Antwerp Diamond Conference, Visit Cartier, The JA Show – JCK

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You will hear JCK chief editor Victoria Gomelsky and director of information Rob Bates discuss the Dubai Horology Forum in New York, the Facets 2022 conference in Antwerp, and Victoria’s tour of Cartier’s watchmaking facilities.They talk about some futuristic concepts, such as digital twins, which are implemented in Cartier’s facilities. They also talk about the old craftsmanship that lives on and what the future may hold as things continue to change in the jewelry industry.

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Show Notes
00:30 Victoria visits the Dubai Horology Forum in New York
03:30 Rob recaps the Facets 2022 conference in Antwerp
09:20 Victoria traveled to Lausanne to do a press tour at Cartier headquarters
21:35 They talk about the end of the JA Summer show

Episode credits
Hosts: Rob Bates and Victoria Gomelsky
Producer and engineer: Nathalie Chomet
Taken : @jckmagazine

Show summary

Watchmaking Forum in New York
Victoria goes to the Dubai Horology Forum for the first time. It has been around since 2015 and attracts the biggest watchmakers and brands in the world. Designed as an educational platform, the show is not about selling. There will be stimulating talks, panels and conversations. The forum is taking its traveling edition to New York this year, so Victoria will be there. (The event will have already taken place since the podcast aired.)

Facettes 2022 show in Antwerp
Rob attended a conference in Antwerp called Facets 2022 virtually. It was one of the first major industry conferences since COVID-19, and a good opportunity for the industry to share some of the lessons learned.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo spoke, giving strong support for the arrival of Russian diamonds in Antwerp. Although the stance might be controversial, he felt it would hurt Belgium more than Russia by not letting those diamonds in – they would end up going to Dubai.

De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver also spoke. He was questioned about the company’s contract with Botswana. His reasoning for why it hasn’t been signed yet was nuanced: it’s not just about the diamond contract but also about mining leases. This is how De Beers negotiates the rent it pays for the land. It’s an important technical thing that takes time, and something they don’t want to get wrong.

David Kellie of the Natural Diamond Council was also present. He indicated that because Alrosa left the board, they will suffer a loss of almost half of their funding in 2023.

Sustainability and Gender Gap Issues
Iris Van der Veken also spoke at the conference. At the first Facets fair she attended 12 years ago (also in Antwerp), she had to ask the moderator to do a session on sustainability. It was a small panel attended by a handful of people. Now, sustainability is in the foreground. She drew attention to changing attitudes since then. She also pointed to another problem in the diamond industry: marketing is “everything for her”, i.e. the consumer, but the panels at the show were mostly made up of men. She highlighted the gender gap that remains a problem in the industry.

The Magic Tour of Watchmaking
Victoria went to Copenhagen for business and pleasure. The food was delicious and the weather was wonderful. She goes to Switzerland and receives a VIP welcome at Geneva airport, thanks to Cartier, the benefactor of the press trip, which has been in preparation for many years. Victoria was taken to Lausanne and stayed by Lake Geneva.

There weren’t many American publishers on this trip – some from Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong; a publisher from Hodinkee; and a large press team from Cartier’s Paris headquarters. The purpose of the trip was simply to show them the watchmaking facilities. (Cartier has five.) One was in a village in a subalpine range called Cuvée. It was surprising to see such a massive, modern facility in such a quaint little village with winding roads. They dedicate this one to experimental technology and have never shown it to journalists before. This is where Cartier imagines the technology that they ultimately implement in their production facilities. It seemed that Victoria was glimpsing the future of watch and jewelry production.

A glimpse of the future
When Rob and Victoria interviewed Scott Lacut, partner and president of strategy at PSFK, on ​​the podcast last year, they talked about the concept of digital twins. The idea is that one day in the future, every product you buy will have a digital twin that lives in the cloud and sends you alerts when repairs are needed and so on.

Although this has not yet become a reality, in terms of production, Cartier is already using this type of technology. Originally, everything they did was paper-based, with a huge paper trail for every change that needed to be made to a watch. Now that this system is digital, they can be very responsive in solving consumer issues and bringing these changes to market very quickly. Much of this progress is a direct result of the pandemic.

Victoria describes seeing a robot talking to someone on a screen at another facility. On the other hand, she also visited a facility in an old farmhouse where Cartier exercises its know-how in stone setting and marquetry techniques. Victoria was amazed by the harmonious marriage of high technology and fine craftsmanship. Seeing a robot deliver things through the ground to help make watches based on technology hundreds of years old brought her home.

Victoria also admired Cartier’s transparency and how much the company was willing to share. In the past, luxury was opaque: delivering a perfect product without revealing how it was made. And now it’s turned 180 degrees. Rob notes that it’s important to let people know how things are done. This helps answer the question “Why does it cost so much?” »

“The future is here”
Victoria matches what she saw on Cartier’s press trip to an art exhibition she saw in Copenhagen called “The Future Is Here”, which featured many thought-provoking questions and ideas about the future. These futuristic-sounding ideas aren’t far off, they’re happening now.

The end of the JA summer show
Rob and Victoria are nearing the end of an era: the JA Summer show in New York has been discontinued. Hosts remember the excitement of JA Summer shows from years past. They have many fond memories of this special feature of the summer, which took place during a whole week of jewelry events. Things change in the industry, so they’re very grateful for their annual Vegas get-together.

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