The coronavirus has caused another cancellation: Movado’s Swiss watch conference in Davos.
The watch group has pulled the plug on its event, which had been planned for March 14 to 18, owing to growing concern over the coronavirus in Europe.
“When the virus was largely contained within China, we felt we could keep the Davos summit but scale it back to become a conference for our European and Middle-Eastern customers,” Movado chairman and chief executive officer Efraim Grinberg said in a statement. “Now with cases growing in Europe, we feel that we must act to protect the health and safety of our customers and employees and therefore have canceled the summit.”
This year was set to be Movado’s third annual stand-alone conference — a format the group launched in 2018 as an alternative to Baselworld. Each year the company hosts a keynote speaker, which in the past has included Tony Blair and Amal Clooney. Despite the lavish set-up, Movado estimates that its stand-alone conference costs the firm about 20 percent of what it once spent on the Baselworld fair.
Baselworld, however, appears to still be on for now — despite news reports Wednesday that the virus has made landfall in its host country of Switzerland. The trade show has been fighting against years of plummeting attendance rates and a shrinking roster of exhibitors, and it is thought that canceling — even because of a global health epidemic — could irreparably damage its business.