Those lamenting the end of Baselworld can rest easy knowing that MCH Group, the trade show organizer behind the well-known event, has instituted an entirely new hybrid platform called HourUniverse. The new concept will include buyers and sellers of watches, jewelry and gemstones in an online, digital platform for networking, buying and content that will be active and updated all year, with one annual live event.
“With Baselworld having been put to rest, the MCH teams have put all their expertise and the feedback from customers, buyers, visitors into giving birth to a new platform concept. An innovative platform to meet today's needs, the new concept is gearing up to unite and support a whole community that wants to regroup, make a new start and is receptive to change,” the company noted.
This new digital concept comes after the end of Baselworld, which, due to the cancellation of it’s 2020 and 2021 shows due to COVID-19 saw the last of their partnerships leave the event. With complications over date changes and exhibitor refunds, Rolex, Tudor, Patek Philippe, Chanel and Chopard cut ties with the trade show, with LVMH-owned watch brands TAG Heuer, Hublot and Zenith ending their partnership shortly after.
HourUniverse’s new digital and live concept is meant to connect the industry directly with consumers and open up a dialog about the industry, one that they now note is “receptive to change.” The platform will not solely be a place to shop the latest luxury brands, but a digital salon to discuss contemporary topics such as smart products and sustainability in an open continuous exchange with end consumers.
Of course, old habits die hard. While the platform will be year-round digital endeavor, HourUniverse, will also present an annual trade show, held in Basel, starting April 2021. Its dates will align with the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie’s rival event, Watches and Wonders. The idea is that holding the events concurrently is “in the best interests of the international community, which will only have to travel to Switzerland once a year.”
Issues over how the now-defunct Baselworld cancellations were handled this year has lead five of the biggest brands in the business—Rolex/Tudor, Patek Philippe, Chanel and Chopard—to not only leave the long-running trade show but announce the start of their own new, yet-to-be-titled show, which will also be held April 2021.