As Baselworld enters its second century, one might expect it to carry an atmosphere of celebration and optimism. Instead, however, a dramatically reduced show size, perceived slower foot traffic, and shorter duration brought a buzz of uncertainty to this year’s edition.
Currency woes, increasing demand for smartwatches, and slower watch sales in China were some of the issues facing exhibitors and buyers alike at the 44th edition of Baselworld.
The eight-day fair opened under a haze of cautious optimism for a turnaround in consumer purchasing habits in the short term and greater demand for watches in traditionally strong markets.
Hakim El Kadiri walks the Rado booth at Baselworld with the air of a proud papa. With a couple dozen watches peeking out from various wall and standalone cases, he knows them all, inside and out. And so he should.