Baselworld is losing its most important exhibitor, according to today’s issue of Swiss newspaper, Neue Zürcher Zeitung am Sonntag (NZZ). This not only means that the 2019 show will have to do without brands like Breguet, Blancpain, Harry Winston, Jaquet Droz, Omega, Glashütte Original, Longines, Rado, Tissot, Mido, Certina, Hamilton, Balmain or Calvin Klein, it also means the loss of the group’s annual 50 million Swiss franc exhibition budget. Swatch Group’s decision could even jeopardize the future of the fair’s operating company, MCH Group (which is owned by the cantons of Basel-City, Basel-Country, and Zurich).
In the interview, Swatch Group’s CEO Nick Hayek criticized the show’s management over its unwillingness to accept feedback or direction from the exhibiting brands after having been presented with a finalized concept on July 8: “Unfortunately, we were, once again, presented with a fait accompli”. Hayek also told the newspaper that “today, everything has become more transparent, faster-paced and more spontaneous”, and that therefore, “traditional watch shows are no longer useful for Swatch”.
The 101st edition of the Basel-based fair took place in March 2018 with a stable attendance, but with 650 exhibitors – half the number that participated in 2017.