Another Blow to Baselworld

The Swatch Group has announced that it will not return to Baselworld next year. Brands owned by the giant Swiss watch group that will not be attending include Breguet, Blancpain, Harry Winston, Omega, Longines, Tissot, Rado, Jaquet Droz, Glashutte Original, Hamilton and Mido.

Nick Hayek, CEO of the Swatch Group, issued a statement that read, "Today everything has become more transparent, fast-moving, and instantaneous. Accordingly, a different rhythm and a different approach is needed. ... In this new context, annual watch fairs, as they exist today, no longer make much sense. This does not mean that they should disappear. But it is necessary that they reinvent themselves, responding appropriately to the current situation and demonstrating more dynamism and creativity. ... The MCH Group, which organizes Baselworld, is clearly more concerned with optimizing and amortizing its new building – which, incidentally, is largely financed by the watch industry during the fairs – than it is in having the courage to make real progress and to bring about true and profound changes. For all these reasons, Swatch Group has decided that from 2019 onwards, it will no longer be present at Baselworld." It has been estimated that the Swiss watch group invested $50 million to exhibit at Baselworld.

Baselworld has seen over 600 exhibitors, including the entire Movado Group, veto the show, causing several halls to close down and the exhibition to be shortened by two days.