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So five of the world’s most luxurious watch brands have pulled out from Baselworld 2021, now what?

By PAOLO MARTEL

Rolex, one of the major brands that pulled out of Baselworld

Rolex, one of the major brands that pulled out from Baselworld

Change is always good as it brings a fresh and new chapter to watch collecting.

There’s no doubt that the shock announcement of five major watch brands withdrawing from Baselworld 2021 will have huge implications on the watch industry, more so in relation to Baselword specifically. 

With those brands pulling out—namely Rolex, Patek Philippe, Chanel, Chopard, and Rolex’s sister brand Tudor—it could mean the end of the world’s foremost trade show for watches and jewelry. Rolex, for example, has participated in the show since 1939.

Instead, the five brands will be joining Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH), organizers of Switzerland’s other main watch fair, Watches & Wonders (formerly the SIHH) in Geneva, to create a new trade show scheduled for early April 2021.

FFH head quarters

FFH in Geneva, Switzerland

As for the reasons brands are suddenly leaving Baselworld, that is a separate discussion. But what are the implications of this move for collectors of both modern and vintage watches?

For one, I think this move is beneficial for the vintage watch market. While Baselworld is a very important fair for new and modern watches, vintage collectors aren’t really affected as much. There’s more significance for contemporary watch collectors with brands postponing the release of new and updated models. This development could give the vintage watch market more attention and a significant boost. Without any new releases to look forward to until mid-next year, a modern collector might turn an eye toward the vintage market instead.

While the release of new watches may be on pause for the time being, I believe this move will definitely have a much more positive effect long term. Now that these big brands are collaborating with FHH for a show in Geneva that coincides with Watches & Wonders, it makes it much easier and more convenient for collectors and watch enthusiasts to attend since everything is brought together in one city at the same time. There’s no longer a need to make two separate trips to Switzerland for one trade fair in Basel and another in Geneva. With everything now in one location, that gives dedicated collectors, journalists, and retailers more of a reason to make the trip.

Another positive effect of this move, though certainly frustrating at the same time, is that watch enthusiasts will have to wait a bit longer before getting wind of any new models when they’re announced in April next year. But this only serves to build up more anticipation and excitement for the community.

I have spoken to many collectors and industry experts from around the world and most seem to view this as something positive. Change is always good as it brings a fresh and new chapter to watch collecting.

Paolo Martel is a man of his time. As a collector and watch enthusiast, he operates a luxury watch store called Vintage Grail at the basement of the Peninsula Manila.

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://lifestyle.mb.com.ph/2020/04/21/so-five-of-the-worlds-most-luxurious-watch-brands-have-pulled-out-from-baselworld-2021-now-what/)

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