PARIS — Geneva Watch Days, a new event organized by a handful of high-end watch labels, is being rescheduled for Aug. 26 to 29.
Initially planned for April, organizers hope the postponement, due to coronavirus, will allow them to bulk up the event, and attract Chinese and South Korean participants in addition to large players in Europe, said Jean-Christophe Babin, chief executive officer of Bulgari, one of the brands that founded the event, in a statement.
Planned in the wake of canceled Watches & Wonders Geneva and Baselworld fairs this spring, brands including Bulgari, Breitling, Ulysse Nardin and Girard-Perregaux describe the event as decentralized and self-managed, to take place at several high-end hotels in Geneva.
The idea is to band together so retailers and media can meet with the brands over a few days instead of going to various road shows in various cities around Europe, organizers have said, describing it as a “see-now-buy-now-resell-now” event showcasing the diversity of products from Swiss watchmakers. They hope the new timing will help build new momentum ahead of the last months of the year when consumer demand peaks, and add 15 to 20 new labels to the event.
While Geneva Watch Days organizers have said they don’t see their event as a substitute for the two long-term historical fairs, it emerges as an alternative to the splashy events that were already struggling to maintain relevance before the scourge of COVID-19. But in Tuesday, event organizers said they are discussing the possibility of making Geneva Watch days a “full-fledged watchmaking fair fully supported by Geneva state authorities.”
Baselworld in Basel was originally scheduled to take place April 30 to May 5, following the Geneva event Watches & Wonders, formerly known as SIHH. Already suffering from defections last year, the rival shows had taken the rare move of coordinating their schedules in order to tap into traffic flows of visitors traveling to the Alpine country.
Watches & Wonders, which features labels belonging to Compagnie Financière Richemont, including Cartier and Vacheron Constantin and had been scheduled for April 25 to 29, was also canceled.
Swatch Group canceled its separate watch event for press and clients in early February, while Movado Group canceled its Davos event.