PARIS — Swatch Group has opted out of the Baselworld fair, pulling its numerous brands, including Longines, Tissot, Breguet and Omega, and casting further doubt about the future of the Swiss watch industry event.
“Today everything has become more transparent, fast-moving and instantaneous. Accordingly, a different rhythm and a different approach is needed,” Swatch Group said in an e-mailed statement.
The group added that annual watch fairs need to be reinvented, noting that they are “failing to do so.”
In its statement, the Swatch Group took a swipe at MCH Group, suggesting disagreement with show organizers.
“The MCH Group, which organizes Baselworld, is clearly more concerned with optimizing and amortizing its new building — which, incidentally, is largely financed by the watch industry during the fairs — than it is in having the courage to make real progress and to bring about true and profound changes,” it said.
MCH Group in May had announced the departure of longtime show director Sylvie Ritter, replacing her with Michel Loris-Melikoff, who took over in July.
At the time of the announcement, Loris-Melikoff said he would focus on the show as a marketing and communications platform, pledging new concepts for watches and precious stones.
Around half of exhibitors opted out of this year’s edition of the splashy fair, casting a cloud on the show’s future. In a high-profile example, Hermès switched to the rival Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, or SIHH, that takes place in Geneva in January.
LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, another show heavyweight with brands Hublot, Zenith, Bulgari and Tag Heuer, said Monday there was no change in its plans to attend the fair next week. In addition to attending Baselworld in March, the group has for the past two years parked a boat on Lake Geneva to tap into the flow of fairgoers at rival fair SIHH.