After the Swatch Group, which announced its farewell to Baselworld Fair in recent months with in a shocking move, SIHH also lost to two of its important participants. Richard Mille and Audemars Piguet announced that they will not attend SIHH Fair after 2019.
The changing dynamics of the watchmaking industry, the increasing cost of exhibitions, and the fact that the exhibition concept we are accustomed to in general are unable to respond to the watchmakers' current expectations, lead to other producers in the sector review their approach for participating those exhibitions. The second shock wave following the surprising announcement by Swatch Group, one of the world's giant watchmakers, hit the SIHH Fair, the industry's biggest event after Baselworld.
Richard Mille and Audemars Piguet, who announced that they will no longer be present at the SIHH Fair with their press releases yesterday, made declarations that prove the domino effect started by the Swatch Group. Nowadays, companies that focus on strategies and structures aiming to reach the end user through brand boutiques have realized that the traditional fair concept no longer serves these purposes. When the astronomical budgets for fair organizations are added to the table, it is inevitable to put an end to participation.
In our Baselworld 2018 assessment, which we made with our editor-in-chief Serdar OAL, we mentioned that the concept of the exhibition began to deteriorate in the traditional sense. It is hard to predict how long this domino effect will continue, or which names will be affected, but we have no doubt that there will be more to leave.