06.05.2020 - News

Baselworld 2021 cancelled: What next for its host city?

Baselworld 2021 has been cancelled following months of disputes between its owners MCH and major watch brands.

The show had been set to run from January 28 until February 2 next year.

It was only recently rearranged to replace Baselworld 2020 which had been postponed due to the Coronavirus outbreak. But major watch exhibitors including Rolex, Patek and Chopard, were left fuming over rows over refunds for fee advances paid for the exhibition – and broke ranks to form their own show in 2021.

The new announcement leaves Basel without its usual cash injection for two years, as the world’s most famous watches and jewellery show usually attracts around 90,000 visitors over a six-day period.

Follow-up formats

Michel Loris-Melikoff, Managing Director of Baselworld, claimed that instead of a show in 2021, his team would be working on “options for new platforms” although did not state what these were.

He added: “We will be taking a decision on possible follow-up formats by the summer and will then provide information on the scheduling.”

Interactive watch museum 

But a new concept has transpired that could take the place of an industry-focused trade show meeting annually.

Planbasel.ch, is developing a new concept of interactive watch museum that will be called Swiss Watch Treasure House and located in central Basel.

Dubbed the ‘‘new hotspot of the watch community’, it would provide a platform accessible all year round for watch collectors everywhere to unite.

People would be able to experience 100,000 watches in one place – 50,000 pre-owned and the whole current range of the industry.

These timepieces would be featured in snapshot presentations within the building, while watch enthusiasts would be able to reserve up to twenty watches online so that they can take part in an incredible ‘watch and feel’ experience.

Safe as houses

As the watches would be stored in an underground vault, a system would be in place to allow the selected timepiece to make its way from the safe to the testing room for a potential buyer to try on.

Timepieces could then be bought in a shop in the local shopping mile of jewellery and art products.

Specially designed exhibition rooms would mean that brands could show off their designs while collectors would only need to visit one place rather than several manufacturers.

Brand-certified trading platform

According to the project planners, the concept could also be a trading platform where any pre-owned watches could be certified by the brands there.

But one rather far-fetched suggestion is a steam train that would take visitors from Basel to the watch manufacturing areas of Switzerland.

This all of course, is dependent on support from the city of Basel and bigwigs from the watch industry.

Earlier this year, rivals Watches and Wonders (SIHH) launched an impressive digital platform when its exhibition was also called off due to COVID-19.