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Following its relaunch as HourUniverse, organisers have confirmed Baselworld will revert to its former name and return with a pop-up event in Geneva later this year.
Following its relaunch as HourUniverse, organisers have confirmed Baselworld will revert to its former name and return with a pop-up event in Geneva later this year.

Baselworld resurrected, HourUniverse defunct; new dates confirmed

Organiser MCH Group has confirmed its Swiss watch, jewellery and gemstone show has reverted to the Baselworld name, following its rebranding and relaunch as HourUniverse last year.

Once one of the world’s premier luxury trade fairs, Baselworld had a well-publicised decline in recent years, with both exhibitors and visitor numbers falling precipitously amid management mishaps and rising costs.

With the 2020 event cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organisers made the decision to close and relaunch the show as HourUniverse, adding a year-round digital platform to the annual physical event.

Michel Loris-Melikoff, CEO Baselworld
Michel Loris-Melikoff, CEO Baselworld
"We took a lot of time to talk to our partners and exhibitors. One thing became very clear: the Baselworld brand must remain, but it must fundamentally change"
Michel Loris-Melikoff, Baselworld

However, the inaugural HourUniverse show was postponed in early 2021 as the virus continued to impact global travel, with exhibitors informed that a physical show would take place at an unspecified time in the Northern Hemisphere summer.

On 23 June 2021, Michel Loris-Melikoff, managing director HourUniverse, announced via LinkedIn, “Baselworld is back,” confirming new dates:

  • Baselworld Pop-Up in Geneva: 30 August–4 September 2021, coinciding with Geneva Watch Days
  • Baselworld physical show: 31 March–4 April 2022, coinciding with Watches & Wonders Geneva (30 March–5 April 2022)

In a statement published on the revamped Baselworld website – to which the now-defunct HourUniverse.com address redirects – Loris-Melikoff explained the return to the Baselworld name.

“After the Corona Pandemic had stalled Baselworld over the last two years, we took a lot of time to talk to our partners and exhibitors. One thing became very clear: the Baselworld brand must remain, but it must fundamentally change,” he said.

Speaking to Jeweller, Loris-Melikoff added, "COVID-19 changed everything and led us to rethink our plans. Our initial thinking was to rebrand the show and create something totally new.

"During the pandemic we intensified our communications with the brands and stakeholders to identify their wishes and needs, and were both delighted and surprised with the confirmation of the strong attachment to the Baselworld brand.

"With this knowledge, the new management reviewed the situation and decided instead to capitalise on the unique heritage of the show and create a new Baselworld," he explained.

The statement described the new iteration of Baselworld as “very different” from previous shows, prioritising its functionality as a “B2B platform in the mid-range luxury segment”.

“Whereas Baselworld used to be the most important annual meeting place for the luxury brands in the watch, jewellery and gemstone industry, the new Baselworld will be a platform on which smaller watches and jewellery manufacturers and gemstone traders can present their products and retailers will have efficient and easy access to the diversity of manufacturers,” the statement noted.

The Baselworld Pop-Up event in Geneva – coinciding with Geneva Watch Days – will include "a selection of independent brands gathered together under a creative Baselworld roof", Loris-Melikoff told Jeweller, adding that it would include not only watches, and but also gemstones and jewellery. 

He described Baselworld's relationship with Geneva Watch Days as "very good": "Geneva Watch Days have spontaneously, warmly welcomed the Baselworld 'Pop-up' space. The Geneva Watch Days are a great initiative with a good timing."

In addition to physical events, a Baselworld digital platform – a key component from the HourUniverse relaunch – will be introduced in the Northern Hemisphere autumn.

“Everyone will meet on our platform. The brands, the manufacturers, the retailers, the fans and the media,” Loris-Melikoff said, adding, “We will offer attractive conditions and prices for all brands that want to benefit from this unique platform.”

At the time of publication, no further details on Baselworld exhibitors were available.

Notably, a number of high-profile former Baselworld exhibitors – including Rolex, Tudor, Patek Philippe, Chopard, and LVMH Group’s Bulgari, TAG Heuer, and Zenith – exhibited at the digital Watches & Wonders Geneva event earlier this year.

Rolex, Tudor, and Chopard exhibited at the physical Watches & Wonders Shanghai 2021.


More reading:
The rise, fall and resurrection of Baselworld: A complete timeline
Swiss shows announce return dates
JCK Las Vegas postponed; Basel show in doubt
 











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