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More high-profile brands desert the Baselworld fair

The 2020 edition of the fair was cancelled due to Covid-19. (Keystone / Georgios Kefalas)

Rolex, Patek Philippe and Chanel will not exhibit at the Baselworld watch and jewellery trade show in 2021. The announcement marks another blow to the event, which has already seen high-profile exits, including by the Swatch Group.

The luxury timepiece companies, along with Chopard and Tudor said on Tuesday they would launch a new trade show in Geneva with the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie industry group, in April 2021.

Rolex said it was unhappy with changes at Baselworld and recent decisions made by organiser MCH Group, which postponed the 2020 edition of Baselworld planned for April 30 – May 5 due to the coronavirus epidemic.

MCH carried forward 85% of the fees for exhibitors to next year, while keeping 15% to offset out-of-pocket costs, among options it offered exhibitors as it sought to manage the financial impact.

“We have taken part in Baselworld since 1939,” Rolex said in a joint statement with the other watch makers. “Unfortunately, given the way the event has evolved and the recent decisions made by MCH Group…we have decided to withdraw.”

Geneva-based Patek Philippe cited a breakdown in relations with Baselworld organisers, saying the company “is not in line with Baselworld’s vision anymore” and that “trust is no longer present”.

MCH Group, which last month predicted sales losses of up to 170 million francs ($177 million) for 2020 as the epidemic wreaks havoc on events, declined to comment.

Swatch Group, the maker of Omega watches, left Baselworld in 2019, citing issues including costs.

Full story here
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