Jean-Claude Biver, the outgoing CEO of TAG Heuer and head of LVMH’s Watch Division, has confirmed that the group will attend Baselworld in 2019 but expressed his fears about the future of the show if changes aren’t implemented.
Mr Biver said he had already decided before stepping back from day-to-day operational control, that LMVH brands would take part in next year’s event and added that decision to attend had been made together with other Swiss watch brands, such as Rolex and Patek Philippe.
In an interview published by CNN, he was quoted as saying: “We want to take advantage of 2019 to see together with the organisers what Basel 2020 could be. What are our wishes, our constraints…if we can manage that together with the fair, there is no reason we wouldn’t stay.”
Mr Biver suggested that the fair needed to take place at the beginning of the year instead of March and that prices for exhibitors, as well as hotel rooms in Basel, were too high.
“If we cannot find solutions…probably we’ll leave,” he said. “I agree with Swatch Group that the fair has never adapted to the 21st century, it is true.”
Ricardo Guadalupe, chief executive of LVMH watch brand Hublot, agreed with Mr Biver. “It would be better to have one show in January that everybody goes to than have the current two shows in January with SIHH and March with Baselworld,” he told WatchPro over lunch at the company’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, yesterday.
Swatch Group was one of the first major watch conglomerates to pull out of the show, announcing its decision back in the summer. Last week saw Raymond Weil also withdraw from the event over concerns that it could no longer attract the volume of distributors it once did and that it would be more worthwhile to develop its business through alternative channels.
Audemars Piguet and Richard Mille have said they will not exhibit at SIHH in 2020.