The official communication released by Baselworld’s organizers on 30 July was not only to reply to Swatch Group’s declarations but also to unveil major innovations which will be implemented in 2019.
The show’s organizers took a stance and responded with disappointment to Swatch Group’s announcement of its intention to stay away from Baselworld 2019, but the show’s management opposed to the report published on 29 July in the Sunday edition of the NZZ, which claimed that the exhibitors had not been notified about the new concept.
We extraordinarily regret Swatch Group’s decision. The cancellation is all the more surprising for us because this news reaches us at a point in time when new management has arrived with a new team, new esprit and many new ideas. René Kamm, CEO of MCH Group, Baselworld’s organizer
Michel Loris-Melikoff, who became Baselworld’s new Managing Director on 1 July 2018, likewise confirmed that the transformation of Baselworld from an order platform to an attractive marketing, communications and events platform will be prioritized in 2019.
The core will be Hall 1, with Hall 1.0 South (closed last year) devoted to “Les Atéliers” (i.e. independent watchmakers).
Hall 1.1 will become “The Loop” – exhibiting about the art of watchmaking (“Métiers des Horlogers”), while Hall 1.2 will be the new “Show Plaza”, reuniting the best in jewellery manufacturing and providing the public with an involving visual experience thanks to a 240° catwalk with numerous LED screens which will allow a never-seen-before jewellery video communication.
A renewed press day, a newly organized “Retailer Summit”, a stronger focus on digital and, last but not least, a declaration to negotiate fair room prices with hotels and restaurants during the show are more additions to Baselworld’s “innovation menu”.
Journalists and members of the press know too well how outrageously expensive is to find an accommodation and eat at Basel during the fair. This sort of “Charta”, as it is defined in Baselworld’s release, cannot but be appreciated.
At the same time, Michel Loris-Melikoff, who became Baselworld’s new Managing Director on 1 July 2018, contradicted Swatch Group statement appeared on NZZ, which claimed that the show’s new concept had been implemented without prior coordination with Baselworld’s exhibitors.
On the contrary, Loris-Melikoff explains that meetings with national and with international exhibitors’ committees took regularly place. The last one, during which the show concept was presented to the Comité Mondial, was held on 4 July. On those occasions, recalls Loris-Melikoff, a high-ranking manager from Swatch Group was present, at both sessions of the Comité.
Naturally, Swatch Group’s cancellation is extremely regrettable for Baselworld. Nevertheless, we are convinced by our new concept and we will implement it together with the other key players in the industry. We want to conduct the fair in 2019 as attractively as possible, in a new style and with a new way of thinking. With this in mind, I hope that a successful edition of Baselworld in 2019 will motivate Swatch Group to again participate in the show in the future. I personally would be very pleased to hold constructive talks with Swatch Group. Michel Loris-Melikoff, Baselworld Managing Director