Major Watch Brands Organise New Geneva Show

A host of top watch brands have announced they will be taking part in a newly organised Geneva Watch Days event to be held from April 26-29 in the Swiss city. 

The move comes after major international events Baselworld and the Watches & Wonders Geneva show were cancelled by the Swiss government last week due to coronavirus.

So far, brands including Bulgari, Breitling, Ulysse Nardin, Girard-Perregaux, MB&F, DeBethune and Urwerk have said they will attend the new event, with the “full support of the State of Geneva”, which had pulled the plug on Baselworld and Watches & Wonder as it implemented a ban on large public gatherings in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Geneva Watch Days show will be "de-centralised", where brands will showcase their latest products in luxury hotels around the city, or even in their own boutiques. 

Ulysse Nardin, for example, plans to turn its Geneva boutique into a showroom of sorts for the event.

Bulgari, meanwhile, emphasised that the Geneva Watch Days would be in strict compliance with the Swiss Federal Council's February 28 decision regarding public gatherings, "as well as any future recommendations from the WHO and the Federal Council relating to the evolution of the COVID-19 epidemic currently affecting many countries.

"The State of Geneva, which is following the health situation as closely as possible, has given its full support to this initiative," it added.

Geneva Days was announced by Jean-Christophe Babin, chief executive of Bulgari, on Swiss national TV.

“Despite the cancellation of the two major watch fairs, [the new event] will allow retailers and media, primarily from Europe but not only, to discover, comment [on], and order from … the founding brands Breitling, Bulgari, Gérald Genta, Girard-Perregaux, MB&F, Ulysse Nardin, De Bethune, and Urwerk,” said Mr Babin. 

"Besides these brands, we are currently in advanced discussions with several other important names, including Chopard and H Moser & Cie., which we hope will be confirmed very soon," he added.

According to Breitling, the founding brands are creating a steering committee that will “work closely with the state and city of Geneva and relevant institutions to guarantee the maximum safety and sanitary protection for participants.” There will also be two multi-brand evening events.

Pierre Maudet, a Geneva State Councillor, said: “We fully support this initiative … even though its scale cannot be compared [to that of the cancelled events], it will contribute significantly to the Geneva economy during a period which otherwise would have been very challenging. 

“We will provide the participating brands with all our possible support.”