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.
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.
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.