In the light of the uncertainty provoked by the current health crisis, most of the major fairs of 2020 were cancelled – including the two heavyweights that are Baselworld and Watches & Wonders, the latter having held a digital edition already in April 2020. For 2021, afraid of the (non) evolution of the sanitary situation, the Watches & Wonders Geneva Exhibitor Committee has taken the decision not to hold the physical Salon, which was scheduled April 7 to 13, 2021. Instead, W&W Geneva will once again be an all-digital edition, where brands will unveil their new collections online.
According to the official statement sent a few minutes ago: “In view of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Exhibitor Committee has decided to cancel the physical Salon that would have been held at Palexpo from April 7 to 13, 2021. The decision, taken in close consultation with the principal stakeholders, is seen as the most responsible course of action, given the current health crisis and uncertainties as to how the situation may evolve.”
While this decision will certainly affect business and sales, in order to ensure continuity, the format chosen by the Watches & Wonders Committee will be to repeat an all-digital edition of the fair. This online concept will roll out an upgraded version of the watchesandwonders.com platform that was successfully introduced in April this year.
The idea is to improve the tools that were already used this year, by increasing participation and exchange. “Designed to encourage communication and facilitate networking, this interactive experience will enable professionals – media, retailers and exhibiting brands’ clients – to discover the new releases for 2021 and other watchmaking wonders. Additional services and features will be introduced, including live chats and streaming, so that the event can be enjoyed all over the world.”
All the brands participating in Watches & Wonders will be present online in April 2021. The list, in addition to Richemont Group brands and multiple independent watchmakers, will also include Rolex, Patek Philippe, Chopard and Tudor (which all left the Basel-based fair). Furthermore, the Exhibitor Committee wishes to invite other brands to join this digital edition to make the Geneva-based show the number one watch salon – since Baselworld is no longer able to compete.
Finally, the statement already mentions that Watches & Wonders expect to return to a physical salon in 2022, which will become the biggest watch event ever held in Geneva.