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Baselworld and SIHH synchronize their calendars

By Marjorie van Elven

Dec. 19, 2018

Baselworld and SIHH, two major trade fairs in the watch industry, are joining forces -- something that would be unthinkable years ago. The two events announced they will synchronize their calendars from 2020: SIHH will be held from April 26-29 in Geneva, followed immediately by Baselworld from April 30 to May 5 in Basel. This scheme will be maintained at least until 2024.

“Our two events have always been different, yet complementary. Resynching with with Baselworld will further confirm Switzerland as the foremost destination for watchmaking in the world. This is something we welcome wholeheartedly, as it is in the interests of all”, said Fabienne Lupo, President and Managing Director of Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, the foundation that organizes SIHH, in a statement.

Both fairs have been seeing their attendance decline in recent years, with major brands such as Richard Mille and Audemars Piguet pulling out. Baselworld, for example, took a serious blow in July with the departure of Swatch Group, a company which represents no less than 18 prominent brands, including Omega, Tissot and Longines. At the time, Swatch Group said in a statement that annual watch fairs, as they exist today, no longer make sense. But they weren’t the only ones to jump ship: Baselworld 2018 had 50 percent less exhibitors and 500 less visitors than the previous year.

Following Swatch Group’s departure, Baselworld announced a new concept, communication strategy and special deals with food and accommodation providers. Making it possible for watchmakers to kill two birds with one stone, combining two major trade fairs in just one trip to Switzerland, is therefore its latest attempt to stay relevant. “For visitors attending both events, and in particular those from other continents, these agreed dates will make their trip far easier”, the partners said in a statement.