The Swiss Luxury Division of Timex Group will not appear at next year’s Baselworld exhibition.
The group, which creates watches under license for high end fashion brands Versace, Versus Versace, Salvatore Ferragamo and Nautica, says that the world’s largest jewellery and watch fair is delivering diminishing returns on investment for exhibitors.
“I think that Baselworld is a huge investment for everybody and is in my opinion losing some effectiveness,” Paolo Marai, president and CEO of the Swiss Luxury Division of Timex Group, said in an interview with Forbes.
“We used to see a lot of retailers. This year not one single country sent retailers. So what you meet in Baselworld are distributors. But we know distributors. I don’t need to go to Baselworld for that,” he added.
Baselworld shifted gears in 2014 following a massive renovation project of the exhibition complex, the cost of which was passed on to exhibitors in the form of higher prices for space.
Most of the biggest brands accepted the rise, but a few, including Girard Perregaux and Ulysse Nardin have moved to SIHH, which has expanded beyond an event for only Richemont brands.
Jewellery & Gem Fair – Europe, which takes place over the four days prior to Baselworld opening on March 23 in Frieberg (just one hour on the train from Basel), is also pitching for some of the smaller brands that balk at the cost of the Swiss show. This year the German show expects over 400 exhibitors and 6000 visitors.
Baselworld still dwarfs all its European rivals, having attracted 1500 exhibitors and 145,000 visitors last year. It is also untrue that retailers are staying away. Buyers from all the major retail multiples from the UK were there, and representing independents were delegations from both of the UK’s major buying groups, Houlden and the Company of Master Jewellers.