A visitor at the Baselworld fair. The trade show has come under scrutiny after the Swatch Group pulled out, saying trade fairs aren’t keeping up with digital trends. Image Credit: Bloomberg


The organiser of the Baselworld watch trade show said it will probably record a bigger than expected loss this year as the exit of the event’s largest exhibitor forces a strategy revamp.

The MCH Group will need to make adjustments for the value of exhibition halls in Basel, Switzerland, which will lead to an annual loss in the “three-digit millions,” the company said. Its shares have declined 42 per cent this year.

Baselworld has come under scrutiny after Swatch Group AG pulled out of the fair, saying trade fairs aren’t adapting themselves enough to an increasingly digital world. Hermes and Ulysse Nardin earlier ditched the show to join a Geneva watch salon, which takes place several months earlier and is more exclusive.

MCH said it’s studying how to streamline the organisation and improve capacity utilisation of the Basel infrastructure.

Baselworld plans to promote jewellery more heavily next year as it seeks to satisfy exhibitors, director Michel Loris-Melikoff said. Jewellery brands, which used to be in neighbouring building, will be moved into the main hall, one floor above watch brands like Patek Philippe and Rolex.

Baselworld will also organise fashion catwalk shows that showcase jewellery three times a day to draw more attention to the segment.

— Bloomberg