Saturday, April 18, 2020

Left Behind...

What we know:

Rolex, Patek Philippe, Tudor, Chopard, Chanel, Bulgari, TAG Heuer and Zenith have officially left the building (or more specifically, Hall 1).

What we can be pretty sure of:

Seiko, Casio, Citizen (which actually includes more than a few other brands including Frederique Constant and Alpina among others), Bell & Ross, Carl F. Bucherer are probably going to sling their hooks and "Take their talents south, to Lake Geneva". And with those brands, any hope of having a fair in Basel will go with them.


There's in fact, more than just one more twist in the tail to this shit-show. Because it bears mentioning that saying you want to leave BaselWorld does not, de facto, mean you will be welcomed with open arms to the Geneva Fair to be Named Later. Because the operating name says it all - FHH. Now it is important to note the language used by the initial breakaway group in their "See ya, wouldn't wanna' be ya" letter:
The new show, which will be linked to Watches & Wonders, organized by the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, is to take place at Palexpo. The aim is to offer partner brands the best possible professional platform, applying a shared vision to successfully meet future challenges in the watchmaking industry. It will also give crucial prominence to the sector’s expertise and innovations, both in Switzerland and internationally.

Other brands may also be added, according to terms that have not yet been defined. This new event will be geared predominantly towards retailers, the press and VIP customers.

And that is the kicker here.  Because when we talk about the five brands that initially split off, they clearly fit into a certain demographic in terms of "acceptable suitors" to join the Richemont circus.  And then, this is where it gets really interesting and there will be a chasm that opens between "luxe" brands and the rest.  And again, reading simply what is there and not even between the lines -
This new event will be geared predominantly towards retailers, the press and VIP customers.
So that means that a lot of press, a lot of potential retailers and pretty much all of the "great unwashed" (i.e. watch enthusiasts), are not really of interest.  

So we shall wait, and we shall see.

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