Baselworld has cancelled its 2021 event (is this the end of the show?)
Baselworld – one of the world’s biggest watch and jewellery exhibitions – postponed its event this year due to the coronavirus, scheduling it for 2021. Now, it has cancelled that event due to financial reasons.
Baselworld used to attract some of the world’s top watchmakers, including Rolex, Patek Philippe, Seiko and TAG Heuer. Earlier this year, organizers MCH Group issued a statement saying that the event which normally runs in April, will be held in January 2021.
However, that 2021 event has now been cancelled. Rumours suggest the cancellation was due to significant names in the watch world demanding refunds from the company.
On April 6, Rolex investments head Hubert J. du Plessis published an open letter that criticized the organizer’s claims to only provide partial refunds to its clients. Shortly after, the brand – along with Patek Philippe – announced they were leaving the Baselworld entirely.
Rolex, Patek Philippe, Tudor, Chanel and other well-known brands will be joining forces to create a new watch exhibition, in partnership with Watches & Wonders (the team behind SIHH) organizers the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie.
According to a statement made my MCH on May 7th, it found an amicable solution with the aggrieved brands: “Patek Philippe, Rolex, Tudor, Chanel, Chopard, Hublot, Zenith and TAG Heuer, who, in a spirit of solidarity with the sector as a whole, have agreed to a lower refund so that the other exhibitors can benefit from better conditions,” said Bernd Stadlwiesser, the CEO of MCH.
“In light of the large loss of revenue due to COVID-19 and our responsibility to all our stakeholder groups, this solution marks the limit of what is possible for us,” said Stadlwiesser. “With the amicable settlement for Baselworld 2020, we can now concentrate fully on the future,” he added.
Baselworld managing director Michel Loris-Melikoff said the event is focussing on the coming years: “Together with the exhibitors and visitors, we are working intensively on clarifying and discussing the requirements and options for new platforms. 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.”
It is unclear whether or not this means Baselworld’s regular April 2021 show will go ahead as planned.