By Michelle Graff
Watches & Wonders Geneva (formerly SIHH), which was scheduled to take place in late April, has been canceled due to the ongoing spread of the coronavirus. Baselworld organizers said they plan to move forward with their show though they are “monitoring the situation.”
Geneva—The Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie has canceled the show formerly known as SIHH due to COVID-19 coronavirus after the World Health Organization reported the disease has spread to Switzerland.

FHH announced the cancellation of Watches & Wonders Geneva, which was scheduled for April 25-29, in a statement released Thursday.

“In order to protect the health and well-being of all our guests, press, partners and teams, the decision has been taken to cancel the upcoming edition of Watches & Wonders Geneva and its ‘In the City’ program,” the statement reads.

FHH said it “remains at the disposal of its partners and guests for any queries they may have” regarding the show’s cancellation and is already working on organizing Watches & Wonders Geneva 2021.

This was the first year for the revamped show.

FHH announced in the fall it was changing the show’s name from Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, or SIHH, to Watches & Wonders Geneva and, for the first time, opening the once trade-only affair to the public.

The show’s timing also had shifted.

SIHH typically took place in January and Baselworld in March, but show organizers agreed to move the shows so they were back-to-back, freeing exhibitors and attendees from having to travel to Switzerland twice in a few months’ time.

Watches & Wonders Geneva was scheduled to end April 29, with Baselworld starting April 30.

In a statement issued last week, Baselworld organizers said the 2020 show would go on as scheduled, a stance they reiterated Thursday, noting their “great regret” over FHH’s decision to cancel Watches & Wonders Geneva.

“A dedicated team is closely monitoring the situation on an hourly basis and following the guidance of the respective state, national and international health authorities,” the statement reads.

“To date, there are no specific requirements from the authorities regarding the organization of Baselworld Switzerland, and the show management is in close consultation with exhibitors.”
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The coronavirus originated in December in Wuhan, China, and has since spread to 37 countries.

In its update on the virus issued Wednesday, the World Health Organization said four new countries had reported cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours: Switzerland, Algeria, Austria and Croatia.

WHO said for the first time since the virus was identified, there are now more new cases surfacing outside of China than in China.

Globally, there have been 81,109 confirmed cases of coronavirus. The disease is responsible for 2,762 deaths, the organization said Wednesday.

FHH joins a growing number of organizations in the watch and jewelry industry to cancel or postpone events due to the spread of the disease.

The Hong Kong jewelry shows that normally take place in early March were pushed back to mid-May.

Swatch Group canceled its “Time to Move” event scheduled for late February/early March in Zurich, Switzerland, and Bonhams postponed its March 12 jewelry auction in Hong Kong.

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