Swatch Group misses out on best Baselworld buying in years
Swiss investment bank Vontobel, arguably the best-connected financial experts reporting on its country’s watch industry, says that orders taken at Baselworld were up on last year from the majority of exhibiting brands, although the picture varied depending on where buyers came from. “Most of the brands talked about order intake being above last year’s level with China/Japan being very strong, also Hong Kong was positive,” a research note from Vontobel says. “America has seen a little bit of a slowdown whereas Europe surprised with positive growth. “Some brands talked about best order intake ever and another one has already sold out of its whole production of 2019,” the note continues without naming brands. The news is a boost to MCH Group, the organiser of Baselworld, which has already reported that visitors to this year’s show were down 22% to 81,200 and the number of exhibitors fell by 20% since 2018 to 520, and 60% since the 1200 brands that showed in 2017. Vontobel concludes that feedback from Baselworld was more positive than expected with almost all brands talking about a higher order intake. Referring to Swatch Group’s decision not to exhibit at Baselworld, Vontobel says: “We believe Swatch Group missed an opportunity to present its novelties and therefore the focus of the stories is on other brands.” Swatch Group held its own event in Zurich at the same time as Baselworld. Its luxury brands (Omega and upwards) shared news of their 2019 collections with retail partners. Press were not invited and WatchPro has been told that announcements about new products are under embargo until May. Retailers were repeatedly told to put their mobile phones away so that no photographs of the novelties leaked.