Following the decision of the Fédération de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH) and the Richemont Group to cancel the 2020 Edition of the Geneva-based watch fair Watches & Wonders, all eyes were on Baselworld and the watch world was waiting for the final decision to come… This is it, the other major watch fair of the year, Baselworld 2020, has been officially postponed to January 2021 (in other words, the 2020 edition is cancelled), as a result of the COVID-19 Coronavirus spreading throughout the world… 2020 will be a very special year for the watch industry.
Knowing the growing risks of an epidemic and in regards to the risks associated with travelling, as well as the health and well being of the watch community being threatened by the COVID-19 Coronavirus, the MCH Group, the organizer of the Baselworld watch fair, has been forced to cancel the 2020 Edition of its show – not only following the lead of the FHH and the cancellation of Watches & Wonders 2020, but also following multiple other events around the globe as well as the precautions of the Swiss authorities. This is a sad, yet somehow expected and necessary decision.
“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 (Press Day on Wednesday 27th January)”
On the contrary of the FHH and Watches & Wonders, Baselworld is organized by a private event company named MCH Group, which was already facing some multiple criticisms. Baselworld was criticized by both attendees and exposing brands, with many of them cancelling their participation at previous editions – Swatch Group, Seiko or Breitling to name a few.
This year, due to the Coronavirus threat, brands such as Bvlgari or Citizen/Bulova announced cancelling their participation. We knew it was thus just a matter of time before MCH announced the show being cancelled – even though the organisation released a note on February, 20 announcing that the show “was currently maintaining its planned timetable and the teams are continuing their preparations for the event to open as scheduled on the 30th of April 2020.” However, this isn’t a decision of MCH Group per se, but a precautionary principle that most events in Switzerland will have to follow.
The recent developments surrounding COVID-19 Coronavirus must certainly have, rightfully so, jeopardized the show, for obvious safety reasons. Knowing that nations all around the globe are taking strict measures to combat the spread of this harmful virus, the attendance to the show would have been reduced drastically anyway.