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Perfect Timing(HKTDC Watch & Clock, Vol 02,2008)

Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair

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The world's second-largest exporter of watches and clocks is a fitting host for the largest timepiece industry fair in September this year

The Hong Kong watch industry is enjoying glittering growth, underlining the industry's competitive edge, its international reputation for speedy response, consistent quality and reasonable prices.

Latest figures show that Hong Kong's total exports of watches and clocks topped US$6.4bn in 2007, a 6.3% increase over 2006.

That winning combination renders Hong Kong the perfect location for the industry's premier event, according to Agnes Chan, Senior Exhibitions Manager for the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), which organises the event in cooperation with the Hong Kong Watch Manufacturers Association Ltd and The Federation of Hong Kong Watch Trades and Industries Ltd.

"The Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair has been running for more than a quarter of a century now - this year's fair will be the 27th edition - and it just keeps getting bigger and better every year," claims Ms Chan.

She notes that some 800 exhibitors from 18 countries and regions attended last year's fair, including group pavilions from the Chinese mainland, Taiwan and Korea.

"Their displays of the very latest timepieces, designs and equipment attracted a total of 16,385 trade visitors from 100 countries and regions," Ms Chan notes.

Exhibitors came from Hong Kong, Canada, the Chinese mainland, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan, the UAE, the UK and the US.

"Other participants included more than 1,100 companies from 55 buying missions from 41 countries and regions organised by the HKTDC," Ms Chan adds.

The Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair 2008, which will run from September 3-7 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, will again feature such traditional exhibits as complete watches and clocks, parts, components and equipment, machinery, packaging and trade services.

It also includes more recent attractions such as the prestigious Brand Name Gallery, a premium showcase of licensed and original branded watches, as well as fine fashion labels and designer collections.

First introduced in 2000, the Brand Name Gallery has become an exciting drawcard for exhibitors and buyers alike, Ms Chan says. "Last year's Brand Name Gallery attracted 113 participating brands represented by 87 exhibitors from 15 countries and regions - nearly 18% more than 2006 and the highest brand total since the gallery was established," she notes. "As such, it reflects the increasingly important role of design and brand recognition in the international market."

The gallery hosts exhibitors who have a strong fashion component in their products, who are promoting designer collections, or who want to raise the profile of their own brands or licensed products. "Many major labels have chosen the Brand Name Gallery to exhibit their timepieces," Ms Chan notes.

"The elegant Brand Name Gallery creates an intimate setting and atmosphere that promotes brand awareness and quality products to their very best advantage," she claims.

"The latest creations from these international labels provide an invaluable insight into the upcoming fashion trends, which is essential information for buyers who want to stay ahead of the fierce competition in the industry's markets."

Perfectly situated in the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wanchai, the Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair offers a myriad of additional industry attractions.

"Not only do the exhibits offer an overview of the global industry, but the thousands of industry peers who attend offer huge networking possibilities," Ms Chan explains.

"In addition, the Asian Watch Conference, which is a highlight of the fair, showcases experts from around the world who share their expertise on key industry initiatives and concerns."

Other popular attractions include the display of the winning creations in the Hong Kong Watch & Clock Design Competition. "This event provides a unique opportunity to see how design trends are developing in Asia, as Hong Kong is recognised as a leader in terms of watch designs in particular and product development in general," Ms Chan says.

The clocks are counting down to the Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair 2008, so smart buyers will make sure they are at the most important industry event of its kind in the world.

TEXT BY SANDRA JENNER