Impact of Coronavirus COVID-19. It would not have been to wait long after the announcement yesterday of the cancellation of the Watches & Wonders Geneva trade fair and the decision this morning by ordinance of the Swiss Confederation to ban all gatherings of more than 1,000 people until until March 15, so that the organizers of Baselworld, the other great watchmaking mass, decide to react: the Basel fair is postponed to 2021 and will be held, hopefully, from Thursday January 28 to Tuesday 2 February next year.
Collateral damage of the coronavirus on watch fairs
With the postponement of Baselworld, it is therefore the fourth watchmaking event which is impacted by the repercussions of the coronavirus COVID-19 (measure of security of health services, of the state, or precautionary principle). The first effect was the cancellation of Time to Move (scheduled for early March in Zurich) by Swatch, before that of Movado’s own salon and the decision yesterday of the Federation of Haute Horlogerie to give up maintaining Watches & Wonders Geneva which was to take place just before Basel, from April 25 to 29.
Read below the 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 directrepercussions 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.”