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Swatch Pulls Out of Baselworld

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CEO says watch fairs should ‘reinvent themselves.’

Swatch Group is ceasing its participation in the Baselworld show as of 2019, Forbes reports.

That’s bad news for the show in Switzerland given that Swatch owns 18 brands, from Breguet to Harry Winston to Mido, and has had what Forbes calls a “mammoth” footprint at the show. Watch industry website Hodinkee describes Swatch as “the show’s largest exhibitor.”

Forbes notes that Baselworld has already seen hundreds of exhibitors leave, and that the show was two days shorter 2018 than it was in previous years.

Barbara Palumbo wrote for INSTORE that the 2018 edition “was a little bit shorter and a little bit emptier,” but she noted that it was “no less spectacular (in the traditional sense) than it has always been.”

Forbes quoted Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek saying that annual watch fairs need to “reinvent themselves.”

“The MCH Group, which organizes Baselworld, is clearly more concerned with optimizing and amortizing its new building – which, incidentally, is largely financed by the watch industry during the fairs – than it is in having the courage to make real progress and to bring about true and profound changes,” he said, according to the publication.

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