Baselworld, one of the most prestigious events on the watch and jewelry industry calendar, has been canceled this year due to the continuing spread of the coronavirus.
This year’s event was scheduled to take place April 30—May 5 in Basel, Switzerland.
The fair also announced that next year’s event will be held Jan. 28—Feb. 2, 2021. That’s a change from its standard April date pattern.
The date change “enables the industry and all our customers to avoid losing a full year and at the same time reset their calendars for the beginning of the year, a period that is conductive to the presentation of their new products, new trends, and order taking,” said show managing director Michel Loris-Melikoff in a statement.
The statement attributed the cancellation to a Swiss law, passed on Friday, that bans public and private events of more than 1,000 people in an effort to contain the possible pandemic.
The fair had “no other option than to make a decision, as all preparations, in particular, construction in the halls and of the stands, was scheduled to commence next week,” the statement said.
The news comes one day after Watches & Wonders Geneva, the former SIHH, pulled the plug on its event this year, which was scheduled to immediately precede Baselworld. Following the SIHH announcement, Baselworld organizers said they were monitoring the situation but still hoped that the show would go on.
Baselworld had been in a rebuilding process following the Swatch Group’s decision to leave the fair last year.
Bernd Stadlwieser, group chief executive officer of fair owner MCH, said in the official statement that his company is developing plans to make Baselworld a “global community platform that is active all year long.
“We will be presenting a new digital service that is essential and useful to our entire community and which we trust will meet the needs of the brands that have become even more important in these difficult and turbulent times,” he said.
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