Swatch Group to Leave Baselworld

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.

MCH’s recent stock performance in CHF (one-year period), by
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  1. Minneapolis.watchmaker

    As a current Swiss-trained watchmaker, I can say I am happy for two reasons. First, Basel is an internal industry sales fair, not directed to the retail customer, and secondly, if they did spend $50mil each year to advertise to their dealers, it is coming directly from the pockets of the repair customers paying for the spare parts bought from Swatch.

  2. Anonimo Firenze

    This is a big hit for the organization and the fans of BaselWorld. But Hayek has a strong point: it’s been the same fair for more than 12 years. And if you don’t listen to your biggest customer, it’s going to hurt…

  3. Skip Cuevas

    Swatch has always been highly critical and demeaning of any entity that did not do business in manner which they “approve”. It was no different with his father who roundly criticized the US retailer, although US was, at the time, their biggest customer, the US President and anyone who had audacity of criticizing him.

  4. Jose Figueroa

    Nick Hayek always maintained attitud problems. There are plenty number of new brands. Yrs he is very wealthy, yes he owns great brands that he bought. His attitude

  5. David Dahlgren

    I find it sad when a century-old institution loses the support of the companies for which it was created as a showplace for their wares. Unfortunately, this seems to be a growing trend world wide especially in the arts at alł levels and disciplines.

    Personally, although I have never attended Baselworld, I find this turn of events both shocking and disheartening. I sincerely hope that whatever instigated this move can be resolved.

  6. Tom Allison

    Well 2019 will be more than interesting… Maybe Swatch is having money problems also…..

  7. F Kislik

    As a long time collector, shows like Baselworld lost their appeal almost ten years ago. A more interactive and business like venue is needed for brands to reach their current demographics as well as to explore new markets. Completely understand and support Swatch Group’s decision.

  8. George vlassis

    about time swatch group pulls out of the BASEL watch expo special half of the exhibitors pull out 2018

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