Baselworld 2018

PARIS — Bulgari, Hublot, Tag Heuer and Zenith will attend Baselworld next year, the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned labels said Thursday, throwing their collective weight behind the beleaguered trade show at a crucial moment.

The brands will work with show organizers for “new presentation concepts and formats” starting in 2021, according to a joint statement.

The news follows a recent announcement from Breitling that it would opt out of next year’s edition, which had thrown further uncertainty on an event struggling to prove its relevance and stem defections in recent months.

“This is a creative and completely open process with no constraints or thought restrictions, that we are tackling together,” said Michel Loris-Melikoff, director of the fair. The former organizer of Switzerland’s largest techno parade has faced an uphill battle since he was recruited to fill the position last year.

His first moves were to negotiate caps on price hikes that traditionally swept the city’s hotels during the show and he moved the date to a later time of the year for the next edition, coordinating with rival fair SIHH.

“A common decision was reached today,” said Stéphane Bianchi, chief executive officer of LVMH’s watchmaking division and ceo of Tag Heuer. LVMH supports Loris-Melikoff and his team in the project to “redefine and renew the concept of this major event for the Swiss watch industry,” he added.

But in a sign that not all uncertainty is being wiped away with the recent agreement, Bianchi added that the company would revisit future participation after the following show.

“Our discussions and the changes that will be implemented will allow us to reassess our future involvement after the next edition,” he said.

The show has been under siege as the industry revisits relations with clients, with many labels tightening their grip on retail networks and forging closer ties with consumers, thus lessening the need to band together to do business with crowds of watch retailers.

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