Breitling to Quit Baselworld Watch Fair to Focus on Own Summit

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Premier luxury wristwatches, produced by Breitling AG, stand on display during day two of the 2019 Baselworld luxury watch and jewellery fair in Basel, Switzerland, on Thursday, March 21, 2019. The organizers of Baselworld and the Geneva salon have decided to coordinate the schedules of next year’s shows, previously held several months apart, to accommodate visitors who otherwise would have to have to fly to Switzerland twice Photographer: Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) — Swiss watchmaker Breitling AG will skip the Baselworld watch and jewelry fair next year to focus on its own marketing “summit,” in a further blow to conference organizer MCH Group AG.

“The decisive factor is the timing of Baselworld at the end of April, which cannot be reconciled with our scheduling,” Breitling Chief Executive Officer Georges Kern said in a statement on Sunday. He said his company will decide later whether to resume exhibiting at Baselworld in 2021.

Kern has previously questioned whether it’s worth the money to attend Baselworld, the world’s largest watchmaking trade show, saying last month that the Geneva watch salon and Baselworld should be be merged into one and be held earlier in the year.

Baselworld, run by MCH Group, which operates convention centers in Zurich and Basel, is feeling the heat. The number of exhibitors is declining as watchmakers reconsider whether it’s worth attending and debate the need to use such events to sell their product. MCH Group’s shares have fallen 15 percent this year, after slumping 70 percent in 2018.

Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek said last month he has no plans to return to the Baselworld watch fair in coming years.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Winters in Zurich at [email protected] To contact the editors responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at [email protected] Todd White, Paul Jarvis

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