Basel--Though more than 150,000 people came to Baselworld over its eight-day run, show organizers reported that attendance was down 3 percent as compared with last year.

033015 Baselworld ArticleAttendees filter past the Swatch Group area at Baselworld 2015, which wrapped up Thursday. Attendance has declined a total of 7 percent over the last two years. (Photo credit: Baselworld)

This is the second consecutive year Baselworld has reported a decrease in attendance. Last year, show organizers reported a 4 percent drop in buyer presence.

Some reports noted a noticeably quieter show, with “the emptiness of Hall 1 … hard to overlook” despite having visitors from more than 100 countries and a record-setting number of press in attendance. Show organizers said that more than 4,300 members of the media were in Basel covering the show, an 8 percent increase over 2014. 

Among the highlights of the show was Patek Philippe debuting the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time watch, a wristwatch inspired by pilot’s watches from the 1930s and created by the brand with a younger generation of consumers in mind.

Although brand President Thierry Stern admitted that not all reactions to the new model were positive, it was one of 35 new watches the brand introduced in Basel, coming off a year in which Patek celebrated its 175th anniversary.

Also debuting at the show was Omega’s “Globemaster,” the world’s first “Master Chronometer” as it meets a new set of criteria established by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology. This includes the ability of the watch and its movement to function when exposed to a magnetic field of up to 15,000 gauss and the precision of the watch when its power reserve is between zero and two-thirds.

Smartwatches also were a focus at Baselworld, with what is perhaps the biggest announcement coming on the show’s opening day.

TAG Heuer announced at a press conference held in its booth on March 19 that it was teaming up with Intel and Google to create a Swiss-made smartwatch that will be released by the end of the year, though no details about the device were revealed.

Jean-Claude Biver, president of LVMH’s watch division, which includes TAG, Hublot and Zenith, said the announcement about the smartwatch partnership was the “biggest” of his decades-long career in the watch industry.

The 2016 edition of Baselworld is scheduled for March 17 to 24.


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