Whether we should call it a domino effect or a house of cards, what just collapsed on Baselworld’s head is the chronicle of an impending doom.
After yesterday’s departure READ HERE of Rolex with Patek Philippe, Chanel, Chopard and Tudor, who have decided by mutual agreement to withdraw permanently from the Basel exhibition in order to create a new watchmaking event in Geneva in April 2021 – on the very same dates and at the same venue as Watches & Wonders – the watchmaking houses of the luxury group LVMH – TAG Heuer, Hublot, Zenith and Bvlgari – are following in their footsteps and are in turn leaving Baselworld to join them in Geneva.
As we predicted in our article published yesterday, it took only 24 hours for other watch brands – and not the lesser ones, mind you – to withdraw from the Basel Fair and head for Geneva, pushing the show a little further towards its end – at least as far as its watchmaking section is concerned.
The Swiss Watch manufactures of the LVMH group (TAG Heuer, Hublot and Zenith), along with the House of Bvlgari did not have many nice things to say in their respective press releases. The departure of Rolex, Patek Philippe, Chanel, Chopard and Tudor will de facto create an irreplaceable void in the aisles of Hall 1 of Baselworld, as well as a cataclysmic loss of prestige and visibility for the show.
And in ‘this context of obvious impoverishment of the representation of the Swiss watch industry and therefore of participation, it seems clear to the brands of the Division and to the House of Bvlgari that they must also withdraw in order to preserve their image and their relations with their clients and the media,’ states the press release, which you can read in full below.
The Swiss watch Manufactures belonging to the LVMH Group, the world leader in luxury, have in turn decided to leave Baselworld in order to join the other flagship brands of the Swiss watch industry in Geneva from 2021 onwards.
April 17th 2020 – The Swiss watch Manufactures of the LVMH Group, including the LVMH Watchmaking Division (TAG Heuer, Hublot and Zenith) and the House of Bvlgari, have taken note of the departure of Rolex, Tudor, Patek Philippe, Chanel and Chopard from the Baselworld show scheduled for January 2021. Within this context of clearly weakened representation of the Swiss watch industry and hence inevitably lower participation, it appears clear to the brands composing the Division and to the House of Bvlgari that they must also withdraw in order to preserve their image and their relations with their clients as well with the media. They will therefore not be taking part in the 2021 edition of Baselworld.
The four Maisons are examining various potential event formats corresponding to the need to present their strategic directions and new products to their commercial partners – as well as to the international press – next year. The LVMH Watchmaking Division on the one hand, and Bvlgari on the other, will decide on their plans in the coming weeks, according to their respective objectives.
‘We are sorry to have to leave this over hundred-year Baselworld event to which our Maisons have been consistently loyal. It is nonetheless clear that we must respond quickly and make other arrangements. We are facing an opportunity to reinvent the format and content of one of the key moments of our watchmaking year, which represented both a major commercial challenge and a lever of influence for our brands. With this in mind, we will do our utmost to be present alongside the other prestigious Maisons that will gather in Geneva in April 2021, and thereby meet the requirements of our partners and clients while offering them an unrivalled experience.’ Stéphane Bianchi, CEO Watchmaking Division LVMH
‘Grouping the entire Swiss watch industry in a single location, Geneva – the historical capital of watchmaking – and around a single date, is a major opportunity to at last revive a sector that all too many divisions and divergent interests have weakened compared to the rest of the luxury sector in which Bvlgari is active and that is making much faster progress. We are looking forward to going to Geneva in April 2021, even though we still need to define the terms of our participation, which we will specify in the coming weeks. We are also delighted not to have to make up for the lack of institutional watch shows, which in 2020 forced us to take tactical initiatives that were necessary in the short term but undesirable in the medium term.’ Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO Bvlgari Group.