Breitling has officially confirmed it will be exhibiting at the 2019 edition of Baselworld.
The decision to exhibit at next year’s event comes after an ‘extremely successful’ show for the brand this year despite, or perhaps because, the exhibition had around half as many exhibitors as a few years’ ago and was shorted from eight days to four.
Rumours were rife that Breitling might be one of the biggest Hall 1 exhibitors to turn its back on Baselworld after the brand’s new CEO Georges Kern said he had found a global roadshow that took in New York, London and other major cities, a big success.
Asked in February, during at the London leg of the tour, whether he might move Breitling’s main annual presentation from Baselworld to the familiar environment of SIHH, the former Richemont watch supremo suggested he is open to change.
“This roadshow is the most effective trip I have ever had,” he said in February. “Trade fairs should be more about communicating, more like Fashion Weeks in a number of cities around the world,” he added.
But the experience of this year’s Baselworld, coupled with discussions with the show’s organiser, has prompted Breitling to stay.
“After constructive talks with Baselworld management, and in particular with other leading brands, we have decided to take part in Baselworld 2019 as an exhibitor,” said Mr Kern.
“In the coming weeks we will consider ways that the trade fair could improve next year in order to create long-term added value in terms of communications and sales for our brand, as well as for other manufacturers, both at Baselworld 2019 and beyond.”
In particular, Breitling wants to better coordinate the dates of the largest watch trade shows in Switzerland. Another goal is to develop Baselworld as a platform for communication. “I believe that the press days need to be restructured and digitalisation needs to be accelerated. There should also be a platform for collectors,” he continued.
Breitling also thinks that Baselworld should use its considerable influence over local officials to bring down the cost of visiting the exhibition, and make it more enjoyable.
“We want to encourage the hotels in Basel to invest in their property and infrastructure so that they can offer modern, contemporary lodging to international visitors at reasonable prices. The quality of the hotels must be commensurate with Basel’s desire to be a renowned, sustainable location for hosting trade fairs.”
Baselworld says that Rolex, Patek Philippe, LVMH, Swatch Group and major Japanese watchmakers have also committed to next year’s show.