So with the end of the Swiss Watchmaker's holidays a slew of invitations and reminders found their way into the Tempus Fugit mailbox this AM bubbling with excitement about the upcoming Geneva Watch Days. And I was reminded, yet again, that apparently in Watch Town, it is still all about perception. Who can have the most celebrity partners? Who has the most talented footballers, or the fastest F1 drivers? Who laughs at fear and tweaks the nose of danger? And in this instance? Who does not have the basic common sense that we all were born with?
Now if you think I am being unreasonable, let's review what attending this potential super-spreader will entail for anyone outside of France, Italy, Germany or Switzerland. And keep in mind, Hercules himself managed 12 labors, so I guess the folks choosing to attend are getting off a little bit easier, they only have 10 -
1. Get on an airplane.
2. Get in a taxi or Uber or shuttle
3. Check into a hotel
4. Hop into more public/shared transportation
5. Eat in restaurants
6. Attend a "welcome" cocktail
7. Attend a group dinner
8. Attend a group party
9. Attend one or two private dinners
10. Visit at least 16 brands (maybe more)
Now even those hailing from the Cantons will still have to face 9 out of these 10 challenges.
Now let's consider some other realities -
Travel into Switzerland from North, Central and South America in most instances does not seem likely until September or October at the earliest, and even that is starting to look more and more doubtful as COVID-19 has become the latest participant in Urban Flight and is now embracing the heartland of the US. Some other interesting realities -
Infection rates are trending up in several European countries, and I realize that here in the US we are the big winners in the COVID-19 sweepstakes as we just passed 5 million cases, but the point here is that COVID-19 is clearly not yet under control.
Listen, I love going to watch shows. I like seeing old friends, and sparring with brand owners who think I'm full of shit. It's fun! But I would ask any brand to really consider this, it is one thing if the CEO or owner wants to put themselves in a giant Petri dish and go to Crazy Town. That's a solo trip and they are taking the risk themselves. It is something completely different when their staff are required to potentially put themselves at risk. As far as the press and clients are concerned, I suppose that in fairness that comes down to taking personal responsibility. This guy is staying put on the North Shore for the foreseeable ; )
We all want COVID-19 to be in the rearview mirror. We all want to return to normal. But what COVID-19 and the world's handling of it have laid bare, is that we are probably unlikely to ever be fully back to the way things were.
The one constant in life is change, and it really doesn't matter whether we like it or not, believe in science or not, vote liberal or conservative, prefer independent watch brands to big groups. We are here, now. And no amount of denial is going to change that.