Time out in 2022 for Baselworld Watch Fair and MD Loris-Melikoff leaves

MCH Group has announced the cancellation of its flagship Baselworld luxury watch trade show for 2022. Managing director Michel Loris-Melikoff is also to leave the company. Loris-Melikoff has been MD since 2018 and leaves “to take on a new challenge,” he said. The event, which has not taken place since 2019, was due to be staged 31-March-4 April 2022.

The group said in a brief release it needed more time to re-launch the event, and that the decision was based on the experience gained from the recent Geneva Watch Days and the difficulties of creating a new concept during the pandemic. MCH said its decision took into account “the fact that it is particularly difficult to launch a new concept for a new target segment due to the renewed aggravation of the Covid situation and the associated uncertainty among customers.”

A new name, HourUniverse, had been scrapped a few months ago, as organisers went back to the original name ‘Baselworld’. Beat Zwahlen, CEO MCH Group said of the change back: “Over the past few months, we have studied in detail our watches, jewellery and gems ecosystem and gained important insights from discussions with major industry representatives.

"The conclusion is that the market exists for a B2B2C platform that brings together medium-sized and specialised manufacturers with independent retailers. But their needs must be analysed in more detail. This means we need to have significantly more time to get there.”

Big names like Rolex, Swatch Group AG and Hermes have pulled out of Baselworld in the past few years, while others have preferred to go the route of creating their own smaller events. 

MCH’s brief statement on the cancellation added: “In the coming months, therefore, an interdisciplinary team from the MCH Group will analyse the target segments and, in close exchange with manufacturers and retailers, make a deep dive into their marketing and transaction needs. In this context, particular attention will be paid to the latest trends in marketing and distribution with a view to the post-pandemic period, especially internationalisation and digitisation. The goal remains to create added value for the community’s business in its target markets with the internationally anchored Baselworld brand and innovative platforms.”