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CORDER’s COLUMN: London preferred to Basel for a global spring watch fair

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Rob Corder.

Baselworld will be back in 2022, according to its owner MCH Group, but an online poll on my LinkedIn feed has found that watch enthusiasts and trade executives would rather gather in London.

The poll is far from scientific, and could have been skewed by the demographics of my 7,500 LinkedIn followers, but from 118 votes cast, London came out comfortably ahead of Basel, New York and Dubai as potential destinations for a major watch fair in the spring of 2022.

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I have long argued that Baselworld’s greatest challenge is its location in Basel, particularly its position on the wrong side of the river to the city’s charming historic centre.

Repeated attempts to stop hotels and restaurants gouging visitors during Baselworld at its peak fell short.

After the 2020 show was cancelled, hotels did everything they could to avoid refunding people that had booked their overpriced rooms before the pandemic started. That will not be forgotten.

So, it is little wonder there is an appetite to move the show. Indeed, Baselworld has revealed a plan that will see satellite events to the main spring show take place in Asia and the United States in future years.

That assumes Baselworld in Basel is a success in 2022, which is a bold assumption as things stand — so far now exhibitors have confirmed their participation — although I have heard rumours that a big announcement is imminent.

I am ready to throw my support behind a resurrected Baselworld, and hope it can become home for the hundreds of watch and jewellery brands cut adrift by Geneva Watches and Wonders when it capped participation at around 40 brands.

If Baselworld 2022 fails to get off the ground, I think another major show should be created for the brands that cannot get into Geneva, and it should run back-to-back with Watches and Wonders so that press, retailers and other trade executives can visit both events in one European trip.

I might just launch it myself in London.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I’m all for doing polls and surveys, but this ‘survey’ carries no weight at all really. A small sample size from a biased source, should this even be allowed to be reported? At the very least ask a second question which is ‘Which city are you in’, I’d make a guess here that a lot of the respondents were in or near London.

  2. I agree that the survey is skewed in favour of London…Rob has already touched on that in his column. However, I think the poll was relevant if it kick starts a debate and provides a resolution that suits the majority of the industry (you’ll never please everyone). The independents and smaller brands need a voice and firms like Rolex will always demand preferential treatment and the bigger slice of any pie. A compromise needs to be reached that allows hobbyists and professionals alike to attend and enjoy these shows. Rob should be applauded for getting the ball rolling and not knocked back, but as mentioned above – you will never please everyone!

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