Swatch Group leaves Baselworld

Swatch Group has decided to leave Baselworld as of 2019. This is sensational news, given that, after witnessing the defection of several exhibitors, at the end of the last edition of Baselworld in the closing press conference it was confirmed that all the exhibitors present in 2018 will also be present in 2019. The news was reported by NZZ am Sonntag, the weekend edition of the Swiss daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung, to which Nick Hayek said: 'We are not here to write off expensive Herzog & de Meuron buildings'. Referring to the Swiss architectural firm that designed the exhibition complex, which was expanded in 2013.
The official communiqué reads: 'Today everything has become more transparent, faster and instantaneous. Consequently, a different pace and approach are required. With its 18 watch brands, the Swatch Group has long operated successfully with these criteria in production, distribution and marketing. In this new context, annual watch fairs, as they are today, no longer make much sense. This does not mean that they should disappear. But they need to reinvent themselves, responding appropriately to the current situation and showing more dynamism and creativity. At the moment, trade fairs do not do that. For all these reasons, Swatch Group has decided that from 2019 onwards, it will no longer be present at Baselworld."
The loss of the Swatch Group represents a severe blow to the Show, considering the budget of around CHF 50 million spent by the Group each year. In 2018, the number of brands present at Baselworld had dropped to 650, with major defections from groups such as Festina and Movado and brands such as Hermès and Eberhard & Co. The defections were followed by an "austerity" that translated into inconvenience for many of the operators present at the fair.
For the time being, the other major exhibitors, including Patek Philippe, Rolex, Chopard and the Lvmh group, seem to be holding firm. We await the next developments.