It has been a traumatic year for the management of the world’s biggest watch and jewelry fair, Baselworld.
A new managing director, Michel Loris-Melikoff, took over the reins in June, and within weeks the biggest exhibitor by floor space, Swatch Group, announced it is pulling out of the 2019 event.
Independent brands including Maurice Lacroix and Corum have also headed for the exit of Baselworld. Meanwhile Audemars Piguet, the largest brand outside of Richemont Group that exhibits at SIHH in Geneva in January, has said it will not appear at the show from 2020.
The turmoil has made every watch brand and retailer reconsider their support for both SIHH and Baselworld, with many calling for a shake-up.
Kim-Eva Wempe is the latest chief executive to give an opinion, and she favors some sort of alignment between the two events that currently take place two months apart in different Swiss cities.
“I would like to have one single trade show and not two or even more,” the Wempe chief tells WatchPro.
Importantly, she does not want to see global trade shows for watches and jewelry disappear altogether. In fact, she argues that consolidating into one event would re-energize the market.
“Since a long time a marketplace is a place full of energy where decisions are being made and news are being shared. I am convinced that face-to-face discussions and lively exchange of information will remain there importance in the future,” she suggests.