After Nick Hayek, CEO of Swatch Group, announced that the company would no longer be investing in the world’s biggest trade show, many didn’t know what to expect for the future of Baselworld. With many industry experts and senior decision makers considering the exhibition as outdated and unresponsive to the modern world, there were questions over the longevity of the luxury trade show. However, it has recently been announced that the luxury goods giant, LVMH Group will be present at next year’s festival, which will include brands such as TAG Heuer, Hublot and Zenith. "We already decided that we would attend (in 2019), I decided that before retiring", Jean-Claude Biver who hands over responsibility for LVMH's watch brands to Stephane Bianchi at the end of the month, said in an interview available on CNN's website on Tuesday. The fashion group is not alone in its decision with swiss watch brands Rolex and Patek Phillippe also returning in 2019.
LVMH are giving Baselworld another chance to prove they have not lost their impact on the industry, however agreed with Swatch Group that the fair has never adapted. "We want to take advantage of 2019 to see together with the organisers what Basel 2020 could be. What are our wishes, our constraints, if we can manage that together with the fair, there is no reason we wouldn't stay…If we cannot find solutions... probably we'll leave, " said Biver.
The rival Geneva watch fair, dominated by Richemont brands, has so far been benefiting from Baselworld's problems. Last week, however, Geneva also saw independent brands Audemars Piguet and Richard Mille announce their exit from the show from 2020.