Baselworld organizers are canceling next year’s show amidst continued COVID-19 uncertainty and management reshuffling.
The watch show was meant to return in 2022 with a new concept, but the relaunch is now being postponed for a yet-to-be-confirmed date.
“It’s particularly difficult to launch a new concept for a new target segment due to the renewed aggravation of the COVID-19 situation and the associated uncertainty among customers,” said Baselworld organizers in a statement, adding that they need more time to continue discussions with manufacturers and retailers, as well as refine their concept, following a pop-up experiment at Geneva Watch Days.
Following the cancellation of next year’s event, managing director Michel Loris-Melikoff has announced that he will be stepping down from his position.
Beat Zwahlen, chief executive officer of MCH Group, which organizes Baselworld, said the company will take the extra time to further analyze the needs of the market and define the event’s new niche. This will be more focused on independent retailers and specialized manufacturers — especially after the likes of Movado, Swatch Group, Rolex, Patek Philippe, Chanel, Chopard and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton labels pulled out of the event amid tensions that arose over this year’s cancellation.
“Over the past few months, we have studied in detail our watches, jewelry and gems ecosystem and gained important insights from discussions with major industry representatives,” says Zwahlen. “The conclusion is that the market exists for platforms that bring together medium-sized and specialized manufacturers with independent retailers. But their needs must be analyzed in more detail. This means we need to have significantly more time to get there.”