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Getting Ready for Watches and Wonders Geneva

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Yet Mr. Barr of Craft + Tailored acknowledged, “I’ll be looking at everyone’s wrists the way a cobbler looks at people’s shoes.”

That said, he cautioned showgoers that, while watch spotting can be just as entertaining as the novelties themselves, “I feel like there could be pressure for someone attending this mecca for watches event to overthink what they put on their wrist. I never succumb to that. It’s always, what am I feeling today? Elegant? Funky? It’s a flow feel.”

“You know the movie ‘Midnight in Paris,’” Allen Soong asked during a video call from Turks and Caicos, where he was on a watch trip in early March, “Owen Wilson’s character is exactly how I feel going into Watches and Wonders. Like I’m wandering into a group of people who are so passionate; they are the great artists of the day. All these watchmakers and collectors, debating each other and joking around, and me enjoying them in their prime.”

Mr. Soong, 55, has been attending the Geneva trade event since 2009 and has an interest in early watches from the Grönefelds, Vianney Halter and Ludovic Ballouard, to name a few.

He also is one of the NorCal 6. And that crew’s secret? A shared spreadsheet of appointments, meals, logistics and events that goes back to 2010 and ensures the men can maximize their time, both as a squad and individually.

“Watches and Wonders is very much a team sport,” said Michael Hickcox, 50, another member who has been attending the trade show, on and off, since 1998, in part thanks to his godfather, Mike Dunn, a renowned collector. “It’s really daunting the first year. Even just getting your orientation, but people are super generous. Sometimes it’s hard to make your own appointments, but it’s easy to make friends.“

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