It will, without a doubt had to Swatch Group put fuel to the fire by announcing, in the middle of last summer, its withdrawal in 2019 Basel (18 marks, including the heavyweights of the watch industry in switzerland, including Omega, Longines, Tissot), so that the Salon international de la haute horlogerie (SIHH) and Baselworld bury the hatchet.
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from 2020 onwards, the two appointments headlights to the watchmaking industry world will be synchronous. The SIHH will take place in January, but the 26 to 29 April in Geneva, followed immediately by the Basel fair, which will take place on the banks of the Rhine, from April 30 to may 5. “Although our two events have always been different, but complementary, it was imperative that we regain this concomitance of dates, welcomes Fabienne Lupo, chairwoman and general director of the Fondation de la haute horlogerie, which organises the SIHH. It is in the interest of our industry to make Switzerland a must-see destination, by facilitating the coming of the retailers, customers and journalists over the same time period.” A decade has therefore been necessary for the two brothers enemies agree to talk about it again. The bridges have been permanently cut in 2008 when Basel didn’t want to give her dates for upstream and that Geneva is split by advancing its held in January, instead of the spring.
Ten years after, the crisis of Baselworld, which, last year, recorded a decline of 50 % from its exhibitors, has reached its climax with the departure of the Swatch Group. It should be said that Hayek, whose father Nicolas G. Hayek founded in the 1980s an industrial empire, are not gone with the back of the spoon. “Today, everything has become more transparent, more quick, more instant, it now takes a different rhythm, a different form. Fairs, horological annual, as they exist at the present time, no longer make much sense, could you read in the press release of the group biennois. This does not mean that they will no longer be. But it should reinvent itself to offer solutions, to show more dynamism and creativity, it shows fail to do for now.” Before planting the ultimate banderille: “The company of the MCH Group, which organises Baselworld, is clearly more concerned about and interested in the optimization and the damping of its new building, largely funded by the watchmaking industry during the fairs, than to have the courage to make real step forward and make real and deep changes. For all these reasons, the Swatch Group has decided, from 2019, to not be present at Baselworld.”
“It is in the interest of our industry to make Switzerland a must-see destination, by facilitating the coming of the retailers, customers and journalists on a single period”
After the shock of this announcement, other brands like Corum, Maurice Lacroix and Raymond Weil, have decided to leave the ship in basel. As, before them, Louis Vuitton and Dior Jewelry (LVMH), Breitling, Movado, these companies now prefer to go it alone in introducing their new products outside of the model salons, watchmakers, tried, in recent times arrogant and outdated. Other companies, such as Girard-Perregaux, and Ulysse Nardin (Kering) and Hermes in 2018, have opted to stay in a traditional format and buy-in Geneva.
If the event in basel was born in 1917, “fair samples” that brings together cheese makers, chocolatiers and boiler before the watchmakers and jewelers do not supersede, the SIHH has its existence at the stroke of a man’s blood, Alain-Dominique Perrin, then ceo of Cartier. “At the Basel watchmaking fair, we bouffait poorly, slept poorly, could not accommodate this properly our customers on the stands! In 1990, I decided to block off and to open my own salon the following year in Geneva”, told the Figaro in 2015 the one who remains executive director of the Richemont group.
“In the life of a living area, which remains a unique opportunity to bring together all the industry, there are those who leave and those who return. Bovet joins us this year”
By 2019, on the strength of its ability to rejuvenate the haute horlogerie of geneva and to make sexy an industry that was not, the SIHH, however, has not been spared by the désaffections. In addition to the jeweller Van Cleef & Arpels (Richemont), conspicuously absent, Audemars Piguet and Richard Mille have created the surprise, last September, by announcing their departure from Geneva. “It no longer corresponded to our expectations or to those of the market,” says François-Henry Bennahmias, ceo of the manufacture, independent Audemars Piguet. In addition to the delay of exit of goods between the presentation on the show and their marketing, and our distribution channels have evolved and are increasingly integrated.” Translation: when a watchmaker does the vast majority of its sales in stores to his name, why would he spend astronomical amounts of money – the cost would vary between 5 and 15 million euros – to expose them in professional events are attended by retailers, loss of speed?
“For the past three years, the SIHH has started her molt, continued Fabienne Lupo. This is more of a private room, strictly reserved to retailers and journalists. We opened it to new audiences, collectors, the general public, the new media, in order to make a communication platform, a forum, a laboratory of haute horlogerie. In the life of a living area, which remains a unique opportunity to bring together all the industry, there are those who leave and those who return. Bovet joins us this year.” Not sure that the Swatch Group, which is expected to organize its own event in mid-march in Zurich “at the request of retailers from all over the world in Switzerland”, returns to Baselworld…