EXCLUSIVE: Baselworld name abandoned as organiser contemplates a new format in a fresh location


“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.

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  1. Good luck MCH Group, have a feeling few will trust your organization for any future event(s). Perhaps it is time to retire, just as many popular sports figures do. Coming back after ‘retirement’ is usually not a good play. jmho

  2. Fake News, do the math

    111’000 square meters in total (Wikipedia)

    approx. 35 brands Watches & Wonders > maximum 35’000 square meters on the ground
    It is estimated that the floor area is multiplied by 3 (passages, amenities, restaurants, reception, panels, etc…).
    So 105’000 square meters for Watches & Wonders!!!!

    Rolex & Co
    And you have to add 5 brands that have big means.

    So Palexpo is already very cramped for these two exhibitions.
    So the Carré des Horlogers (W&W) is likely to be very crowded.
    A third show seems impossible, the 2 on the spot will already have to squeeze together
    The 2 fairs have not yet communicated their “needs” in square meters. They keep the suspense going, it’s to their advantage.

    PS_ for indication, Cartier at the SIHH is 3’000 square meters.

  3. As a jewellery retailer and buyer I’ve been visiting Baselworld since 1990 and I predicted its downfall years ago. Basel is unfriendly, unconvenient and ridiculosly expensive : 450 swiss francs per night in a modest hotel , 100 for a normal dinner and one ‘germanish’ pizza at the same price of Montecarlo. In addition, Switzerland it’s the only place in Europe with rigid borders where your passport , car and luggage are deeply checked .
    While other fairs in the world send you invitations and special offers , Basel fair imposes an absurd entrance ticket of 50 swiss francs per day even to professional buyers.
    Baselworld conceited organizers lost their exhibitors and will continue with this trend because they don’t realize what the problem is. Instead of focusing on bringing more buyers, they care about charging exhibitors with sky-high non negotiable booth prices that sent away the majority of operators.
    The chief executive of Swatch group – the giant who was the first to abandon the fair leaving a €50M contract on the table – says that “Basel organizers must reinvent themselves” . I believe that means they don’t know where to head to : many years of mistakes are very hard to mend.
    Luca Alfonsi
    LUCA 1959 Alta Gioielleria Perle Rare
    Corso Italia 100
    32043 CORTINA D’AMPEZZO – Italy
    Tel. 0436 5919 instagram : luca1959highjewellery

  4. Sorry to say in the good times the arrogance of the organisers, the costs involved and the indifference of the organisers has killed the exhibition. Diamond dealers and jewellery companies were not listened to and the organisers neglected smaller exhibitors. They reaped what they sow now. In difficult times they are fooling themselves if they think any smaller exhibitor is going to come back. Vicenza Oro and HK show has taken the empty space they created.

  5. OMG these comments. Always the same catchphrases and arguments for years! We knew it, thank you, nothing new. You should also reinvent yourself to argue!

    But guys: if everything was so arrogant, so expensive, and so inappropriate in Basel, why would you come there every year?
    Of course, because you were doing very good business there!! Or… is it that you are really masochists !?
    You also forget that the 2019 edition was greeted by many exhibitors as well. Happy people, satisfied with the new management.

    And if this article (which is based on assumptions but which has nothing official, or even “EXCLUSIVE”), would be an option to collect in Switzerland, near the Geneva watch fairs, all those who do not have solutions to make themselves known (small and medium watchmakers innovative and deserving) and all those gems/diamond industry and Jewelers who were happy to be a part of Baselworld for years. If this solution is proposed with an organizer who knows his job: to organise fairs. Then yes, it is a nice and good idea. Why not. Do not displease the grumpy!

    But I think it’s too early now and instead of speculating, it would be better to wait for an official press release (from MCH)!


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