Baselworld 2016, the bellwether event of the global watch and jewellery industry, got off to a grand start with the inaugural press conference, which drew in representatives from a majority of the world’s leading print, TV and digital media.
René Kamm, CEO of the MCH Group, which is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its first show, opened the event and explained how the show had evolved from being a small exhibition within the Muba to its present status as “the premier platform for the global watch and jewellery industry.”
Ms Sylvie Ritter, Managing Director of Baselworld, highlighted the main factors that made this show unique. “Baselworld is the nerve centre for the watch and jewellery industry where the pulse of the business is taken; unique because the most prestigious brands, most influential retailers and most prominent journalists gather under one roof; and unique because year after year this is the birthplace of trends that will prevail for the following 12 months.”
Touching on the reality of today’s gloomy economic and political situation, and the consequences for the industry and Baselworld, Ritter acknowledged that Baselworld had felt the uncertainty of some exhibitors among the smaller businesses, those that might not be in a position to prevail in times of low demand in the mid-term. Despite these uncertainties she proudly announced that almost all of those who had exhibited here last year, are also present at this new edition.
Mr François Thiébaud, President of the Swiss Exhibitors’ Committee, stated that Swiss watch exports had weakened only very slightly in 2015 (minus 3.3%), despite the global political and economic context. Given that for the global watchmaking industry, the value of Swiss watches exported is by far the highest in the world, he underlined the fact that Swiss watchmaking has grown by more than 60% since 2010!