While the 2014 Baselworld watch and jewelry show may look familiar this year, René Kamm urged journalists at the fair’s first press conference to expect more novelties. “Don’t be fooled by the packaging—there will be new trends and innovations,” said the CEO of MCH Group, the company that owns Baselworld, this morning. Kamm and a panel of others were effusive in their praise of the media for covering the show’s face-lift last year, and for the stories the international media would write again about this year’s edition. A prerecorded video showed brand leaders like Chopard’s Caroline Scheufele gushing about the importance of the media at the fair, while the show’s managing director, Sylvie Ritter, called the fair essentially a 10-day microcosm of the jewelry industry—one that connects both vendors and end users. “You are the intermediary between the exhibitors and the consumer, allowing them to plan and dream before purchases,” she said. (There are about 3,600 journalists registered from 70 different countries.)
Meanwhile, François Thiébaud, president of the Swiss Exhibitors’ Committee, revealed Swiss watch sales figures showing that growth had slowed: In the past year, Swiss watch exports ticked up just 1.9 percent at a value of 22 billion Swiss francs ($25 million), though early figures for 2014 are promising as exports in January and February hit CHF 3.3 billion, an increase of 6.8 percent for the same period last year. China, Hong Kong, and the United States are among Switzerland’s top five export destinations.
Baselworld 2014 anticipates about 100,000 visitors from more than 100 countries.