The last domino has fallen. Announced today, the watch industry’s largest annual trade show Baselworld is the latest victim of the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak. It follows closely the cancelation of the other major trade show.
No sooner had SIHH reinvented itself as Watches & Wonders Geneva then it was called off as the world braces itself and tries to avoid a possible pandemic. The two shows were initially set to run back-to-back starting in late April in a near two-week celebration of luxury, watches, and luxury watches, but the industry will now need to find another way to introduce its 2020 products.
It was, in fact, the Swiss government that made the call, banning large-scale public and private events. In an odd framing of the issue, the organizers of Baselworld say the 2020 show will be “postponed” until January 2021. As the shows themselves have been in a state of upheaval, with ever more brands pulling out of Baselworld, as well as SIHH’s transformation, many had been questioning their relevance anyway. It seems to force a reassessment of the future of watch industry trade shows altogether.
Watch companies will still release their products, and consumers will still be able to learn about them, but it seems all will need to adapt. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on the best new watches — which might be all the more important for those staving off the boredom of quarantine. As the virus is already seen to be impacting the world economy, the watch industry can be hurt in other ways as well, but it’s been resilient in the past and is sure to continue delighting us into the future.
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