The crazyness of Baselworld is over. To fully grasp the importance of this event, here is a few numbers. Baselworld is the largest watch & jewelry show in the world with 144,000 sq. feet of halls and booths. 1500 exhibitors of which 300 Swiss watch brands. 150,000 visitors over the 7 days, 4,400 journalists from all over the world. According to industry rumours, most watch brands secure 50 to 70% of their yearly sales during the event !
How did the AHCI fare this year ? Is this show really as essential for independent brands as it for the big names ?
Here is the feedback from some members participating on the booth at Baselworld this year.
By Benjamin Teisseire, journalist specialised in watchmaking, for the AHCI.
Frank Jutzi, member since 2000, is known for his poetic clocks following the greatest watchmaking traditions.
For him Baselworld fair was not successful this year. However, it was interesting because he got to show interesting people what he created last year. Every year he tries to make and show a new clock.
Previously, he sold most of his clocks in Basel. But recently, there has been private shows with more success.
The AHCI contributes to his sales, because the fame of its watchmakers draws a lot of people to the stand.
The year ahead is uncertain. He is glad to have another pillar to his activity with the restoration of antique clocks. Today, it makes the core of his business.
Robert Bray, member since 2007.
He comes from aeronautics engineering and blends the accuracy of this industry with his passion for traditional clockmaking.
For him, Basel is very important and it has accounted for a years work in the past. In recent years the share has decreased to 50% of his turnover. Until 2 years ago it was the only exhibition he attended.
This year was not quite as good but still decent. Although, as he notes « we will not know for sure until deposits for orders are received ».
The AHCI is important to him, as the booth and members generate a lot of interest both in terms of media and potential customers. The members are « fun to exhibit with and it makes the last few days go more quickly than it would without them ».
His biggest worry nowadays is that the big watch brands might try their hands at making clocks. On the up side though, there may be more watch collectors deciding to start a clock collection which would be good for him.
Vincent Calabrese, founding member, self-taught watchmaker, philosopher, known for being a straight-shooter.
He does not beat around the bush : « Baselworld : you just have to grin and bear it ! It is expensive and not always successful, but you cannot do without it ».
Vincent Calabrese doubts very much that brands do around 50 to 75% of their business here : « It used to be like that when it was MUBA, and the cost was just a portion of it. No one does that anymore. A lot of business is done before and after ».
This year has been a disappointment for many brands, but seemed ok for him personally, as well as some other participants… even though only the following weeks and months will truly tell.
Andersen Genève by Pierre-Alexandre Aeschlimann, deputy director for the brand..
For him, Baselworld is the place to meet up with watch collectors, journalists, bloggers and suppliers. It is mostly a “networking platform”. Some watches are sold, but very far from 50-70% of the turnover!
It was successful as the new contacts made will bring Andersen Genève back to the USA this coming June.
The AHCI plays a big role, as it is a beautiful cocktail of different watchmakers with very different watches and complications. The AHCI Booth is visited by so many persons that it makes it a “stop over” for every watch lover visiting the fair.
For Andersen, 2016 started very well and Pierre-Alexandre notes that independent watchmakers are more and more asked for by watch collectors in search of something more exclusive than the High End watch brands.