Monday, March 26, 2018

Throttling the Golden Goose

Have no fear, there will be actual coverage of actual watches shortly.  But when I was wandering around BaselWorld on Press Day (Wednesday) and day 1 (Thursday), it became clear to me that the fair had gotten to a point that I do not honestly believe the organizers really, truly saw coming.  

Despite what organizers and "Cheerful Chips" might be telling you, the attendance was down.  Really down.  It is clear that many journalists, brands, distributors and retailers just could not justify the trip this year.  The fair organizers just can't keep sweeping the realities under the mat.

The word around the campfire is that Breitling is not going to be at BaselWorld next year.  And according to the ministry of salacious rumors, Rolex (and therefore also Tudor) are starting to make noise that they might be willing to take their act on down the road.  Now whether that will really come to fruition is (at least to many of us) highly unlikely.  But what it does underscore is that the drumbeats have been growing for the past 3 years, and the fair's organizers still don't seem to be able to grasp the reality that maybe, just maybe, they have been charging too much money for brands to display in the "fair proper".

Now it is also interesting to relate that being in one of the official halls is not really a prerequisite for being considered to be "at Basel".  More and more brands are going off-site.  Some mere meters away.  In doing this they still have access to the people attending the fair without feeling violated (financially) by the fair organizers.

We all are hoping for things to improve.  BaselWorld is a wonderful fair and it is a true benefit to pretty much everyone with the exception of the SIHH.  But having said that, I sincerely hope that the fair organizers will stop viewing the fair as "Greedy Bastard Week", and start viewing it as an opportunity to make a reasonable amount of money in a reasonable way.  They have a golden goose that lays a reasonable amount of golden eggs.  Or they could simply continue to throttle that goose and have none.

Let's hope wiser heads prevail.

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