Luxury Watchmakers Head to Geneva Fair With New Hopes

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PARIS — Luxury watchmakers head to Geneva this month armed with renewed self assurance, having climbed back into growth territory following a two-year slump. The industry’s first gathering of the year, the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, or SIHH, held in Geneva from Jan. 15 to 19, will set the tone for the coming months. It takes place with the entire stable of 17 luxury watch brands who attended last year and a newcomer: Hermès. The French luxury firm, which launched series three of its collaboration with Apple Watch in the fall, has defected from rival trade show Baselworld. Along with gawking at pricy new timepieces, fairgoers will seek clues about how the market is shaping up for the future, as the industry enters a period of tougher comparative figures. After months of retrenchment, marked by layoffs and cost-cutting, and finally relieved by the return to growth, watchmakers are jockeying for their standing in a competitive environment. The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry last month noted the uneven nature of the recovery, with key markets either growing briskly or falling moderately. Analysts are forecasting annual growth of around 3 percent for the high-end watch sector this year and beyond. By contrast, Bain &

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