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LVMH Watch Week took place in Dubai last week, attended by (L-R) Ricardo Guadalupe, CEO Hublot, Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO Bulgari, Stéphane Bianchi, CEO TAG Heuer and LVMH watchmaking division, and Julien Tornare, CEO Zenith.
LVMH Watch Week took place in Dubai last week, attended by (L-R) Ricardo Guadalupe, CEO Hublot, Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO Bulgari, Stéphane Bianchi, CEO TAG Heuer and LVMH watchmaking division, and Julien Tornare, CEO Zenith.

LVMH reviews Baselworld participation; 15 new brands sign-on

French luxury conglomerate Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE (LVMH) will reconsider its future Baselworld participation following the success of its inaugural Watch Week in Dubai.

LVMH owns watch manufacturers Tag Heuer, Hublot, and Zenith, and jewellery and watch brand Bulgari. The inaugural LVMH Watch Week was held at the Bulgari Resort Dubai from 13–15 January, and featured new product presentations from its four brands, with more than 200 media representatives and retailers in attendance.

Speaking at the event, Bulgari CEO Jean-Christophe Babin described Watch Week as “much cheaper” than exhibiting at events like Baselworld, calling trade fairs “outrageously expensive”.

When asked if LVMH would continue to exhibit at the Swiss show, Babin stated, “We will decide after Baselworld, in May.”

Stéphane Bianchi
Stéphane Bianchi
"LVMH Watch Week, organised during a key period in the year for our partners and the industry, underscores LVMH’s commitment to the strategic watch category"
Stéphane Bianchi, LVMH

This year’s Baselworld will be held from 30 April–5 May, directly after Watches & Wonders Geneva, previously known as the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH).

Notably, 50 per cent of Hublot’s new watches and more than a third of Zenith’s will be distributed to retailers before the fair begins.

However, Stéphane Bianchi, CEO of TAG Heuer and LVMH’s watchmaking division, reiterated the company’s support for the sector’s most well-known trade event.

“LVMH Watch Week, organised during a key period in the year for our partners and the industry, underscores LVMH’s commitment to the strategic watch category and complements our presence at Baselworld,” he said.

The timing of the 2020 edition of Baselworld – more than a month later than the traditional March dates – has lead several major exhibitors to withdraw, including Breitling, Casio and Seiko.

This week, it was reported that Kering-owned Gucci had also pulled out of the event.

Swatch Group – which owns Omega, Tissot, Longines, Blancpain, and Breguet, among others – withdrew from the trade show in 2018.

Watches & Wonders Geneva has lost major exhibitors Richard Mille, Audemars Piguet and Hermès this year.

Baselworld signs up 15 new watch brands

Meanwhile, MCH Group, the Baselworld organiser, has announced that 15 independent watch brands will exhibit at the show in 2020, grouped into a new Hall 1 space called The Watch Lounge.

Described as ‘relaxed and interactive’, the Lounge is designed to cater to small, independent manufacturers.

Michel Loris-Melikoff, managing director Baselworld, said, “I am delighted to welcome all of these dynamic entrepreneurs to Baselworld… Listening, dialogue, entrepreneurship, and creativity are essential as we continue to implement our 2020+ strategy and work to make Baselworld not only the best business platform but also the most varied and complete show of its kind.”

Michel Loris-Melikoff, CEO Baselworld
Michel Loris-Melikoff, CEO Baselworld
"Baselworld is building a whole digital community that should be able to benefit from a range of professional services throughout the year"
Michel Loris-Melikoff, Baselworld

James Henderson, a watch industry commentator, and marketing consultant Roderich Hess will be the Lounge’s co-ordinators.

“Baselworld is, and continues to be, the most important watchmaking event in the world,” Henderson said. “We were very impressed by the organisation’s desire to create something special, and we look forward to bringing this new format to Baselworld.”

As part of its modernisation strategy, Baselworld has also endorsed a new international B2B database of watch distributors.

The Watch Distributors Directory lists more than 1,600 distributors of 1,000 watch brands. It is designed to help smaller watch brands expand their distribution network, and distributors to identify brands with potential in their market.

“Baselworld is building a whole digital community that should be able to benefit from a range of professional services throughout the year,” Loris-Melikoff said. “By supporting the launch of the Watch Distributors Directory, I support the brands’ efforts to find the best partners in the markets, not only through meetings during the [Baselworld] show, but also by facilitating access to reliable information throughout the year.”

Watch brands pay a fee to be listed in the directory. As part of the Baselworld deal, exhibitors at the trade show will receive a discounted subscription rate and a longer subscription period.

 

More reading:
Baselworld loses another Japanese watch brand
Another Baselworld casualty: Seiko pulls out
Back to basics: Baselworld confronts home truths











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Thursday, 09 April, 2020 04:32am
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