Baselworld proving unattractive for Switzerland’s biggest watch groups

(FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

First it was Richemont that broke away from Baselworld to create its own more intimate exhibition at SIHH in Geneva. Now Swatch Group has headed for the exit, but with no public plans for how it will present its 2019 collections to retailers, press and consumers.

Swatch Group accounted for 18.9% of global watch sales in 2017, according to Swiss bank Vontobel, and Richemont brands add up to 13.5% of the market.

Of the other major groups that will be missing from next year’s Baselworld, Fossil Group was worth 5.9% of the market and Audemars Piguet 2.6%.

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That is a total of 41% of the world’s watch sales that will not be represented in 2019.

Several smaller organisations with significant sales are also absent.

Kering Group watch brands Ulysse Nardin and Girard Perregaux exhibit at SIHH, although the group’s biggest brand Gucci exhibited at Baselworld this year.

Fashion watch businesses MGS Group and Festina pulled out of Baselworld in 2018 and held their own events for retail partners.

Rolex and Tudor, which add up to 14.1% of world-wide watch sales, will be the largest business by some distance at next year’s exhibition. LVMH watches, which account for 5.3%, will also still be there as things stand, as will the enlarged Citizen Watch Company, Patek Philippe, Casio, Breitling and Seiko.

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