The MCH Group, organizers of Baselworld, have announced that next year’s exhibition, scheduled to held from January 28 to February 2, 2021, has now been cancelled. In what could be the least surprising news of the year so far, the cancellation comes after major exhibitors like Rolex, Patek Philippe, Tudor, and Chopard pulled out of the event citing irrevocable differences, a move that was followed by an announcement from the LVMH Group that they were exiting the fair too.

Troubles intensified after Rolex and Patek made their exit

"Together with the exhibitors and visitors, we are working intensively on clarifying and discussing the requirements and options for new platforms," said Michel Loris-Melikoff, Managing Director of Baselworld in a statement. "We will be taking a decision on possible follow-up formats by the summer and will then provide information on the new concept and scheduling."

The release also confirmed that the MCH Group and exhibitors have reached an agreement on the settlement for the cancelled exhibition in 2020. In collaboration with the Swiss Exhibitors’ Committee, an amicable solution has been drawn up, approved by the Comité Consultatif and also supported by industry associations.

Soon after the LVMH Group decided to call it quits too

"I welcome the constructive attitude of the representatives of the MCH Group, which has enabled us to find a balanced solution", says Hubert J. du Plessix, President of the Swiss Exhibitors’ Committee. "I would also like to thank Patek Philippe, Rolex, Tudor, Chanel, Chopard, Hublot, Zenith and Tag Heuer, who, in a spirit of solidarity with the sector as a whole, have agreed to a lower refund so that the other exhibitors can benefit from better conditions."

“In the light of the large loss of revenue due to COVID-19 and our responsibility to all our stakeholder groups, this solution marks the limit of what is possible for us. With the amicable settlement for Baselworld 2020, we can now concentrate fully on the future,” said Bernd Stadlwieser, CEO of the MCH Group.

The show dates back to 1917 with the opening of the first Schweizer Mustermesse Basel with a section devoted to watches.

The departing brands announced that they would participate in a newly formed event, in cooperation with the Foundation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH), in April 2021. The as-yet-unnamed new exhibition will, according to the statement, be “linked” to Watches & Wonders 2021 — the watch salon formerly known as SIHH, organized by the FHH and long considered a competitor to the older, more established Baselworld show — and will take place in the same venue, Geneva’s Palexpo exhibition hall.