LVMH signs up to Baselworld 2019 but watch chief shares Swatch Group’s concerns

Jean-Claude Biver, the outgoing president of LVMH’s Watch Division, has confirmed that the group will attend Baselworld in 2019 but expressed his fears about the future of the show if changes aren’t implemented.  

Mr Biver, who also serves as the CEO of Tag Heuer, said he had decided before retiring that LMVH brands would play its part in next year’s event and added that decision to attend had been made together with other Swiss watch brands, such as Rolex and Patek Philippe.

In an interview published by CNN, he was quoted as saying: “We want to take advantage of 2019 to see together with the organizers what Basel 2020 could be. What are our wishes, our constraints…if we can manage that together with the fair, there is no reason we wouldn’t stay.”

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Mr Biver suggested that the fair needed to take place at the beginning of the year instead of March and that prices for exhibitors, as well as hotel rooms in Basel, were too high.

“If we cannot find solutions…probably we’ll leave,” he said. “I agree with Swatch Group that the fair has never adapted to the 21st century, it is true.”

Swatch Group was one of the first major watch conglomerates to pull out of the show, announcing its decision back in the summer. Last week saw Raymond Weil also withdraw from the event over concerns that it could no longer attract the volume of distributors it once did and that it would be more worthwhile to develop its business through alternative channels.

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