The haemorrhage continues for Baselworld, as another mainstream brand has just announced its departure in 2019. According to the Swiss newspaper Le Temps (here, in French), Raymond Weil, which was exhibiting in Hall 1.0 (where all the big brands are located), won’t be present at Baselworld 2019. After Swatch Group took the lead earlier this year by announcing to leave the show, this piece of news sounds like another frontal attack on MCH, the company that owns Baselworld.
In all fairness, the impact of Raymond Weil leaving Baselworld is not the same as Swatch Group announcing its departure from the show. Certainly, Raymond Weil is a smaller brand, which produces around 150,000 watches, priced between CHF 800 and CHF 3,000. Nothing compared to the 18 brands of Swatch Group, its CHF 8 billion turnover and mainly, the CHF 50 million invested by the Group for the Baselworld week. According to its CEO Elie Bernheim, Raymond Weil spends over CHF 1 million in order to exhibit in Basel. The impact on MCH’s revenues (as a reminder, MCH is the company behind Baselworld) will be limited. However, the symbolic impact is again to see Baselworld being attacked and criticised.
“It’s been a while since I thought about it, but this time, the decision is made,” said Elie Bernheim to Le Temps. Even though the company has been exhibiting at Baselworld for over 40 years, the evolution of the market and of consumer behaviours clearly indicate that fairs such as Baselworld aren’t in line with the brands’ needs anymore, according to Bernheim.
When leaving Baselworld, Raymond Weil will leave another large space in Hall 1.0 empty. Knowing that this hall is the cornerstone of the fair, where all the mainstream brands are located (TAG, Rolex, Chopard, Patek, previously the entire Swatch Group), Weil moving away is another symbol of an industry that is turning its back on classical trade shows. The idea for Elie Bernheim is to “move along with the times” and to “think of different ways to get in touch with end-consumers, which is totally absent at Baselworld.”
This departure remains a risk for the company that, from the words of its CEO “benefited directly from the aura of the Swatch Group, as Longines, Tissot, Hamilton or Rado are brands in the same price segment.” However, the lack of communication from MCH and the non-adaptation to the brands’ demands won’t help the bleeding stop. Who’s next…? Wait and see!