Bulgari pulls out of Basel watch industry show

Translated by
Nicola Mira
today Feb 13, 2020
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On Tuesday, Italian jeweller Bulgari announced it was pulling out of this year’s Baselworld watch industry show, another setback for the Basel event’s organisers.


Bulgari, one of the leading labels owned by French group LVMH, the world’s number one luxury goods group, stated in a press release that the decision was due chiefly to concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.

Bulgari will not take part in the 2020 edition of Baselworld, scheduled in the Swiss city of Basel from April 30 to May 5, but kept its options open for 2021: “A decision about 2021 and beyond will be taken by the end of June,” said Bulgari’s CEO Jean-Christophe Babin, cited in the press release.

The final decision will take into account the dates of future watch industry shows as well as their participation costs, which for the time being are not “in line” with commercial needs and with return on investment expectations, added Babin.

This year, Bulgari has already had the opportunity of meeting some of its top clients at a new event in Dubai dedicated to the LVMH group's watch brands, where it showcased its new models for the coming months, said Bulgari. 

Decision due to coronavirus

Babin also said the decision reflects the growing concern about the new coronavirus outbreak and its potential repercussions on international travel. He mentioned the SARS outbreak in 2003, which had an impact on trade show attendance by Asian clients, who notably have a strong appetite for luxury watches. 

“We are deeply disappointed by Bulgari's decision,” stated Michel Loris-Melikoff, general manager of Baselworld, in a press release, adding that he nevertheless intends to “work closely” with TAG Heuer, Hublot and Zenith, the LVMH group’s other watch brands, which have all confirmed their presence at the show.

Baselworld has long been regarded as an unmissable event, but it has recently lost lustre following widespread criticism. While several smaller brands complained about the cost, and the fact they felt lost within the mass of exhibitors, some of the leading watch-makers also criticised the show for its failure to evolve, especially faced with the rapid expansion of online luxury goods distribution.

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