Baselworld cancels 2021 show, adjusts refunds for 2020

Brecken Branstrator

MCH Group, organizer of the Baselworld watch and jewelry trade show, announced two developments concerning the 2020 and 2021 shows. 

In a statement sent out May 7, MCH Group said it has cancelled the 2021 show scheduled for Jan. 28 to Feb. 2. 

Baselworld Managing Director Michel Loris-Melikoff said beyond 2021, MCH Group is looking into “new platforms” for Baselworld. 

We will be taking a decision on possible follow-up formats by the summer and will then provide information on the new concept and scheduling,” he said. 

In its announcement, MCH Group also said it worked with the show’s Swiss Exhibitors’ Committee and the Comité Consultatif to come to an agreement regarding refunds for the cancelled 2020 show, though it did not provide specifics on how much money it would be giving back. 

Baselworld’s original refund policy caused an uproar among exhibitors. 

Following the 2020 event’s cancellation, MCH Group gave them two “take-it-or-leave it” options, as one exhibitor described them. 

The first was for Baselworld to take 85 percent of an exhibitor’s booth fees for 2020 and apply them to 2021, with the remaining 15 percent going to MCH to offset the costs the company incurred for the 2020 show.

With the second, exhibitors were offered a 30 percent cash refund. Of the remaining 70 percent, 40 percent of that was to be carried forward to 2021 while 30 percent would’ve remained with MCH for incurred costs.

Baselworld offered no 100 percent refund option for exhibitors unable to attend the 2021 show, which, many argued, conflicted with other trade shows. 

Following the uproar over the refund policy and the date change, Rolex, Tudor, Patek Philippe, Chanel, and Chopard announced they were cutting ties with the show and starting their own watch event. 

The departures of LVMH-owned watch brands TAG Heuer, Hublot and Zenith followed shortly thereafter. 

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Source National Jeweler