BaselWorld Changes with the Markets

BaselWorld 2008 visitors are finding that more than the products are new. In response to the blurring of lines between watch and jewelry brands and changing markets, the show has significantly re-configured its long-time segmentation of products.

“Jewelry brands are making watches, watch brands are making jewelry. So we can’t continue the old segmentations,” JCK was told by Bernard Keller, BaselWorld director of communications. In addition, prestigious watch and jewelry vendors have long demanded more exhibition space.

“It’s now more important that brands have adequate space to present themselves,” said Keller. “So, we’re paying attention  to the quality and space of exhibitors than to infrastructure and segmentation,”

Some 90 watch brands have been relocated from Building 1 and 5 (long-time homes of watch exhibitors) to a new section in Building 2 (formerly, just jewelry).

“We’re creating more space for [current] watch exhibitors, not adding more watch exhibitors,” noted Keller told JCK. This year, there are about 355 watch exhibitors, about 4 percent more than in 2007.

Meanwhile, noted Show director Sylvie Ritter, more “with their increasing branding activities, Prestigious jewelry brands need more room in which to showcase their brands.”

So, exhibition areas space for them in Building 2 has been expanded. Another 75 other have been relocated to a newly opened floor for them in Building 3, providing an additional 91,494 square feet for with what show management calls “a truly upmarket setting.”

Also new is the BaselWorld Place, a complex of glass walls and white peaked roofs housing a diverse group of exhibitors–including Paris Hilton Watches, H. Stern jewelry and watches; the Joaillerie de France group; Kenzo watches, Casio watches and BaselWorld  first-timer, Swarovski & Co., best known for its crystal.

Meanwhile, at the annual pre-show press conference, René Kamm, chief executive officer of MCH Swiss Exhibition Ltd., which owns and runs the show, gave details on BaselWorld’s Exhibition Center project, due to finish by 2012, which will enlarge and unify, under one roof, the show’s several exhibition buildings.

“The exhibition center will be more compact and self-contained, with interlinked exhibition areas, allowing to be flexible in the placement of different sectors to meet changing demand, “ sad Kamm, “and in particular to take into account the increasing “merge” of brands in the watch and jewelry sectors. At the same time, it will improve visitor convenience – with shorter visitor paths, as well as “indoor connections” between all halls.”

The new complex will have twice as much exhibition area, with a hall height of 8 or 10 meters, thus making it possible to accommodate more multi-level stands. That will also enable the show to reduce the overall exhibition area slightly.

“With this project, we’ll create the necessary infrastructural requirements to ensure that the watch and jewelry sectors enjoy excellent conditions—both for exhibitors and visitors—and enable BaselWorld to develop successfully.

Other highlights this year include the return of BaselWorld Village, a restaurant and bar complex 10 minutes by car from Exhibition Square, which the show has taken over for the duration of the fair, where vendors, visitors, and guests can relax in the evenings.