Basel to Expand

The world’s largest watch and jewelry show is going to get even bigger.

Rene Kamm, chief executive officer of MCH Swiss Exhibition, the parent firm of BaselWorld, announced a $287 million expansion project at the show this past April.

For a number of years the show’s management has divided it into clearly defined segments (watch halls, jewelry halls, equipment) and put exhibitors in the halls based on their market. That’s changing. “As show organizers, we shall no longer be able to make a clear distinction between these two product categories, by accommodating them in different buildings,” said Kamm. “Our infrastructure will have to be adapted accordingly.”

Plans call for a three-story complex, in which Hall 1 (watch exhibitors) will be extended and a third level added. Hall 3 will be rebuilt as a three-story building, and the new hall complexes will be linked by a roof over Exhibition Square, which is now open.

The new complex will have double the floor space for the show’s multistory stands, most of them in the watch halls. Currently, the show allows stands up to 30 feet high within an area of 45,000 square meters. Starting in 2012, the fair will be able to offer the same height in an area of more than 90,000 square meters.

The enlarged infrastructure may also enable BaselWorld, which has over 2,000 exhibitors, to add some exhibitors from its long waiting list. The cost of the project will amount to about $287 million.