“The name of Baselworld is going to be dropped,” a spokesperson for the exhibition told WatchPro in a statement today.
A line has been drawn under the cancellation of both the 2020 and 2021 events, and the organizer is in consultation with potential exhibitors to launch a completely new concept next year.
“A new format can be reborn,” the statement continues. “The destination can be chosen once the new format is chosen.”
Michel Loris-Melikoff, managing director of the event formerly known as Baselworld, is ready and motivated with his team to create a new format with the full consultation of the hundreds — around 600 — of exhibitors from three industries [watches, jewellery and gems]. A survey is under process right now to identify the needs and wishes,” the statement concludes.
Efforts are being made this month to reimburse exhibitors that had paid deposits for this year’s show. There is significant confusion around these refunds, with an official notice of terms contradicted by at least one exhibitor contacting WatchPro.
MCH Group, the parent company of Baselworld, says that the reimbursement solution was unanimously approved by all the exhibitors’ representatives, and the major brands who sit on the show’s advisory committee. “This consists of two-thirds cash reimbursement for exhibitors and one-third of the costs to be borne all together,” the company says.
Exhibitors have until May 31 to request their refunds, which will be paid within 7-10 working days.
Moving to another venue and with a new name addresses two key challenges: distancing the new event from the toxicity that has enveloped Baselworld’s brand, and moving away from a city that has gouged visitors on an annual basis with extortionate mark-ups for hotels, meals and taxis.
A move to Geneva to align with Watches & Wonders in early April next year would be an obvious option.
The Palexpo exhibition center near Geneva Airport is already home to both Watches & Wonders and the new show at which Rolex, Patek Philippe, Chopard, Chanel and Tudor will appear.
Those two shows are expected to use three out of nine exhibition halls at Palexpo, leaving ample space for a third show organized by MCH Group to exist alongside.