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Baselworld organisers have made the unprecedented decision to postpone the show, amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak.
Baselworld organisers have made the unprecedented decision to postpone the show, amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Baselworld 2020 cancelled

Following the Swiss government's decision yesterday to ban large-scale events due to the spread of coronavirus, Baselworld organisers announced overnight that it has cancelled this year's event. New dates for next year's show have been released. 

Organisers insisted the trade show was to proceed as planned, from 30 April–5 May, as recently as Thursday, when coronavirus concerns forced the cancellation of Watches & Wonders Geneva.

That event – formerly known as SIHH – had been scheduled to take place immediately before Baselworld as part of the ‘Swiss Shows Week’.

Michel Loris-Melikoff, Baselworld
Michel Loris-Melikoff, Baselworld
"We deeply regret having had to postpone the event as planned due to the coronavirus"
Michel Loris-Melikoff, Baselworld

However, the Swiss Federal Council has now issued a total ban on gatherings of more than 1,000 people throughout the country. The ban will be reviewed on 15 March.

As a result, Baselworld and its parent company, MCH Group, made the unprecedented decision to cancel the 2020 event. 

In a statement, Baselworld management explained that the ban would have "direct repercussions for the show", adding, "Baselworld had no other option than to make a decision as all preparations - in particular, construction in the halls and of the stands - was scheduled to commence next week."

Michel Loris-Melikoff, managing director Baselworld, said, “We deeply regret having had to postpone the event as planned due to the coronavirus, in full consideration of the needs of the watch and jewellery industry to be able to benefit from the platform to develop their business.”

» Read the official statement from Baselworld
» Read the Swiss Federal Council's statement on the ban

With the cancellation of the 2020 event, next year's date has been released to take place from 28 January–2 February 2021, earlier than its traditional March dates and in line with the product launch schedules of many major watch brands.

“By postponing the show to January 2021, we have found a solution that enables the industry and all our customers to avoid losing a full year – and at the same time, reset their calendars for the beginning of the year, a period that is conducive to the presentation of their new products, new trends and order taking,” Loris-Melikoff explained.

“This postponing will also allow Baselworld to continue developing and bringing new formats and solutions as well as improvements to the new concept we propose.”

Bernd Stadlwieser, CEO MCH Group, added, “Baselworld is not only the largest watch and jewellery event in the world, but is also destined to become the industry's largest global community platform, active all year round.”

Coronavirus concerns have recently forced the cancellation or postponement of a number of watch and jewellery industry events, including the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show, Swatch Group’s ‘Time To Move’ event, and the International Colored Gemstone Association’s ICA Congress.


Editor's NoteWhile Baselworld organisers contend that they have “postponed” the 2020 event, that is incorrect - it has been cancelled, unlike the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show which was set to take place from 2–8 March, but is now  postponed (moved) to new dates 18–21 May.

Baselworld conducts a trade show every year, and if the 2020 event is not taking place, it should be noted as being 'cancelled' and not 'postponed'. It could be classified as 'postponed' if Baselworld management provided alternative dates for later this year - or held two events next year to make up for this year's cancelled event, which is unlikely.

In other news, while the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show has been postponed, it will be interesting to watch the continuing effects of the coronavirus to ascertain if that show is eventually cancelled too. 


More reading:
Watches & Wonders Geneva cancelled due to coronavirus

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