Critics have been consistently denouncing annual watch and jewellery fair Baselworld in recent years for its poor facilities and astronomical prices. Complaints were falling upon deaf ears until its 2019 show was so thoroughly criticised that the trade show failed to host its annual affair the following year, exacerbated by circumstances surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, the centenarian show in Swiss town of Basel took the last two years to rethink its strategy and is ready to stage a revival.
Baselworld will return at the end of the first quarter of 2022 primarily as a B2B platform, eschewing luxury brands in the watchmaking world in favour of the mid-range luxury segment. The concept is said to combine experience marketing trends with the needs of stakeholders such as mid-range luxury watch, jewellery and gemstone clients.
"After the Coronavirus pandemic had stalled Baselworld over the last two years, we took a lot of time to talk to our partners and exhibitors," says the fair’s managing director Michel Loris-Melikoff. "One thing became very clear: the Baselworld brand must remain, but it must fundamentally change.”
Where it was once the most anticipated and largest trade show for luxury brands in the watch, jewellery and gemstone industries, the new approach will see smaller watch and jewellery manufacturers as well as gemstone traders present their products to retailers.
The under-one-roof strategy remains, making this a convenient and comprehensive stop for clients who will also have access to a digital platform scheduled for launch in autumn that will be a year-round forum for exchange and education.
Luxury watch retailers need not fear a missed opportunity, as Watches & Wonders, which has replaced the annual Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva, will continue to host the most prestigious timepiece brands in the world. Together, both fairs will complement each other and continue to champion Switzerland’s standing as the home of fine watchmaking.
Stay tuned for updates.