Rolex, Patek Philippe, Tudor & Chopard Exit Baselworld – April 2020 News
So far, we think it would be safe to say, 2020 has presented a rollercoaster that no on could ever have predicted with the end destination still a little unclear.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 globally, the impact this pandemic has brought will be one that will certainly change the way we live, work and consume beautiful luxury products forever.
In the luxury watch industry, probably the biggest story to send shock waves rippling through the watch industry, is the departure of Rolex, Patek Philippe, Chopard and Tudor from the prestigious annual Baselworld watch fair.
In line with the departure, the brands are joining forces to create a new watch trade show of their own in Geneva, in collaboration with Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH). The new trade show (yet to be named), will conveniently take place at the same time as Watches & Wonders (formerly SIHH) at the Palexpo, Geneva in April 2021. Though participation is confirmed only by these five brands, others may follow suit at a later date.
Head executives at each of the brands have released the following statements.
Jean-Frédéric Dufour, CEO of Rolex SA and Board Member of Montres Tudor SA: “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 watch this show, we have decided to withdraw. Following discussions initiated by Rolex, it seemed only natural to create a new event with partners that share our vision and our endless, unwavering support for the Swiss watchmaking sector. This will allow us to present our new watches in line with our needs and expectations, to join forces and better defend the interests of the industry.”
Thierry Stern, President of Patek Philippe: “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, whether it is at the level of those responsible for the watch fair organization, the brands or the clients. We constantly have to adapt ourselves, question what we do, since what was right yesterday may not necessarily be valid today! 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. We need to answer the legitimate needs our retailers, the clients sand the press from around the world. They have to be able to discover the new models from Swiss watchmakers each year, at one time, in one place, and this in the most unprofessional manner possible. That is why, following several discussions with Rolex and in agreement with other participating brands, we have decided to create, all together, a unique event in Geneva, representative of our savoir-faire.”
Karl-Friedrich Schaufele, Co-President of Chopard et Cie SA:
“Chopard first exhibited at the Basel fair in 1964 with a stand of some 25 square meters. After careful condideration, our family decided to support the Rolex initiative and retire from Baselworld—a painful decision. The creation of the new watch show in Geneva, in parallel to Watches & Wonders, will allow us to better serve our watchmaking partners and our customers. Through the alliance, these grandes maisons will also be able to collaborate in promoting the values and best interests of Swiss watchmaking.”
Jérôme Lambert, on behalf of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie Council: “The Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie is delighted to welcome a new salon, which will strengthen the historical Watches & Wonders event in Geneva next year in April.”
In a joint statement to the press, the watch manufacturers said, “This departure follows a number of unilateral decisions made without consultation by Baselworld management, including the postponement of the watch show until January 2021, as well as its inability to meet the brands’ needs and expectations.”
We look forward to hearing more about this new venture as it unfolds. On a positive note, one less trip over to Geneva for us as a long time retailer will not be a bad thing.