Rolex, Patek Philippe And Other Brands Leave Baselworld

Chanel, Chopard and Tudor make up the rest of the Basel-xit crowd.

An all-new watch trade show will be held in Geneva in early-April 2021, comprising Rolex, Patek Philippe, Chanel, Chopard and Tudor, which have all decided to withdraw from the Baselworld watch fair.

Organised in collaboration with the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, the as yet-unnamed watch fair will be “linked” to Watches & Wonders, the annual Geneva watch fair previously known as SIHH (Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie).

“We have taken part in Baselworld since 1939. Unfortunately, given the way the event has evolved and the recent decisions made by MCH Group, and in spite of the great attachment we had to this watch show, we have decided to withdraw. It seemed only natural to create a new event with partners that share our vision,” said Jean-Frédéric Dufour, CEO of Rolex, and board member of Tudor.

“The decision to leave Baselworld was not an easy one to take for me, being the fourth generation of the Stern family to participate to this traditional yearly event.
But life evolves constantly, things change and people change as well. Today Patek Philippe is not in line with Baselworld’s vision anymore, there have been too many discussions and unsolved problems, trust is no longer present,” said Thierry Stern, president of Patek Philippe.

The departure of the aforementioned five brands marks an even more devastating turn of events for the beleaguered Baselworld watch fair, which recently announced its postponement to 2021 in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. Once the world’s largest and most important trade show, Baselworld’s reputation has been battered in recent years amid accusations of inflexibility and lofty attitudes, leading to numerous brand withdrawals and declining attendance in the past three years. How this will impact the existence of Baselworld, as well as the state of its current line-up of exhibitors, which are reliant on the pull of brands like Rolex and Patek Philippe, remains to be seen. But the outlook looks bleak.

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Ex Editor-In Chief

Alvin promises not to be a douche when talking about watches. He may have scoured the Basel and Geneva watch fairs for the past 15 years, and played an instrumental role to the growth of Singapore's pioneering horological and men's lifestyle publications, but the intrepid scribe seeks to learn something new with each story he writes.


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