Show Time: 10 Tips and Tricks for Tackling Basel

Show Time: 10 Tips and Tricks for Tackling Basel

With Baselworld upon us, we give you ten quick and easy steps to help you save time, money, and your sanity as you head to the biggest watch trade fair in the world.

By Barbara Palumbo

Whether you’re a journalist, a retailer, a collector, an influencer, or some curious bloke who walked in off the street because it was cold and you had nothing better to do on a Friday afternoon, you know – or at least will quickly realize – that Basel (and its ‘World’) is like no place you’ve ever been, and like nothing you’ve ever seen. And that can be quite overwhelming. Remember that laser light show at the local planetarium your college friends talked you into going to that played Depeche Mode music really loudly, while you munched on cheese popcorn after a night of unbridled debauchery? Yeah. That’s pretty much my experience at the Hublot booth last year (in a good way) after rolling in at 4 A.M. the same morning. This is what I’m talking about, people. This is where you might need a little assistance, so I’m here for you today with ten ways to make it out of Basel alive, relatively unscathed, and with something – anything – left in your bank accounts.

Leave the American Express Card at Home

These days, most things that contain the prefix “American” aren’t exactly a welcome commodity in many parts of Europe, and the American Express card is no exception. Visa? “Oui, nous acceptons Visa!” Mastercard? “Wir lieben Mastercard!” However, try whipping out your American Express (no matter what color it is) at the local Schnitzel-and-Spaetzle-O’Rama, and wait patiently for the looks of, “Was ist das?” Save it for dinners in the States, folks. Trust me, you *can* leave home without it.

Schedule Your Oris Appointment Between Noon and 1:30

Three words: SUSHI FOR LUNCH. Tired of feeling like your arteries are about to burst due to the overabundance of sausage and sauerkraut? Then may I suggest a visit to our friends at Oris, who not only have incredibly affordable and well-made Swiss watches to show you, but will also hook you up with a fine sushi lunch while you browse. And if you happen to have little kids at home, this year’s visit will be all the more special. Stay tuned...

Don’t Arrive at Les Trois Rois Before Midnight on Thursday or After Midnight on Saturday

It’s confusing, I know, but so is Vero, and yet respectable members of the press are still using that social media platform (I’m looking at you, Haagen). I learned the hard way that getting to the bar at The Three Kings before midnight will mean that you have to dish out way too much money way too early and no one will be around to witness your acting like the big spender you really aren’t. BUT, Saturday night is a different story entirely, so get in early and often or else risk standing in line with the rest of the newcomers.

Always Accept Espresso When Offered by the Brands

And make it a double when possible. You won’t regret it.

Bring Every Portable Charger You Own

I mean it. Steal them from your kids ahead of time if you have to, but pack as many as you can because you’re going to need them. Remember that you, you lucky soul, will be bringing Basel to the rest of the world LIVE TIME, which means your batteries are going to get about as much use as Stormy Daniels in a double feature. So, have a backup with you, because the last thing you’re going to want to miss out on is a chance to record a world-renowned watch world CEO go bananas on a twenty-year-old social media influencer for asking him about the impact of Apple Watch. GO WITH ME ON THIS.

Take Disco Naps

Here’s hoping you’re staying close enough to the fair to be able to go back to your overpriced Airbnb and catch an hour’s worth of rest before the nighttime events begin, because once they do, it’ll be no stopping you until you realize you’ve slurred the word “tachymeter” so badly in that your watch friends think you’re talking about a “taxi meter” and call you a cab. I may or may not know this from experience, but in case I never said it, thanks, Gary.

Live in the Moment

Take a moment alone as you’re standing in front of one of the displays of fresh white lilies in Hall 1 to breathe in deeply and realize where you are. Keep in mind that people don’t need watches, and while you may love them or find that they’re one of your passions, not everyone feels the way you do. Times change. Brands changes. Shows like Baselworld change. And tomorrow will be different from today, so take it in, appreciate it for what it is – both good and bad – and be grateful that it exists right now during our time on this planet. We may think we sometimes hate it, but we really don’t. Really, we don’t.


That stands for “bring your own brown liquor.” No matter if you’re one of the lucky few who gets to stay in an actual hotel (with maid staff, towels, tiny soaps, and everything!) or one of the still lucky fewer who managed to get an Airbnb in the city for under $300 per night, you know that a dram of scotch (or at least, what the Baselites [or is it Baselonians?] call a “dram”) is barely enough to wet your teeth; yet will still run you a good $35 or more. So, I suggest you do as I do: buy yourself a nice bottle for your room and then pack a couple of airplane-sized mini-bottles in your pockets or purse for when you’re out. That way, if you decide you want to pay for that one ridiculously expensive glass while you’re chatting it up at a bar somewhere, you can casually stroll into the nearest coat closet and pour yourself another so that even if you are trying to be as frugal as possible BECAUSE YOU SPENT ALL YOUR MONEY ON THAT DAY’S LUNCH, you won’t look like it.

Realize that Champagne – While a Liquid – Isn’t a Proper Substitute for Water

In a relatively short time, your head is going to catch on to the fact that you think you can hydrate yourself with a bubbly alcoholic beverage in lieu of water and it will shut you down faster than Delta did when I asked for an upgrade on my leg to Zurich. HYDRATE, PEOPLE. You’ve got a lot of walking, a lot of standing, and a lot of listening to do while you’re there, so don’t sabotage yourself just because you know it’s the good stuff they’re pouring.

Attend Everything Possible Involving Jean-Claude Biver

For members of the press, this is, of course, a given, and it’s because we really never know what exactly it is we’re going to witness or what Mr. Biver is going to do or say. He’s like a big, cheese-loving Cracker Jack box: full of surprises every single time. And for that, as well as for his honesty and his Instagram selfies, we really, truly love him.

Hope to see you somewhere on the show floor if you’re attending the 2018 edition of Baselworld. If you spot me, say hello. I don’t bite unless provoked. If not, follow along on the @watchonista social pages for complete coverage from the Fair.

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