Baselworld Cancelled due To Coronavirus Outbreak

Baselworld, the largest watch and jewellery event in the world, has been cancelled for 2020 due to fears over the coronavirus outbreak, the show’s organisers said on Friday.

The event, in Basel, Switzerland, which was to have been held from April 30 to May 5, 2020, has been postponed to January 28, 2021 - February 2, 2021.

The move came after a ban on large-scale public and private events was issued on Friday, February 28 by the Swiss federal and cantonal authorities.

Baselworld officials said they had no other option than to cancel the April-May event as all preparations, in particular, construction in the halls and of the stands was scheduled to commence next week (start March).

“We deeply regret having had to postpone the event as planned due to the coronavirus, in full consideration of the needs of the watch and jewellery industry to be able to benefit from the platform to develop their business,” said Michel Loris-Melikoff, managing director of Baselworld.

Baselworld is not only the largest watch and jewellery event in the world but, according to Bernd Stadlweiser, chief executive of partner MCH, a Basel-based live marketing group, it is also destined to become a key plank for the industry's largest global community platform, active all year round. 

“In the coming weeks, we will be presenting a new digital service that is essential and useful to our entire community, and which we trust will meet the needs of the brands that have become even more important in these difficult and turbulent times,” Mr Stadlweiser said.

The decision to cancel Baselworld this year came shortly after watch brands Citizen and Bulova announced they would not be present at the show due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The two firms’ move came after LVMH’s Bulgari earlier this month also withdrew from Baselworld.

Also this week, the Watches & Wonders Geneva show in April was cancelled by organisers due to coronavirus. 

Switzerland’s Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, organisers of the Geneva show, said it was its “duty” to anticipate the risks of travel and international gatherings given the global spread of the disease. The fair, formerly known as Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), was due to run from April 25 to 29 in the Swiss city.

The March editions of the Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show and the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show have already been pushed back to May. 

Elsewhere, Swatch Group, the owner of Omega, Tissot and Harry Winston, cancelled its annual watch summit, Time to Move, which was due to take place in Zurich, Switzerland, in late February and early March.