03.04.2020 - News

Breaking News: Baselworld 2020 cancelled amid Coronavirus concerns

Baselworld 2020 has been cancelled due to grave concerns over the coronavirus outbreak, organisers have announced.

The largest, most influential watch and jewellery exhibition, is a chance for watchmakers to show off their newest timepieces to journalists, collectors, retailers and fans around the world.

It was due to take place from April 30 – May 5.

MCH Group, which owns and runs the fair, has now postponed the event until January 2021. 

The decision to cancel Baselworld came after the Switzerland’s Federal Council made a mandate banning events for more than 1000 people.

The ban is immediate, will last until at least March 15 and is in direct response to the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus – a large family of viruses that cause a range of illnesses. 

Common signs of the infection, which can be transmitted from animals to humans, include breathing difficulties, high fever, cough and shortness of breath. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. 

Baselworld officials said in a statement: “For health safety reasons and in accordance with the precautionary principle following the bans of large-scale public and private events issued today by the Swiss federal and cantonal authorities, Baselworld announces that it has taken the decision to postpone the show to Thursday 28th January 2021 to Tuesday 2nd February 2021 due to concerns related to Covid-19.

“Following the official ban on large public gatherings which meant direct repercussions for the show, Baselworld had no other option than to make a decision as all preparations, in particular, construction in the halls and of the stands was scheduled to commence next week (start March).”

Big blow for the show

The cancellation will be a blow for fans of the exhibition that attracted more than 500 exhibiting brands from 40 countries and over 81,000 visitors from 100 countries last year.

Much preparation had gone into the show for this year, with plans to completely redesign the entrances to halls one and two to make them interactive as well as an additional events area.

But fans needn’t worry as there are plans afoot to make this year’s postponed event ‘digital’. The aim is to connect the Baselworld community globally to provide a platform which is live and relevant all year round.

Geneva Watch Days

However, despite the message to avoid large gatherings, a handful of watchmakers led by Bulgari, have decided to launch their own event in Geneva.

It will take place in several Geneva high class hotels from April 26- April 29.

Negative effects

For the new timepieces that were due to be shown at Baselworld, PR won’t be as great. Brands such as Rolex and Omega spend a lot of time and money releasing these models and without circulation of pictures and information from the show, they will have to rely on traditional marketing.

In addition, the virus has largely been affecting China and other parts of Asia. China is one of the biggest consumers of luxury watches over the last 10 years. The negative effects of this virus include declining sales and this will hurt the brands, while grey market prices will be sure to climb. Retailers may be unable to source watches from these countries, especially if flights are being cancelled.

Other events to be cancelled

A source has told Luxe Watches that the Watches & Wonders (SIHH) exhibition, which has also been moved to 2021, will overlap with Baselworld’s new dates, meaning enthusiasts can travel just once to Switzerland, where both shows take place.

Other events that have been thrown into doubt due to the viruses, are the Olympics, due to be held in Tokyo this year, from July 24. The athletics world indoor championships, scheduled to take place in China next month, are already off.