Who would have thought it - as the world is suffering the consequences of global restrictions on how we live our daily due a war on an invisible but deadly enemy - its seems that another war is ensuing across the Swiss watch market. A spat between Baselworld and some of its past major exhibitors seems to have exploded further and fuel by conspiracy theories and whispering among some of the brands that have already left but also between those that seem to have remained, for now.
Due to the official postponement or one should say cancellation of Baselworld until 2021 there was increased disappointment - in fact anger from exhibitors at being refused full refunds of their deposits when Baselworld took the decision to delay the 2020 show to January 2021. Some of the outgoing exhibitor have made it explicitly clear that the chosen January dates were not viable but more frustratingly they were not consulted.
A statement from MCH Group, owner and organiser of Baselworld, refutes the claim that they did not consult with exhibitors.
“It is with great surprise and equally great regret that the MCH Group takes note of the cancellation of major exhibitors at Baselworld,” the company says.
“The new date for the unavoidable postponement of Baselworld 2020 was defined jointly with leading exhibitors. The objective was to find the earliest and best possible date for the industry following the Covid-19 related measures. The companies now “migrating” — including Rolex — spoke out in favour of a postponement to January 2021,” the statement adds.
Hubert du Plessix, president of the Comité des Exposants Suisses à Baselworld and a member of Baselworld Comité Mondial and a director of Rolex Holdings, said in a letter to Baselworld last week that “dates chosen in January 2021 are not suitable for the jewellery, gemstones and pearls sector, and that coordination with Watches & Wonders (SIHH) no longer exists.”
MCH spokesperson have confirmed that the future vision of Baselworld has been discussed on several occasions with the Exhibitors’ Committee, and the plan had been met with a positive response.
It goes on to accuse the exiting brands of orchestrating their departure before a dispute about repayment of deposits for the 2020 show burst into the open last week.
“The intention to move to Geneva has never been mentioned,” MCH says. “The MCH Group must therefore conclude that the relevant plans have been in preparation for some time and that the discussions concerning the financial arrangements for the cancellation of Baselworld 2020 are now being put forward as an argument.”
“In the next few weeks, the MCH Group will be making a decision on the continuation of Baselworld and on investments in its further development, which is geared to the long term.”
Baselworld has not been officially cancelled as yet but the future looks bleak.