Baselworld will not take place this coming spring, as organizer MCH Group feels it needs “more time” to work out what exhibitors and buyers want.
The decision followed a pop-up event in Geneva and extensive discussions with manufacturers and retailers, MCH said in a statement Friday [November 12]. In addition, the Covid-19 situation and resultant uncertainty among customers make it hard to launch something new, it noted.
Baselworld has not taken place in its traditional form since before the pandemic — a result of both virus-induced cancellations and disgruntlement among certain major exhibitors.
MCH rebranded the watch and jewelry fair as HourUniverse, aiming for an April 2021 launch, but this was also postponed because of the coronavirus. The company then revived the old name and repositioned the show as a mid-market event; it organized a smaller gathering called the Geneva Watch Days in late August and early September and planned to hold the full Baselworld exhibition from March 31 to April 4, 2022.
“Over the past few months, we have studied in detail our watches, jewelry and gems ecosystem and gained important insights from discussions with major industry representatives,” said Beat Zwahlen, CEO of MCH. “The conclusion is that the market exists for a [business-to-business-to-consumer] 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.”
MCH will carry out market research in the coming months to decide what to do next, the statement continued.
Meanwhile, Michel Loris-Melikoff, Baselworld’s managing director, has left the company, MCH reported. The executive assumed the position in 2018, two months before Swatch Group quit the fair — a decision that sparked further withdrawals from key exhibitors dissatisfied with the show’s costs and, in their eyes, irrelevance.