This really isn’t unexpected news, but MCH Group, the company that puts on Baselworld each year, has announced that Baselworld 2021 will not take place. This decision comes a few weeks after every major watch brand cut ties with Baselworld for future shows, as well as a number of smaller brands. Among a number of other issues, a big portion of the frustration that so many exhibitors felt towards Baselworld/MCH Group had to do with the way the company was going about refunds after Baselworld 2020 was cancelled due to the Coronavirus.
Many of these companies, like Rolex or Patek Philippe, could have made the choice much sooner to leave Baselworld as there were issues that continued to come up each year and there were continuing signs of the fair’s increasingly fast march towards immateriality. This initial frustration with the poor handling of long-time supporters of Baselworld erupted into a mass exodus of really every watch brand Baselworld had left in its stable. Since then, the watch brands and MCH Group have been able to come to an agreement regarding the issue of refunds. Bernd Stadlwieser, CEO of MCH Group, has stated that he is glad that the two sides were able to come to an “amicable” conclusion. I’m guessing they’re just happy to have the matter resolved at this point. Similarly, Stadlwieser stated that he is looking forward to moving on since the agreement and is looking towards the future. For what it’s worth, Michel Loris-Melikoff, the managing director of Baselworld, has stated that they’re going to examine possibilities for future watch fairs that could serve as a follow up to Baselworld. I doubt any future “Baselworld-esque” watch fair is likely after the bad taste left in the mouths of many exhibitors who have dealt with increasingly frustrating issues with Baselworld each year, but there’s always a chance.