Trade Shows


The year 2000 brings many changes to the World Watch, Clock, and Jewelry Fair in Basel, Switzerland (March 23-30), including more luxury jewelry and watch vendors than ever before, new programs—and an admission fee.

The Basel Fair organization spent millions of Swiss francs renovating its centerpiece, Building 1, for 1999. Prestigious watch vendors spent millions more on a first-floor mini-metropolis of grand exhibition boutiques. Show attendees and other vendors were so impressed that even more millions have been spent this year to give Building 1’s second level the same makeover, with wide aisles, “plazas,” and double-deck exhibition booths. Famous luxury names like Boucheron, Harry Winston, Hermès, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Chaumet are in the front section. International fashion brands—many of them jewelry names expanding into watches for the first time—make up the rest of the floor. (Clock and watchband vendors move to Hall 5 in Building 1. Building 2 continues to house most prestigious jewelry exhibitors.)

A new show feature called “The Basel Forum” brings together prominent speakers with divergent points of view to debate issues of importance to the trade. This year’s first forums focus on two issues that increasingly affect sales and distribution of fine watches and jewelry: “Do you need a brand name to sell jewelry?” and “How does the Internet affect distribution?” The debates will be held March 26 and 27. Transcripts will be available later.

The Basel Forum is one of two new programs specifically designed to attract the media coverage many upscale exhibitors want. The other is the “Basel Award,” presented jointly by the Basel Fair and a dozen prestige firms to promising jewelry designers. Judges and candidates are chosen from around the world. Winners will be announced during the fair.

Also new is that all non-European visitors for the first time must pay to enter the fair (rather than getting in free by showing their passports), as Europeans do. One-day passes cost about $25; one-week passes are about $85. It’s one of the policies of the show’s new director, René Kamm, who took over after the June 1999 retirement of Michel Mamie. In his 40-year tenure, Mamie built the show into one of the world’s leading trade fairs. — William George Shuster


The third annual “Designer Day,” the Designer Jewelry Business Conference, sponsored by the Jewelers’ Resource Bureau and Manufacturing Jewelers & Suppliers of America, will take place March 3 at the Fashion Institute of Technology, 27th Street and Seventh Avenue in New York City. The event, which begins at 8:15 a.m. and lasts until 5 p.m., offers education and networking opportunities for jewelry designers.

A variety of panel discussions and workshops are scheduled. A panel of noted designers will describe how they achieved success in a session entitled “The Road Less Traveled: How’d They Get Here?” Another panel of top designers will discuss “The Designer Future: Selling Designer Jewelry in the 21st Century.”

Two workshop sessions will enable participants to explore various topics: “Creating a Cohesive Display Image,” “Creating a Cohesive Marketing Image,” “Entrepreneurial Thinking for Artists,” and “Making Deals and Making Money.”

A “Lunch with the Editors” will enable participants to dine with editors from several consumer and trade magazines. A “Resources Area” will include exhibits from suppliers and information sources.

For information, call Heather Clarke at MJSA, (800) 444-MJSA, or Cindy Edelstein of the Jewelers’ Resource Bureau, (914) 738-8485.

Basel Tips

Deciding to go at the last minute? For available hotel space, contact the Basel Hotel Reservation Bureau, telephone (41-61) 686-2184, e-mail:

Need directions or help? The Basel Fair has an information stand in the Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg Euroairport. ACL Consulting Inc., the fair’s U.S. representative, has a booth with knowledgeable English-speaking staff in the lobby of Building 1.

ACL will present two “How to Shop the Basel Show” seminars, on March 23 and 24, at 8:30 a.m. in the Mexico conference room in the Congress Center, opposite Building 1.

Shuttle buses operate between the airport and the fair daily from 7:15 a.m. to 7:15 p.m. at 30-minute intervals. The pick-up point is on the Swiss side of the airport, at the exit.