The luxury watch show Baselworld has been forced to cancel its 2020 show after Switzerland’s Federal Council banned events for more than 1000 people because of fears about the spread of coronavirus Covid-19.
A statement from the organiser said “For health safety reasons and in accordance with the precautionary principle following the bans of large-scale public and private events issued today by the Swiss federal and cantonal authorities, Baselworld announces that it has taken the decision to postpone the show to Thursday 28th January 2021 to Tuesday 2nd February 2021 due to concerns related to Covid-19.”
The original scheduled date in March had been chosen to suit brands and retailers who wanted the show to run back-to-back with Watches & Wonders Geneva, which cancelled last week. There has been no announcement yet about Watches & Wonder 2021, but exhibitors are hoping that a rescheduling for next year will realign it with Baselworld.
Baselworld managing director Michel Loris-Melikoff said he had no other option than to make a decision today as preparations including construction in the halls was due to take place starting in the first week of March.
“We deeply regret having had to postpone the event as planned due to the coronavirus, in full consideration of the needs of the watch and jewellery industry to be able to benefit from the platform to develop their business. This decision has been all the more difficult in view of all the positives that have been achieved through listening and dialogue over the last few months, which resulted in new concepts and new solutions, that have attracted exhibitors to return and new ones to sign on. We registered encouraging growth in all sectors; watchmaking, jewellery, the gemstone and pearl trade, as well as in the technical branch” he said.
“By postponing the show to January 2021, we have found a solution that enables the industry and all our customers to avoid losing a full year and at the same time reset their calendars for the beginning of the year, a period that is conductive to the presentation of their new products, new trends and order taking. This postponing will also allow Baselworld to continue developing and bringing new formats and solutions as well as improvements to the new concept we propose.”
Bernd Stadlwieser, Group CEO of Baselworld’s owner MCH Group, added: “Within the process of the last weeks, I was very impressed by the involvement and trust of all our customers, partners, stakeholders and team, to pro-actively find the very best solution in the interests of the industries. By communicating intensively all together, we were able to work on different scenarios and to jointly decide on the very best one. I would like to thank everybody for their belief in and commitment to our platform. Baselworld is not only the largest watch and jewellery event in the world, but is also destined to become the industry’s largest global community platform, active all year round. In the coming weeks, we will be presenting a new digital service that is essential and useful to our entire community, and which we trust will meet the needs of the brands that have become even more important in these difficult and turbulent times.”
The news comes as several other international arts, collections and technology shows announced cancellation for the same reason. Beijing’s Jingart, Hong Kong’s Art Basel and Art Central, Hong Kong shows for Jenny Savile and Luc Tymans, and Christie’s Hong Kong Contemporary Art auction have been cancelled, Christie’s and Sotheby’s have postponed their New York spring Asian Art Week sales from March to June, phone show Mobile World Congress in Barcelona was cancelled, and Tefaf Maastricht, scheduled for 7th-15th March, which has made efforts in recent years to encourage collectors, museum representatives and press from China to visit, says: “We unfortunately will not be able to welcome select visitors and journalists who are restricted by visa and travel restrictions [in their own countries].” Tefaf says it is evaluating “the best possible security and safety measures” for the fair.
More news as it breaks.