Interview with the Director of EPHJ, Alexandre Catton
Should we expect something special for the Show’s 20th birthday?
It will definitely be different for our exhibitors, for whom we’re planning a birthday party that will truly make this year’s event stand out. It will be an evening full of wonderful surprises. It makes sense they should be the first to benefit after all their years of loyalty and the complicated times we’ve recently been through with the pandemic. The pleasure of spending a great time together and seeing each other in real life will always be one of EPHJ’s key values.
Will any other events be organised to help celebrate this birthday Show?
We recently repeated a survey of young Swiss people aged 16 to 25 that we first carried out six years ago to get an updated view of how their views and feelings about the watchmaking industry. Turns out the findings have evolved and you will be amazed. Since we are well aware of the difficulties our exhibitors have in recruiting talent, we also surveyed them to better understand their human resources needs. The feedback we received confirms the difficulties they are having in finding the profiles they’re looking for. Given that situation, we joined forces with JobWatch to support companies in their recruitment efforts by allowing them to take advantage of the Show to distribute their job advertisements. JobWatch will help us identify potential recruits who can then meet with company representatives on the last day of the Show, depending on availability.
Any other highlights on the programme?
On 15 June, we’ve invited prestigious master watchmakers to meet and chat with collectors and industry professionals. They will then take part in a Round Table session on whether or not Swiss watchmaking is destined solely to the high-end sector and collectibles.
Can you give us some initial attendance figures?
The figures are in line with what we expected just 9 months after the 2021 show, which had to be postponed to September for obvious reasons. The number of exhibitors is up more than 26% compared to 2021, with nearly 700 exhibitors from some fifteen countries.
What about visitors?
The lifting of public health restrictions means more international visitors can come. Things are generally looking up and we should not be far off the 20,000 visitors we normally see at Palexpo.
Give us three good reasons to come to EPHJ from 14 to 17 June.
The quantity and quality of innovations on displays, the very high level of exhibitor satisfaction, 89% of whom say they do business and make deals at the Show, the high quality of the visitors to the Show, as recognised by 98% of exhibitors, and our incredibly rich programme of Round Table sessions wrapping up with the Job Dating event on the last day.