Who says superpowers can’t get along? Switzerland’s two largest watch shows, SIHH (Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie) and Baselworld, have announced that they will show back-to-back in April of 2020.
Both shows are the stage for the world’s top watch brands to show their new releases each year. The agreement between the two industry titans effectively creates a continuous watch fair, albeit in two Swiss cities: SIHH will show first from April 26th through the 29th in Geneva with Baselworld following from April 30th to May 5th in Basel.
The news comes after several major watch brands pulled out of both events. Richard Mille and Audemars Piguet pulled out of SIHH and the entire Swatch Group—the world’s largest watch conglomerate—pulled out of Baselworld, to name just a few. Some cited problems with the format of the shows, while others stated that traditional trade shows simply don’t work for them anymore as they increasingly aim to interact directly with their clients through their own brick-and-mortar and e-commerce retail, as well as consumer-facing events.
While combining the two watch shows into one long run doesn’t necessarily create a reason for these brands to come back to SIHH or Baselworld, it does solve a few problems for press and retailers—time and money. It also allows for retailers to attend both shows when they may have previously opted to only attend the one that’s best suited their clientele.
Both Baselworld and SIHH sell tickets to the public, so the new schedule will make it easier for watch enthusiasts to attend both shows. Visitors are able to tour the brands’ booths in hopes of catching a glimpse of the year’s top watch releases. However, many are still kept behind closed doors so that retailers and press can see the watches up-close in private meetings, which is one reason why brands like Richard Mille say they no longer need the show as they focus on their own mono-brand retail and custom events for both press and clients.
Still, the shows’ organizers remain optimistic about the partnership. “Baselworld and the SIHH are working for the industry and its clients. We have sought dialogue with the SIHH and together have found a solution, which benefits visitors, the media, and the entire watchmaking industry enormously,” said Michel Loris-Melikoff, managing director of Baselworld, in a press statement. “This partnership between the two most prominent exhibitions in the industry represents a major breakthrough for the future.”