusiasts can come and see the latest releases, and in some cases, releases specific to W&WM. And as a bonus, there is jewelry, too, including pieces by master craftsman Sevan Biçakçi, who was at the event to showcase his line of incredible one-of-a-kind watches nine (nine!) years in the making.

For now, Watches & Wonders Miami is one of the few watch events held in the U.S. that brings together brands as established and recognized as those exhibiting there. And with some of the international watch shows falling apart at the seams, it looks like it could be around for a long time to come.

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Barbara Palumbo is a watch and jewelry industry writer, journalist and speaker. She manages the blogging websites Adornmentality.com and Whatsonherwrist.com.

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Vegas Must-Haves #7: Attention-Grabbing Gold Chains That Mix New and Old

They’re being linked and looped together in creative ways.

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Heading out to Vegas for Jewelry Week? Here are some of the trends we are predicting you will see and that you might want to bring into your store. Some have been going strong for a few seasons, while others have been evolving for a couple of years. All are popular from the red carpet to the ready-to-wear runways to the jewelry design studios. So, why not try your luck with this trend or the others we will be showing?

Gold chains are back as a statement and a staple for your customer’s jewelry wardrobe.

I first started noticing the trend to weightier and gutsier chains in 2016, and they are being linked and looped together in creative ways. Many of the modern links take their cue from antique bold gold curb and paperclip watch chains and/or long vintage 70s large rectangular and oval links. Your clients can wear these alone or add charms and medallions. Foundrae is a perfect example of showing different lengths, styles and widths of chains and connector links to add their meaningful pendants. Add different charms or teach customers how to wear the longer versions doubled or creatively as lariats or elongated Y necklaces.

Tod’s Fall/Winter 2019/20 Runway Show

Jemma Wynne 18k gold Toujours emerald necklace with diamonds $15,750 jemmawynne.com

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Sylva & Cie 14K rose gold diamond oval link chain with champagne diamonds approximately .90 TCW sylvaandcie.com. 9,750.00

Foundrae 18K gold mixed oversized clip choker. foundrae.com. $14,995

Brent Neale 18K gold textured chain link necklace. brentneale.com $9,850.

Marla Aaron heavy sterling silver curb chain with baby 14K lock. marlaaron.com $682

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Editor's Note

This Year’s INSTORE Design Awards Winners Followed In a Stellar Tradition

With 25 categories, many designers had the chance to shine.

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EVERY YEAR, I’M consistently impressed by the ingenuity displayed by the jewelry designers who enter the INSTORE Design Awards. Two years ago, Hisano Shepherd of Little H made a splash with her fresh take on pearls, slicing them open and encrusting them with gemstones. Last year, Katey Brunini won three categories with three separate pieces from her intricate and colorful Eating Watermelon In The Black Forest collection, while TAP By Todd Pownell took two other categories with their striking, nature-inspired use of diamonds.

This year, with so many more categories (25, as opposed to eight last year), lots of designers made their mark. Adel Chefridi won two categories and a Retailer’s Choice award with his geometric matte designs. Thorsten placed with three different show-stopping wedding band designs. Manufacturers Gabriel & Co. and UNEEK Fine Jewelry each had multiple winners. The mesmerizing Sultana ring by Annamaria Cammilli Firenze cleaned up across several categories. Then there was our Grand Prize winning piece: the VIVAAN cuff (featured on our cover) with nearly 30 carats of natural fancy color diamonds that won over both our judges and online voters.

When you’re shopping the Las Vegas trade shows, start with the winners of this design competition. If they’re turning heads among our judges and online voters, they’re sure to turn the heads of your clients as well.

Trace Shelton

Editor-in-Chief, INSTORE
trace@smartworkmedia.com

Five Smart Tips You’ll Find in This Issue

  • When displaying men’s jewelry, opt for timeless elements like antique fly-fishing reels, old toy cars or old sports items. (Ask Instore, p. 91)
  • Longer ad copy yields better results, as proven by Google. (Jim Ackerman, p. 90)
  • Always display in odd numbers; it’s more aesthetically pleasing. (Three Things I Know About, p. 94)
  • Ask questions that elicit a “yes” from the woman in order to close the male buyer. (Shane Decker, p. 92)
  • When retirement is in the near future, start maximizing net profit to build the value of your business. (David Brown, p. 94)
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Vegas Must-Haves #6: Modern-Day Jewelry Where the Past Has a Presence

Everything old is new again.

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Heading out to Vegas for Jewelry Week? Here are some of the trends we are predicting you will see and that you might want to bring into your store. Some have been going strong for a few seasons, while others have been evolving for a couple of years. All are popular from the red carpet to the ready-to-wear runways to the jewelry design studios. So, why not try your luck with this trend or the others we will be showing?

Designers continue to travel back in time for inspiration. This is not a new concept. In jewelry the adage “whatever old is new again” is one that definitely applies. But today’s designers who borrow from the past are daring to mix different time frames, periods and materials with abandon. Here we look at designers who do one of two things: reflect on the past and revive symbols and motifs with a modern-day creative flair, or revitalize components from antique or vintage jewelry and work them into designs that are relevant today and will remain so well into the future.

Heavenly Vices’ Souvenir collection revives love tokens (actual coins from the 1800s) into modern day keepsakes and future heirlooms. Her sterling silver Gipsy coin is surrounded by a contemporary bezel of rubies and an orange sapphire set into the coin. It hangs from an 18” ruby bezel and silver chain. heavenlyvices.com. $1750 complete.

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Seal & Scribe uses antique hardstone intaglios and glass Tassies which are engraved with sentimental or symbolic meanings and motifs. Shari Cohen, designer creates original bezels and shanks for each piece from the past. Here her 18K gold ring features a yellow glass Tassie that is a rebus (puzzle of words and motifs) which reads hand to hold; heart to forgive. sealandscribe.com. $2,295

Darsana Arden14K yellow gold and silvered(antiqued) mirror in the shape of a crowned heart with tapered baguettes forming the crown. Crowned hearts in Victorian times represented “triumphant love” For Kathleen Sleigh designer behind the collection, “ it embodies our heart’s desire – to love and be loved with a fierce loyalty.” On 18″ chain. darsanajewelry.com $1550.00

Arman Sarkisyan 22K gold and blackened silver diamond and ruby arrow earrings. Arman Sarkisyan has consistently reinvented past iconic motifs with an eye for what the modern woman wants and with a current vibe. Here he takes cupid’s arrow which are meant to pierce the heart with love and creates linear earrings that are at once elegant and edgy. armansarkisyan.com. $7,480

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