Inhorgenta is the largest watch and jewelry trade show in the European Union and the second-largest in Europe. Nevertheless, this event, which takes place every February in Munich, isn’t well known in much of the international watch community. Coverage pales in comparison to Baselworld, the world’s largest annual trade fair.
However, the tables may soon be turning. While Baselworld is losing more and more big names like the Swatch Group (Omega, Glashütte Original, Breguet, Longines, etc.), Breitling, Seiko, Bulgari, and others, the long-standing (since 1973!) Inhorgenta is gaining more traction within the watch industry.
This, despite the fact that the trade show’s focal point has traditionally been on the jewelry sector. However, as mentioned, the landscape of watch trade fairs is in flux at the moment. Shows around the globe are being moved, renamed, canceled, and redesigned.
As a German and European trade show, Inhorgenta could profit from this upheaval in the coming years; especially when media and watch bloggers (like me) can report on the newest developments from German and Swiss watch brands in February – a good two months before Baselworld.
That in and of itself is a good enough reason to attend the fair and check out the new models in person.
In this article, you’ll find updates from: Sinn from Frankfurt, Mühle from Glashütte, Maurice Lacroix from Switzerland (2020’s official partner country), and the Citizen Group from Japan. The latter, which now includes Frederique Constant, Alpina, and Bulova, was one of the show’s largest exhibitors. It’s safe to say Citizen is a big name in the watch industry.
Inhorgenta 2020: Microbrands, Fashion Watches, and Global Players
Before we get to the new releases, I’ll give you a brief overview of the event. Inhorgenta is by no means comparable to Baselworld; their foundations are completely different. Baselworld is first and foremost a luxury watch trade show. More affordable timepieces, if present at all, are generally an afterthought. At Inhorgenta, on the other hand, you could say the exact opposite.
In short, the watches that make it to Basel are typically in the five to six-figure range, while in Munich, most timepieces are in the three to four-figure range. The motto is more along the lines of: Watches for the people, not only for the yacht owners.
That being the case, you’ll have the chance to see quite a few microbrands, fashion watches, small and large long-standing manufacturers, traditional German and Swiss brands, as well as international giants like Citizen and Casio.
Let’s begin with two German manufacturers who debuted a few new watches at the Munich fair. These were more or less world premieres, and certainly among my Inhorgenta 2020 highlights.
Made in Germany: New release of the Sinn “Bund” Pilot Chronograph 158
The new Sinn Pilot Chronograph 158 is a new limited edition of the legendary Sinn 155. The new model is limited to 500 pieces. A bit of history: In the 1980s and 90s, company founder Helmut Sinn (1916-2018) got his hands on old German military timepieces, serviced them, and resold the Heuer chronographs (Heuer Leonidas SA 1550 SG and Heuer 1550 SG) with a new dial. He called these refurbished watches the Sinn “Bundeswehr Chronograph for Pilots.” Today, these timepieces are coveted collector’s items.
Other similar models followed, including the 156 and 256. There were special editions of the 155 made for the Japanese market, for the retailer Manufactum, and together with the online magazines The Rake and Revolution (Sinn 155 “Dark Star”). All of these watches have since ceased production, which is reflected in the market. Fans of these pilot’s watches will be delighted to see Sinn’s remake of the original “Bund Chrono.”
Details: The stainless steel case is 43 mm in diameter and water-resistant to 10 bar (100 m, 328 ft). The watch is powered by the SW 510, an automatic chronograph movement (bi-compax) made by Sellita. The model is limited to a run of 500, with a list price around 2,900 USD.
Learn more about the original “Bund” watch by Heuer/Leonidas in this Chrono24 article: Special Vintage Watches: Heuer “Bund” Flyback Chronograph
Made in Germany: Mühle Glashütte – Panova Gray
Mühle Glashütte celebrated their own world premiere with the Panova Gray. It is a very moderately priced entry-level watch, especially compared to other Glashütte-based brands. While other watches from this German watchmaking center typically cost several thousand dollars, Mühle lists this watch at just over 1,000 USD.
For that price, you’ll get a three-hand 40-mm stainless steel watch with a refined automatic Sellita movement (200-1), an in-house rotor, and a patented shockproof swan-neck regulator. Mühle tests their watches in six different positions and, thanks to their self-regulation, achieves accuracy between 0 and +8 seconds per day. According to the manufacturer, this is in line with chronometer standards. Regardless, those are some impressive levels of accuracy.
If the gray dial and orange accents aren’t your style, check out the other two color combinations Mühle has in their lineup: A blue Panova was released in 2018 and a green Panova debuted at Inhorgenta 2019.
Swiss Made: Maurice Lacroix – AIKON Venturer GMT, Bronze, Two-Tone, and Skeleton Chronograph
There were a few more new releases presented –some two months before Baselworld! Swiss manufacturer Maurice Lacroix unveiled a number of new models “behind closed doors.” According to the manufacturer, they have been tirelessly working to build up the AIKON line. This year will see the release of a GMT AIKON Venturer and a skeletonized chronograph, as well as bronze and two-tone versions.
For frequent flyers: the AIKON Venturer GMT with a second time zone and 24-hour ceramic bezel. Diameter: 43 mm, Price: approx. 2,700 USD
Transparent: the AIKON Chronograph Skeleton with a view of its inner workings. Diameter: 44 mm, Price: approx. 7,500 USD
Bronze Age: the AIKON Venturer with a green dial, green rubber strap, and bronze case. Diameter: 43 mm, Price: approx. 2,700 USD
Balanced: the two-tone AIKON Venturer in steel and gold with a blue dial. Diameter: 43 mm, Price: approx. 2,900 USD
Made in Japan Meets Swiss Made: Citizen Group: Alpina, Bulova, and Frederique Constant
Now to Citizen, or more accurately, the Citizen Group. Citizen is arguably a global player in today’s industry, but they are still operating a bit “under the radar.” It’s hard to believe, considering the firm has more than 100 years of history to look back on; produces its own movements (Miyota), which are sold to countless other brands; and even has a Swiss watch brand in its portfolio.
Citizen had a so-called multi-brand booth at Inhorgenta. In addition to their own models, they displayed watches from Alpina, Frederique Constant, and Bulova. Unfortunately, none of these brands had any new releases this year – at least not officially. Most of the watches on display were already well known models:
It would appear this group is saving their premieres for Baselworld. Nevertheless, it was interesting to see the diversity of products Citizen now has on offer, especially in terms of technology and price range.
From the popular, affordable retro watch for just over 200 USD …
… to a super high-tech watch with the Caliber 0100, which boasts an impressive one-second deviation per year.
This impressive accuracy is made possible by an in-house quartz movement. The watches cost anywhere from 7,000 to 16,000 USD, depending on the model and run. Seeing Citizen watches in this price segment may come as a surprise to some watch fans.
It would appear that Citizen is trying to give fellow Japanese brand Seiko – and their successful Grand Seiko luxury series – a run for their money. It will be interesting to follow Citizen’s developments in this price segment in the next few years.
So, that rounds out my personal highlights and impressions from this year’s Inhorgenta.
I will mention that the event feedback I heard from various attendees and exhibitors was largely positive. The show organizers seemed very engaged and motivated to offer exhibitors the best possible opportunities to showcase their brands. Inhorgenta has certainly gained traction with German watch manufacturers who predominantly sell their products regionally. In fact, several have reportedly crossed Baselworld off their lists – for now, at least.
It remains to be seen how much international interest Inhorgenta will receive in the coming years. However, all signals seem to be pointing upwards.