$460 Million Makeover Awaits Showgoers at Baselworld 2013

The Swiss jewelry and watch fair unveils a mega-millions makeover

A $460 million makeover that includes a brand-new floor plan greets showgoers at Baselworld 2013, when the redesigned Basel convention center is unveiled April 25–May 2. Organizers began promoting the redesign two years ago and are debuting a new motto—“Brilliance Meets”—just in time to celebrate the show’s 40th year.

The complex’s halls are getting facelifts, and brand locations will be reconfigured. For example, Hall 1 now will house global brands of watches and ­jewelry, though attendees can still expect to be awed by two- and three-story stands decked out with luxe lounges and multiple meeting rooms. Hall 2 will feature other international brands; Hall 3 will continue to house vendors of diamonds, precious stones, and pearls; and Hall 4 will be home to machinery and other suppliers.

Organizers said the renovation reflects market changes. “The separation of jewelry and watches and their allocation to different buildings has been revised,” said a statement. “The new show layout depicts this overlap in an ideal manner.”

What’s more, MCH Swiss Exhibition and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council have inked a deal confirming the presence of 200-plus Hong Kong exhibitors in Basel for at least another five years.

At this year’s showing, Italian jewelry design house Mattioli is banking on snakes and the continued strength of rose gold to pique buyers’ interest. “We continue to experiment with geometric shapes, use exotic materials such as jet, and incorporate color,” says Dan Bogue, director of U.S. market for Mattioli.

With regard to anticipated U.S. business at the show, however, Mattioli’s expectations are mixed. The fair “has been sparsely attended by American buyers in the last few years as the U.S. economy has suffered,” he says. “When you consider the relatively low value of the dollar against the high levels of value for the euro and Swiss franc, it is easy to understand the fall-off in American attendance.”

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