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Baselworld Watch Fair Calls It Quits. Again. For Now …

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After collapsing entirely in 2020 after the departure of major brands, followed by pandemic travel restrictions, Baselworld was set to reinvent itself in the spring of 2022. But now that’s off the table. Baselworld has canceled the upcoming show in favor of more evaluation and planning. Michel Loris-Melikoff, the embattled managing director who took over the sinking ship in 2018, has resigned.

“Baselworld organizers have decided to take more time for the launch of the new concept. Baselworld, scheduled for spring 2022, will therefore not take place,” said a statement released today by MCH Group, Baselworld’s parent company. “It takes into account the fact that it is particularly difficult to launch a new concept for a new target segment due to the renewed aggravation of the Covid situation and the associated uncertainty among customers.”

Several key brands bailed from the show beginning in 2018 with the Swatch Group, followed by Breitling, Rolex, Chopard, Patek Philippe and others. The 2022 Baselworld dates had nevertheless been set for March 31 to April 4, coinciding with the dates of the next live Watches & Wonders show in Geneva, taking place March 30 to April 5. Upon announcing the dates, Loris-Melikoff had promised to fix another problem – the price gouging in the city during the fair, as well as costs related to the fair. “We recognize that costs were too high. Not just for clients and stakeholders but for us as well,” he said. “So we changed the whole concept. Previously, a brand would pay in excess of $1-million to build, transport and store a booth. So we had to reconsider the whole concept … now booth space for exhibitors will be available now for around $20,000.

Today’s statement also said: “Over the past few months, we have studied in detail our Watches, Jewelry and Gems ecosystem …. the conclusion is that the market exists for a B:B:C platform that brings together medium-sized and specialized manufacturers with independent retailers. But their needs must be analyzed in more detail. This means we need to have significantly more time to get there … The goal remains to create added value for the community’s business in its target markets with the internationally anchored Baselworld brand and innovative platforms.”

Stay tuned.

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