Goodbye, Baselworld: Inside Rolex, Patek Philippe, Chanel, Chopard, and Tudor’s withdrawals
Rolex, Patek Philippe, Chanel, Chopard, and Tudor have announced that they'll be withdrawing from Baselworld, the largest watch exhibition in the world, to create a new watch fair. While yet to be named, the show will take place at Palexpo in Geneva in April 2021, at the same time as Watches & Wonders, previously known as SIHH. This will, undoubtedly, cause a huge blow to the event, as Rolex and Patek Philippe are considered two of its biggest exhibitors.
Baselworld has come under fire recently for its decision to reschedule the event to 2021 without consulting the brands, as well as its inability to meet their needs and expectations. On top of that, it's been reported that many exhibitors were unhappy with the watch fair's refund policy, which can be read here.
Below, the official statement from each of the watch brand's representative:
Jean-Frédéric Dufour, The CEO of Rolex and board member of Tudor, said: "We have taken part in Baselworld since 1939. Unfortunately, given the way the event has evolved and the recent decisions made by the MCH Group, and in spite of the great attachment we had to this watch 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 said: "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 of our retailers, the clients and 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 professional manner possible. That is why, following several discussions with Rolex and in agreement with other participating brands, wehave decided to create, all together, a unique event in Geneva, representative of our savoir-faire."
Frédéric Grangié, President of Chanel Watches & Fine Jewellery said: "Like its partners, CHANEL shares the same independence and the same desire to protect and promote the values, know-how, utmost quality and precision of Swiss Watchmaking. This initiative marks a key milestone in the history of Chanel Watchmaking and is part of a long-term strategy, which began with the launch of this activity in 1987. This exhibition will allow us to present all of our new creations in an environment that meets our high-quality standards."
Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, Co-President of Chopard said: "Chopard first exhibited at the Basel fair in 1964 with a stand of some 25 square metres. After careful consideration, our family decided to support the Rolex initiative and retire from Baselworld—a painful decision. The creation of this 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."