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Editorial - Give Baselworld a break!

Editorial Give Baselworld a break!

Exhibitions are changing in other industries, too. The problems are not unique to the watch industry.

On my customary visit to the Geneva Motor Show this year I was a little confused. Where was Ford? Where was Jaguar? And Land Rover? And Volvo? And Hyundai? Had I missed them? Had they moved to a different hall? No, they weren’t at the show this year, just as various other manufacturers had not attended the Detroit Motor Show, or the Paris Motor Show, or the Frankfurt Motor Show. Had the hosts of Top Gear and The Grand Tour been debating about the exodus since last year? Of course not. In fact, these programmes barely even mention exhibitions nowadays. Because they are targeted at people who love cars, they tend to focus on the products themselves and leave the industry gossip to others. 

The world’s largest trade show for the travel industry is the ITB in Berlin. Gulf carrier Emirates used to unveil its lavish first-class offerings there. Last year, the airline stopped attending the show altogether. Have people stopped flying Emirates as a result? Clearly not. 

Yet since last August there has been endless discussion on the implications of the Swatch Group’s exit from Baselworld, the challenges facing the new management and the very future of the show. The organisers have been blamed for everything from the price of hotel rooms to the cost of a sausage, not to mention the huge drop in exhibitor numbers. Poor Michel Loris-Melikoff was not even a month into his difficult new job as Managing Director of Baselworld before the Swatch Group decided to leave the show. Now, eight months later, people will be judging his performance on this year’s show, which in my view is wrong. His team has done a good job in difficult circumstances, notably filling in some rather large holes in Hall 1.0 and adding an “incubator” for microbrands that has been well received. But can we seriously expect them to turn around Baselworld’s fortunes in less than a year? These things take time and we should really be waiting until 2020 before we draw any serious conclusions.

There’s no denying that things at Baselworld will be a lot different this year, but the world’s best known Swiss watch brand will still be there, as will one of the industry’s most prestigious and sought-after brands right opposite it. And in the absence of the Swatch Group, another major group, LVMH, will certainly be stealing the headlines (just check out our homepage on Wednesday!). For once, the media will take centre stage with an open-plan press centre in the middle of hall 1.0, overlooking a champagne bar for those looking for something more sophisticated than the world’s most expensive bratwurst. 

It’s also worth pointing out that some of the brands who were keen to point out that they did not need Baselworld are launching new watches on the very day that the show opens. Is that pure coincidence? 

Baselworld clearly remains a focus for the industry, therefore, even for brands who are not in the confines of the exhibition halls, or indeed in Basel at all. In my opinion this bodes well for the show and its future. Baselworld is here to stay and we are here to cover it. So sit back and get ready for a steady stream of new products over the next week on WorldTempus. If you plan to visit the show, tag us on social media and say hello, and don’t forget to visit the Watch Photo Awards exhibition in Hall 1.0 next to the Carl F. Bucherer stand. 

See all the latest news from Baselworld

Lecture 3 Comment(s)

18 March 2019
John van Steen
well written! Chapeau!
18 March 2019
Jean-François Meyer
en tant que "oldtimer" de l'horlogerie, je me rejouis de visiter BASELWORLD, PLUSIEURS JOURS DE SUITE, AFIN DE RENCONTRER MES AMIS ET CONTACTS , PARMI LES EXPOSANTS, LA PRESSE, les visiteurs du monde entier et d'autres "oldtimer" comme moi.
18 March 2019
Gael Gregolin
Cher world tempus team, TellemenT juste et malheuresement tellement vrai. Hate de visiter et de suivre Baselworld cette annee et dans le futur. Bon salon a tous.
18 March 2019
Merci pour votre commentaire. Bon salon à vous également!