LVMH Brands Tag Heuer, Zenith, Bulgari and Hublot Also Quit Baselworld

Rolex, Patek Philippe, Chanel, Chopard and Tudor made a joint announcement last week on their departure from Baselworld, the world’s largest watch industry trade show. The French multinational corporation Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) which specialises in luxury goods, has also announced its decision to pull all of its watch brands out of Baselworld 2020, putting the watch show’s success in jeopardy. 

Numerous watch brands withdrawing from Baselworld threatens the watch show’s success

This is not the first time that a large group of participants has withdrawn from Baselworld. In 2018, Swatch Group announced that all of its brands would leave Baselworld, including Swatch, Bruget, Blancpain and Omega.

Last year, Breitling, as well as two major Japanese watch brands Seiko and Casio, also quit due to issues with the exhibition dates. Recently, Rolex and Patek Philippe, along with other giants in the watch industry, also decided to leave the show. After losing LVMH's labels Bvlgari, Hublot, TAG Heuer and Zenith, Baselworld is left with only a few exhibitors.

(Editor’s note: The luxury corporation Richemont holds the watch exhibition ‘Watches & Wonders’ with Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie [FHH] in Geneva. Watches & Wonders takes place concurrently with Baselworld. Therefore, Richemont’s brands A. Lange & Söhne, Panerai, IWC and Vacheron Constantin usually appear at the show in Geneva.)

LVMH held their Watch Week in Dubai in January 2020 

LVMH’s decision to bid farewell to Baselworld comes as less of a shock when compared to brands like Rolex and Patek Philippe. In fact, there were signs which suggest LVMH’s change of plans. In January this year, the corporation held its Watch Week in Dubai to facilitate the launch of new watches by its labels and the event was well-received.  

The coronavirus pandemic has put the watch exhibitions to a halt. However, it is said that LVMH’s brand Bvlgari has already received a large number of orders for their Serpenti Seduttori Tourbillon which launched at the show. The waiting time is expected to be at least two years. 

Bvlgari Serpenti Seduttori Tourbillon 

Bvlgari Serpenti Seduttori Tourbillon 

Chief executive officer of the LVMH watchmaking division, Stéphane Bianchi, comments on their decision to leave Baselworld. ‘We are sorry to have to leave this over 100-year-old Baselworld event to which our Maisons have been consistently loyal,’ says Bianchi. ‘We will do our utmost to be present alongside the other prestigious Maisons that will gather in Geneva in April 2021.’ 

Bvlgari’s CEO Jean-Christoph Babin states in a press release that ‘grouping the entire Swiss watch industry in a single location, Geneva — the historical capital of watchmaking — and around a single date, is a major opportunity to at last revive a sector that all too many divisions and divergent interests have weakened, compared to the rest of the luxury sector in which Bulgari is active and that is making much faster progress.’ 

Bvlgari’s CEO Jean-Christoph Babin

The five watch industry giants, including Rolex, will cooperate with FHH in holding a new watch show in Geneva next April, in parallel with Watches & Wonders. It is also believed that the watch labels have come to an agreement on putting their new watch launches on hold until next April.