SIHH, the annual watch fair that rebranded itself as Watches & Wonders Geneva, has canceled its April event due to fears of the coronavirus.
The fair was scheduled to take place April 25–29 in Geneva.
“In view of the latest developments concerning the worldwide spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, it is the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie’s (FHH) duty, as organizer of Watches & Wonders Geneva, to anticipate the potential risks that travel and important international gatherings could entail,” said a statement from its organizers. “Therefore in order to protect the health and well-being of all our guests, press, partners, and teams, the decision has been taken to cancel the upcoming edition of Watches & Wonders Geneva (formerly known as the SIHH).”
The group said “it understands the disappointment this year’s cancellation may cause…. The FHH is already working on the organization of 2021 edition of Watches & Wonders Geneva.”
Founded in 1991, SIHH had generally taken place in January and was positioned as an upscale alternative to Baselworld. But in 2018, after both fairs suffered prominent defections, it made an agreement with its longtime rival to move to April so the two events could occur back-to-back.
Now that Watches & Wonder has decided not to take place at all in 2020, some are wondering if Baselworld will soon follow suit.
A spokesperson told JCK via email that it views SIHH’s decision with “great regret.” But for now, at least, the show will go on.
“The health and safety of exhibitors, guests, and employees is the key concern, and Baselworld has every intention of complying with the recommendations of the national health department as well as the city of Basel,” it said. “To date, there are no specific requirements from the authorities regarding the organization of Baselworld Switzerland, and the show management is in close consultation with exhibitors.”
The coronavirus has also forced the postponement of three notable jewelry events. The Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show, and the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show, both scheduled for March, have been moved to May.
In addition, the Swatch Group canceled its Time to Move event, its Baselworld alternative, which was originally supposed to start at the end of this month.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s page on the coronavirus can be seen here.
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