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.
The Swiss watch industry recorded its steepest drop in June, the biggest it’s had since the beginning of the year. According to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH), exports totalled 1.6 billion CHF ($2.2 billion Cdn.), 16.1 per cent less than in June 2015.
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.
The watch industry is breathing a temporary sigh of relief following a ruling by the Swiss Competition Commission (Comco) that Swatch Group cannot cut its supplies of movements as much as previously thought.