New 2002 dates set for Basel, SIHH

New coordinated dates in 2002 for their Swiss trade fairs have been announced by the Basel Fair, which runs the world’s largest timepiece and jewelry show, and the International Committee of Fine Luxury Watchmaking (CIHH) in Geneva, which runs the International Fair of Fine Luxury Watchmaking (SIHH).

Basel, with 2,300 exhibitors, will be Apr. 4 to 11, 2000, and SIHH, which has 17 luxury watch brands, will be held Apr. 8 to 15.

The two shows normally overlap each other, but next year, Basel was scheduled for Mar. 14 – 21. That would have forced SIHH to move to Jan. 18 – 25 (due to a car show in mid-March at Palexpo, where SIHH is held). Rodolphe Huser, SIHH’s chairman, accused Basel Fair officials of ”depriving our two events” of concurrence, though Basel officials said they tried to resolve the discrepancy in dates and invited SIHH exhibitors to return to it ”anytime.”

More important, the logistical and travel difficulties in attending both Swiss watch shows in early 2002-or choosing between the two-were primary concerns for many retailers who attend both.

After the close of Basel 2001 in late March, a number of important watch exhibitors, who show at Basel and/or are based in Geneva, asked Basel’s management to resolve the problem. Basel officials contacted ”the most important watch exhibitors in Basel and Geneva,” and the CIHH, and after some meetings, the new coordinated dates were simultaneously announced May 2 in Basel and in Geneva.

It is ”in the fundamental interest of the international exhibitors, customers and media to synchronize the date of these two essential events,” said a Basel spokesman. ”At the end of the day, it is the buyer who will benefit [from the change].” The Basel officials say they have checked with the city’s hotels and airport to ensure the change in schedule causes minimal problems for visitors and exhibitors.

Both Basel and the CIHH also have agreed to coordinated dates for 2003 through 2005, though those haven’t yet been announced. Those will be discussed with Basel’s exhibitors’ committee at a June 21 meeting.

Two other luxury watch shows-the World Presentation of Haute Horlogerie and the Bulgari event-are held in Geneva at the same time as the SIHH. At press time, it was expected they would shift their 2002 dates to concede with SIHH’s, though there was no official word.

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