News: The Ever Changing Face Of Baselworld

There was a lot of news out of Baselworld again the past few days, and I intentionally didn’t cover it just yet as I was expecting more to come. Looks like it has calmed down now, so let’s have a look at what has happened!

First, the really big news for me is that Phillips in Association with Bacs&Russo will be attending the fair for the first time ever, this is good news and shows the ever growing importance of vintage watches to the community. At this rate I don’t think it will be taking very long before we see some of the other major online shops taking up space at the fair.

” Baselworld is very pleased to announce that it will host the prestigious Phillips in Association with Bacs&Russo at its next edition. Phillips in Association with Bacs&Russo is the world’s leading auction house in the watch market, exceeding CHF 110 million in 2019, breaking several world records including several watches exceeding CHF 1 million. 

For this premiere, Phillips in Association with Bacs&Russo will exhibit to the general public, on the one hand a selection of the most prestigious watches, modern and vintage highlights from its spring auctions, some of which have never been seen by the general public, and on the other hand a selection of extraordinary watches lent by private collectors for the pleasure of sharing them with as many people as possible. The exhibition space that will be exclusively reserved for it will benefit from a prime location in the main Hall 1.”

In addition, BULGARI, is leaving the show. This is no surprise to me considering they already tested the waters earlier this year with their very own event in Dubai which was very well received. This will however have a dramatic impact on how Baselworld looks since their booth was essentially the first thing you would see when visiting the main Hall. It would have been great to see this space be taken up by for example Grand Seiko, but they have of course already confirmed not attending the fair either.

Despite the BULGARI move, the LVMH group (of which Bulgari is a part) has confirmed the commitment of its Watch Division to attend the fair. I have to say though, that if it is headline news simply to have brands ‘confirm’ attendance to this year’s fair – then this is surely showing signs of distress on the part of the organizers of the fair. This should be an entirely non-event, because brands have always just paid and showed up anyway, but these days are clearly over.

In addition, keep in mind that the Coronavirus is still very much spreading. Time To Move, the Swatch Group watch event, has been cancelled for this reason. With a couple of months to go until Baselworld, I do believe the fair can add this on top of their ever-growing list of worries for the organization of the fair.

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