On the morning of April 14, the largest independent watch brands announced the termination of their partnership with Baselworld. Rolex, Patek Philippe, Tudor, Chanel and Chopard will not be attending the Basel show, which was slated to take place in January 2021. The joint communiqué notes that the decision was caused by the unilateral decisions of the Baselworld management regarding the new dates for the exhibition (01.28–02.02.2021) and the settlement of financial issues (the participants of Baselworld-2020, which was canceled due to the coronavirus epidemic, agreed to return no more than 30% of the paid fees).
Together with FHH (Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie), the brands are actively working on the format of the new watch show, which is planned to be held in early April 2021 in Geneva - in the same Palexpo exhibition complex and on the same dates as the Watches & Wonders salon (former SIHH).
“The Haute Horlogerie Foundation is pleased to welcome a new watch showroom that will complement the established Watch & Wonders format in Geneva,” commented Jerome Lambert on behalf of FHH.
1 of 5 Oyster Yacht-Master II, Rolex © Press Service World Time Chromograph (Ref. 5930G), Patek Philippe © Press Service Alpine Eagle, Chopard © Press Service J12 Paradoxe, Chanel © Press Service Watches Black Bay, Tudor © press service
The initiative to leave Basel belongs to Rolex, which has participated in Baselworld since 1939. The decision to organize a new watch show was supported by Patek Philippe, the fourth generation of the Stern family, the Wertheimer family's Chanel, which has been developing watchmaking since 1987, and the Chopard family company - its owners, the Scheufele family - took part in Baselworld for the first time in 1964.
The refusal of the largest independent market players to participate in Baselworld casts doubt on the very existence of this once important show of the watch industry, which celebrated its centenary in 2017. The list of potential participants in Baselworld-2021 is still LVMH brands, but they all presented their new products in January this year in Dubai as part of LVMH Watch Week and plan to keep this format next year.
Earlier, eight watch brands - Bvlgari, Breitling, Ulysse Nardin, Girard-Perregaux, MB&F, De Bethune and Urwerk - organized their intimate Geneva Watch Days. Originally scheduled for April 26-29, it was postponed to the end of August. The organizers expect the coronavirus epidemic to end by this time.>