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Despite the impact of the coronavirus on its exhibitors – and the cancellation of Watches & Wonders Geneva – Baselworld will go ahead this April.
Despite the impact of the coronavirus on its exhibitors – and the cancellation of Watches & Wonders Geneva – Baselworld will go ahead this April.

Baselworld announces new program as Citizen, Bulgari withdraw

As part of its repositioning strategy, the 2020 edition of Baselworld will host a series of discussions with high-profile industry figures, open to both watch and jewellery professionals and members of the public.

The discussions will take place in a new 250-seat Hall 1 space called The Forum and will cover topics such as the pre-owned luxury market, digital transformation and tomorrow’s retail, blockchain technology, and responsible supply chains.

Michel Loris-Melikoff, Baselworld
Michel Loris-Melikoff, Baselworld
"Baselworld is building the industry's largest global community platform"
Michel Loris-Melikoff, Baselworld

Speakers will include Frédéric Arnault of luxury conglomerate LVMH, Audemars Piguet CEO François-Henry Bennahmias, the Responsible Jewellery Council’s Iris Van der Veken, former Alrosa president Andrei Zharkov, and Patrick Hoffman of online retailer Watchbox.

CIBJO, Google, and Présence Suisse – part of the Swiss government Department of Foreign Affairs – will also be represented at the discussions.

Michel Loris-Melikoff, managing director Baselworld, said, “Baselworld is building the industry's largest global community platform – meeting [and] doing business, but also exchanging, reflecting and informing each other.

“The exhibition is a particularly favourable place for a Forum, open to all, whose conferences are accessible not only to the general public on site, but also to the greatest number via the livestreams on digital platforms.”

The Forum news was announced as Baselworld’s companion show, Watches & Wonders Geneva, was cancelled amid the worldwide spread of the coronavirus.

Two high-profile exhibitors have also withdrawn from Baselworld, citing the same concerns.

Citizen Watch Group – which has been part of the trade show for more than 30 years – will not be exhibiting its Citizen and Bulova brands in 2020 due to concerns about the coronavirus.

However, the Japanese manufacturer reiterated its support for Baselworld and will return to the show in 2021.

“The Citizen Watch Group strongly supports Baselworld in its project and transformation,” Norio Takeuchi, managing director of Citizen Watch Group, said. “We believe in the importance of a major event bringing together the entire watch industry.”

Stéphane Bianchi, LVMH
Stéphane Bianchi, LVMH
“We believe in the importance of a major event for the Swiss watch industry and look forward to a successful fair, both in terms of image and sales, for our three Maisons”
Stéphane Bianchi, LVMH

In order to avoid unnecessary international travel for retailers and distributors, Citizen Watch Group will instead hold local events for Citizen and Bulova in different markets. At the time of publication, no details had been provided for the Group’s other brands, Frédérique Constant and Alpina.

The decision leaves Baselworld without any major Japanese watchmakers represented; Seiko and Casio confirmed they would not be exhibiting at the 2020 show at the end of last year.

Meanwhile, Bulgari – part of luxury conglomerate LVMH – has also decided against exhibiting its watch and jewellery collections at Baselworld, citing both coronavirus concerns and the success of the first LVMH Watch Week, held in January.

However, the three other LVMH watch brands – TAG Heuer, Hublot, and Zenith – will be present at the show. “We believe in the importance of a major event for the Swiss watch industry and look forward to a successful fair, both in terms of image and sales, for our three Maisons,” Stéphane Bianchi, CEO TAG Heuer and LVMH watchmaking division, said.

Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana has also confirmed it will exhibit its high jewellery and watch collections – Alta Gioielleria and Alta Orologeria – at Baselworld for the first time this year.

 

More reading:
Watches & Wonders Geneva cancelled due to coronavirus
LVMH reviews Baselworld participation; 15 new brands sign on
Baselworld loses another Japanese watch brand

 











Peter W Beck
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