PARIS — Corum is pulling out of Baselworld after over half a century, becoming the latest in an exodus of watchmakers shunning traditional trade shows against a backdrop of rising online commerce.
“We are working hard, with positive results, to get Corum back on the path of its golden age, when Corum took the first position at the entrance of Baselworld,” said chief executive officer Jérôme Biard.
“Today, our main objective is to focus on the real ‘ambassadors’ of the brand — retailers, final customers and journalists. We therefore need to change our approach and invest the budget in other ways,” he added in an e-mailed statement.
The La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland-based label said it had attended the event for 62 years but will focus on more “intimate and well-targeted events across three continents” over the next two years.
Swatch Group, the show’s largest exhibitor, dealt a major blow to the event over the summer, by pulling out, a move that prompted the resignation of the show organizer’s ceo, René Kamm.
LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton labels Tag Heuer, Zenith, Bulgari and Hublot still plan to attend Baselworld next year.
The industry has been reconsidering the traditional trade show format of gathering watchmakers under the same roof with splashy displays meant to draw crowds of buyers and potential clients. The speed and convenience of the Internet has dramatically changed how watchmakers interact with consumers.
The Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, a rival watch fair known as SIHH and held in Geneva, that is dominated by watch brands belonging to Compagnie Financière Richemont including Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels, has not been immune to the sector changes, with Audemars Piguet and Richard Mille announcing last month their intentions to leave the event.