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Baselworld is the annual highlight for many watch makers, industry leaders and luxury watch enthusiasts. Between April 30 – May 5, 2020, the Swiss metropolis of Basel intended to transform itself once again into the Mecca of haute horlogerie, but now it has been announced that the world's largest watch trade fair will not take place this year due to recent developments concerning the coronavirus.



Baselworld 2020 news at a glance






Which novelties were expected?


The show, which has been known as “Baselworld” since 2003, would have opened its doors for the 103rd time this year and presented the latest innovations for 2020 from the watch industry. However, as several watch manufacturers have already canceled due to the spreading virus, Baselworld itself has now stepped back and announced that the event will be postponed. The trade show is first scheduled to run again from January 28 to February 2, 2021.

This year's developments would have affected not only the world of haute horlogerie, but also the show itself. Over the course of six days, a total of around 80,000 visitors were expected, including 3,500 journalists. As the show will be canceled this year, Baselworld’s new concept, which was developed using the feedback and suggestions from past visitors and was to consider conceptualizing the future of the world-famous jewelry and watch fair in a new, modern style. This will now be unveiled at the beginning of 2021. Visitors and exhibitors will be able to approach each other on the same level and experience the latest exhibits together. Michel Loris-Melikoff, Managing Director of Baselworld, made it clear in a press statement that the time until January 2021 will be used to continue working on and improving the new concept of the show. However, the changes to Baselworld's program are by no means limited to the organization and the event. .


Tudor 2021 with its own booth

Apart from the organizational aspects of the trade show, Tudor surprised with one of the biggest changes. The Rolex subsidiary has fought its way out of the shadow of its big brother and – while it won’t be able to appear this year – it will certainly be represented at next year’s Baselworld with its own stand for the first time. It will certainly be interesting to see how Tudor presents itself at the 2021 show.


Coordination between Baselworld and Watches & Wonders

Another new development is the first-ever coordination of the dates from Baselworld and the Geneva watch salon "Watches & Wonders", previously known as SIHH. Both fairs are highly regarded and have caused visitors to choose between the two events in the past due to unfavorable scheduling of the two events.

This year, Watches & Wonders coordinated with Baselworld to hold their event from April 25 – 29, 2020. That meant that the inclined watch enthusiast would have had the opportunity to visit Watches & Wonders in Geneva before attending Baselworld afterwards. Due to the coronavirus, however, both fairs have been canceled this year. However, it can be assumed that they will continue to coordinate their activities in the future.



What is expected from Rolex?


No sooner had Baselworld 2019 ended before the first rumors about the next Baselworld began to emerge. The displeasure about the discontinuation of the black (Ref. 116710LN) began to clear and speculations regarding new editions of various Rolex models started.

Among some very adventurous predictions, such as a Day-Date made of steel or a Submariner "Hulk" made of solid gold, a few rumors still linger in the watch forums. One of these rumors is about another version of the GMT-Master II 16710 “Coke”. This would be a little more realistic than some of the other speculation, since a new “Pepsi” under the ref. 126710BLRO was introduced at Baselworld 2018 and a new “Batman” in 2019.

Another prediction is a steel Submariner “Smurf”. This would make a great counterpart to Rolex' green “Hulk” without having to experiment too much with color combinations. On the contrary: one would remain within Rolex' clearly-defined lines and yet bring a breath of fresh air into their range.

It has also been speculated that the Rolex Air-King might be discontinued. One of the most unpopular Rolex series, the Air-King has recently been fighting for its place in their collection. The withdrawal of Rolex from their sponsorship to the unsuccessful “Bloodhound SSC” land speed record attempt, which adorned the dials of the Air-King, didn't help the reputation of the series.

It is unclear whether any one of these rumors will come true. It seems just as likely that Rolex will launch a new product this year independently of Baselworld 2020 as it will wait until Baselworld 2021 to do so.



Purchased tickets for Baselworld 2020

Anyone who has already purchased tickets for Baselworld 2020 can request a refund. It is not known whether tickets for the 2020 watch fair will remain valid for the event in 2021. It is therefore recommended to make use of the reimbursement service.



What will Baselworld 2021 have to offer?


What you can ultimately expect at Baselworld 2021 is hard to predict. Apart from the certainty that there will be a watch fair with a new, modern look, you will have to let the exhibitors surprise you. As always, they will not let you see their cards.

As a result, we are not making any predictions apart from the odd suspicion, but are already looking forward to informing you about the most exciting innovations the watch industry has to offer following Baselworld in January 2021.