This morning, the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie — on behalf of Rolex, Patek Philippe, Tudor, Chanel, and Chopard — announced they will create a new watch show that will run in parallel to Watches & Wonders in April 2021.
After a tumultuous relationship between Baselworld management and its exhibitors, which has often played out publicly, the Movado Group made headlines when they withdrew from Baselworld in 2017 to form their own exhibition in Davos. Then the entire Swatch Group pulled out in 2018 and also created a private exhibition, in Zurich. Seiko, Casio, Breitling, and multiple other brands followed. And now, amidst the worldwide virus outbreak compounded by ongoing turmoil at Baselworld — Rolex, Tudor, Patek, and Chopard decided it was best to withdraw and start their own show in Geneva.
The official statement by the FHH said the brands’ departure “follows a number of unilateral decisions made without consultation by Baselworld management, including the postponement of the watch show until January 2021, as well as its inability to meet the brands’ needs and expectations.”
Watches & Wonders (formerly SIHH) takes place at the Geneva Palexpo center (the same location as the Geneva Auto Show) and features brands such as Cartier, IWC, Montblanc, Panerai, Armin Strom, and Kari Voutilainen. The new show, anchored by Rolex, Tudor, Patek Philippe, Chanel, Chopard (and any additional brands that sign on) will also exhibit in the Geneva Palexpo center at the same time, but under a new name.
The formation of the new exhibition alongside Watches & Wonders represents the biggest show of strength and unity we’ve seen in the watch industry in decades — and perhaps marks the end of Baselworld.
A timeline of news events that led up to today.