New 2002 Dates Set for Basel, SIHH

The Basel Fair and the International Committee of Fine Luxury Watchmaking (CIHH) have set new coordinated dates for their Swiss trade fairs in 2002. The Basel Fair runs the world’s largest timepiece and jewelry show, and the Geneva-based CIHH runs the International Fair of Luxury Watchmaking (known by its French abbreviation, SIHH). Basel, with 2,300 exhibitors, will be held April 4-11; the SIHH, showcasing 17 top luxury watch brands, is slated for April 8-15.

The two shows usually overlap. However, Basel 2002 was first set for March 14-21, 2002. That forced the SIHH to move to Jan. 18-25 (due to a car show in mid-March at Geneva’s Palexpo center, where it is held). The difficulties in attending both Swiss watch shows in early 2002—or choosing between the two—concerned many retailers who visit both. Between 5,000 and 6,000 visitors to Basel also go to the SIHH. When Basel 2001 ended in late March, a number of important watch exhibitors who show at Basel and/or are based in Geneva urged Basel’s managers to solve the problem. After meetings between officials of Basel, the CIHH, and top Swiss watch exhibitors, the new dates were announced in Basel and in Geneva on May 2.

“We’re doing this with the SIHH, but not for the SIHH,” said a Basel spokesperson. “Our main concern is our visitors, who would have had to come in both January and March. It is in the interest of the exhibitors, customers, and media to synchronize the dates of these two essential events,” said the spokesman, “but in the end, it is the buyer who will benefit [from the change].”

The new date, however, will require some adjustments by Basel Fair management (which runs 27 trade shows), the city of Basel (which has building projects under way at the fair’s grounds), and the city’s hotels and airport.

Two other luxury watch shows—the World Presentation of Haute Horlogerie (WPHH) and the Bvlgari event—are held in Geneva at the same time as SIHH. At press time, it was expected that both would shift their 2002 dates to coincide with SIHH’s.