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Breaking News: Baselworld Announces It Will Not Run – So What Happens Now?

After the recent cancellation of Watches & Wonders, Baselworld announces the postponement of the 2020 edition and shifts its focus to 2021.

By Watchonista

So what happens now? Will the brands present pieces locally in the markets, release their novelties digitally, or wait until the COVID-19 coronavirus runs its course? The options are limited.

Local Shows

Now that the shows are canceled (Watches & Wonders) or postponed (Baselworld), brands should have some extra money to put on local shows in their various markets. But it may not be that simple. The vast majority of brands only make a handful of samples of their new products to show during the fairs, so how will they share these with all the markets at the same time? It will be a logistical nightmare to make sure the world’s retailers get to see the new watch releases in person, especially if there are only half a dozen sets available for viewing. So will retailers buy blindly, especially when their businesses are already suffering from the fallout from the COVID-19 virus? Probably not.

Digital Press Releases

Getting the news to future buyers is going to be challenging too. There are always digital press releases and videos, but it is impossible to truly appreciate a timepiece without trying it on. It is only when slipping a timepiece on the wrist that you can really appreciate its design, ergonomics, weight and overall appearance. A photograph will never do a timepiece justice and never excites a journalist like seeing the real thing.

Is Anyone Even Thinking About Buying Watches Right Now?

The other looming question is “Is anyone even thinking of buying a watch right now?” With the COVID-19 virus spreading rapidly throughout Europe, and fears for other countries around the world, the last thing on most people’s minds is which watch to buy next. So maybe the brands need to postpone their launches and wait for the virus to pass in the hope that things will return to normal soon.

Right now, there are more questions than answers, but one thing we do know is that it is going to be a tough year for all of us in the watch world. Luckily for us at Watchonista, we have a Swiss office, so if the watches don’t come to us, we can go to the watches, and we are in the process of making plans to visit all the different manufacturers right now, so stay tuned for the best news in a bad situation.

The Official Baselworld Press Release

For health safety reasons and in accordance with the precautionary principle following the bans of large-scale public and private events issued today by the Swiss federal and cantonal authorities, Baselworld announces that it has taken the decision to postpone the show to Thursday 28th January 2021 to Tuesday 2nd February 2021 (Press Day on Wednesday 27th January), due to concerns related to Covid-19.

Baselworld, which was to be held from April 30th to May 5th , 2020, has taken this difficult decision in close consultation with its partners and the health authorities in charge, in whom Baselworld has full confidence for their expertise and recommendations for the benefit of exhibitors, visitors and collaborators. Following today’s official ban on large public gatherings which meant direct repercussions for the show, Baselworld had no other option than to make a decision as all preparations, in particular, construction in the halls and of the stands was scheduled to commence next week (start March).

Michel Loris-Melikoff, Managing Director of Baselworld said: “We deeply regret having had to postpone the event as planned due to the coronavirus, in full consideration of the needs of the watch and jewellery industry to be able to benefit from the platform to develop their business. This decision has been all the more difficult in view of all the positives that have been achieved through listening and dialogue over the last few months, which resulted in new concepts and new solutions, that have attracted exhibitors to return and new ones to sign on. We registered encouraging growth in all sectors; watchmaking, jewellery, the gemstone and pearl trade, as well as in the technical branch.

By postponing the show to January 2021, we have found a solution that enables the industry and all our customers to avoid losing a full year and at the same time reset their calendars for the beginning of the year, a period that is conductive to the presentation of their new products, new trends and order taking. This postponing will also allow Baselworld to continue developing and bringing new formats and solutions as well as improvements to the new concept we propose.”

Bernd Stadlwieser, Group CEO of MCH said: "Within the process of the last weeks, I was very impressed by the involvement and trust of all our customers, partners, stakeholders and team, to pro-actively find the very best solution in the interests of the industries. By communicating intensively all together, we were able to work on different scenarios and to jointly decide on the very best one. I would like to thank everybody for their belief in and commitment to our platform.”

Baselworld is not only the largest watch and jewellery event in the world, but is also destined to become the industry's largest global community platform, active all year round. In the coming weeks, we will be presenting a new digital service that is essential and useful to our entire community, and which we trust will meet the needs of the brands that have become even more important in these difficult and turbulent times.”

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