Inside Watches and Wonders 2024: My Experience

Inside Watches and Wonders 2024: My Experience

With Watches and Wonders 2024 now in the rearview, I’m finally in a position to write and reflect after multiple full nights of sleep. Of course, we’re still in the midst of our coverage, with plenty more watch-focused writeups to come. And although it's probably in my best interest to get those out ASAP, I’d like to take some time to share my experience inside Watches and Wonders 2024 – while it’s still fresh in my brain. 

This was my second year attending Watches and Wonders. During last year’s fair, I had just 6 months of experience writing about watches; needless to say this year felt a bit different. While I’m still at the point of speechlessness when handed a quarter-million-dollar watch, I’ve nearly graduated past the point of giggles (for a reference of my professional experience). 

Watches and Wonders Rolex Window Shutters Closed

Because my perspective on this year’s fair is inextricably tied to last year’s (my first-ever trade show), I recommend catching up on that article if you’re interested. Last year, I only attended one private day – the very last one. This year, I showed up early on opening day (April 9th). As I walked past booths that were still being assembled, I felt an energy that was nowhere to be found on day 5 of last year. As corny as it sounds, the “Wonders” portion of Watches and Wonders was in full effect as I looked at Rolex’s shrouded display windows (above). Tudor had large black cloths draping their displays and other brands – those who distributed novelties under embargo prior to the show  already had their products on full display.

Tudor unveiled their new releases moments before Rolex. I was successfully baited over to the Tudor booth, missing the opening of the Crown’s shutters, but I understand that there were some technical difficulties. I heard that some shutters opened, closed, then got stuck halfway before finally staying open: a funny blunder that feels unfortunately appropriate given the reception of this year’s Rolex releases. Although Watches and Wonders had technically begun by the time these shutters opened, I’d argue that they’re what truly kicked off the show.

Watches and Wonders Rolex Crowds

For the next hour or two, myself and the rest of the Everest team were writing, taking pictures, and sharing live coverage of Rolex and Tudor’s releases. Something I didn’t experience last year was the crowding around the Rolex windows (above). For at least 45 minutes following the reveal, it was difficult to even see the new steel GMT-Master II, let alone capture a quality picture of it.

After the wild rush that was the first half of Tuesday, I fell into the swing of meetings, coffee breaks, short bursts of writing, grabbing a coffee, walking what felt like miles from one brand to another, ordering a quick coffee, etc. While I had a sense of familiarity that I didn't last year, none of the excitement or amazement had subsided. I still felt like a kid (in a suit) in a candy store. And yes, I remain dazzled by the mere concept of free food and drink; I don't think that will ever go away.

Beauregard Ulysse Movement Caseback

From a journalistic perspective, I found myself not doing what I frequently did last year: taking notes and/or asking questions on points likely answered by a press release. This is the Watches and Wonders equivalent of asking your professor a question that's addressed on the syllabus. I also brought my own camera this year despite having a photographer for most of the show: a fun experience that I learned a lot from. While my hard drive is now occupied by piles of unusable photos, the good ones made the entire effort worth it.

Final Thoughts

I enjoyed this year’s Watches and Wonders far more than last year’s, which says a lot given my overwhelmingly-positive experience in 2023. The biggest difference for me in 2024 was my sense of familiarity. As industry trade shows go, Watches and Wonders is a particularly large-scale, fast-paced, high-budget one. Having been there the year before, I was able to get more out of it and deliver higher-quality content as a result. Furthermore, I was able to reconnect with people I hadn't seen since last year's fair. I also met plenty of new faces, many of whom I've known virtually for some time. Although I didn't attend a public day this year, I highly recommend you do so if the situation ever presents itself. If you love watches, I'd say you have to experience at least one Watches and Wonders. Honestly, even if you have no interest in watches, you'll probably have a good time; there’s really nothing like this show. Last year, I remember wondering if I'd be back in 2024. Today, I'm counting down the days until spring 2025. 

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