Su Han: “China’s Interest In Luxury Watches And Jewelry Is Only Increasing”

Chinese Media Presence At Baselworld Growing

TARGET watch editor Su Han

TARGET watch editor Su Han

On the sidelines of this year’s Baselworld Watch & Jewelry Show, which wrapped last week, Phoenix Online (Chinese) caught up with Su Han (苏晗), former luxury editor at magazines like 1626, ELLE China, GQ China and current senior watch editor at the Chinese luxury magazine TARGET. An established observer of major trends in the booming China watch and jewelry market, Su discussed a few of the macro-level trends he spotted at Baselworld, including a growing Chinese media presence at the event. According to organizers, this year’s event brought in 104,300 visitors and 3,320 journalists — a 9 percent increase over 2011 — many of whom came representing media in mainland China and Hong Kong.

From Phoenix’s interview with Su (translation by Jing Daily team):

Phoenix Online (PO): What do you think the biggest bright spot was at this year’s Baselworld? How does it compare with previous events?

Su Han (SH): The biggest bright spot was that the crowds were back in force. This year I noticed an increasingly large Chinese media corps, too. China’s interest in and enthusiasm for luxury watches and jewelry is only increasing. Of course, part of this comes down to the rapidly growing Chinese market.

One difference is that this year’s Baselworld was held in March but next year it’ll be delayed ’til the end of April. So for those of us in the media who’ve been coming here for years, finally we won’t have to deal with going to the exhibition in the coldest part of winter and dragging around huge bags.

Most watches this year still have a “pragmatic” look. One of the highlights of this year’s event, for me, was the Blancpain Chinese Calendar watch (previously on Jing Daily). They did a great job of incorporating Chinese aspects like the five elements, concepts that not everyone outside of China really understands. To expose non-Chinese to these concepts and make sure they really “get” them is no small task. This piece really lets the world see some of the wisdom of our ancestors. I really applaud Blancpain’s efforts.


Blancpain's "Villeret" traditional Chinese calendar watch (Image: Blancpain)

Blancpain's "Villeret" traditional Chinese calendar watch (Image: Blancpain)

PO: If you were to recommend an entry-level watch for our white-collar readers, what would you recommend? (Annual income between 200,000-400,000 yuan (US$31,632-63,264))

SH: For entry-level buyers there are plenty of brands that have affordable models, like Jaquet Droz, Blancpain and TAG Heuer. Of course, if that person wants a watch with really complex features, this year Corum came out with an affordable tourbillon watch that’s worth checking out.

PO: So what watch are you wearing now? What attracted you to it?

SH: I wear a Bell & Ross BR 01-92 Airborne II limited-edition watch, which is a tribute to American paratroopers. The skull & crossbones was a good luck charm for these paratroopers, a symbol of courage and bravery. The brand had limited-edition versions with green skulls, red skulls and blue skulls. I chose the blue one.


Hard Luxury, Market Analysis