The last month or so has not been kind to traditional mainstay events in varied categories. Coronavirus concerns have meant the cancellation of Mobile World Congress Barcelona, SIHH aka Watches & Wonders, the Geneva Motor Show and Baseworld. And now, we have a few luxury watch brands coming together to kind of take things in a different direction.
Several major swiss luxury watch brands, including Bvlgari, Breitling, Ulysse Nardin, Girard Perregaux and MB&F have united to create the Independent Geneva Watch Days 2020 late April with the full support of the state of Geneva.
A decentralized and self-managed Multibrand Watch Event will take place in several Geneva high-end hotels from April 26 to April 29, at the dates initially planned by Watches & Wonders.
The initiative has been unveiled Monday evening by Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of Bvlgari, during the RTS (Swiss National Television) TTC broadcast. “Despite the cancellation of the two major Watch Fairs, it will allow retailers and media, primarily from Europe but not only, to discover, comment and order the novelties of the founding brands, namely Breitling, Bvlgari, Gerald Genta, Girard-Perregaux, MB&F, Ulysse Nardin, De Bethune and Urwerk.”
In theory, the initiative will allow retailers and media to meet with these Swiss watch brands in the capital of Swiss Watchmaking rather than attending many roadshows in different European cities currently under organization after the Watches & Wonders and Baselworld cancellations, thus saving a lot of time. Interestingly more brands are set to join, including Chopard and H. Moser & Cie.
The organisers are keen to point out that Geneva Watch Days event does not intend to substitute in the long term the historical Geneva Watches & Wonders and Baselworld Fairs but “presents an efficient alternative at smaller scale, given the 2020 changing environment”.
That said, if successful, it could well challenge the validity of an event like Watches and Wonders, given how over the years varied leading brands have either pulled out or displayed decreasing enthusiasm in both fairs.
So could this be the shake-up that the organisers of Watches & Wonders and Baselworld urgently need to address? We’ll have to wait and watch!