By Michelle Graff
michelle.graff@nationaljeweler.com
New watches introduced at Watches & Wonders Geneva 2020, which was held online because of the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 has forced show organizers to move the 2021 edition online as well.
Geneva—Watches & Wonders Geneva, the show formerly known as SIHH and slated to take place next April, is moving to an all-virtual event, organizers announced earlier this week.

The exhibitor committee of Watches & Wonders Geneva made the call to cancel the live event, citing “uncertainty amid the current health crisis.”

COVID-19 numbers across the globe are climbing right now, as a number of countries find themselves battling a second wave of the coronavirus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently includes Switzerland on its list of countries to which nonessential travel should be avoided, noting the risk of contracting COVID-19 there is high and medical resources are limited.

Watches & Wonders Geneva, scheduled for April 7-13, will take place entirely on an upgraded version of the same website used for the digital show this past spring. Upgrades will include live streaming and chat functions.

Show organizers said all the brands scheduled to exhibit at the Palexpo for the physical show will be present online, and they invite other brands to take part in the digital show as well, ramping up for what organizers said will be “the biggest watch event ever held in Geneva” in 2022.

News that Watches & Wonders is moving online raises questions about the other watch shows slated to be held in Switzerland next April.

Heavyweights Rolex, Tudor, Patek Philippe, Chanel and Chopard said in April they were leaving Baselworld and would launch a new trade show in Geneva held concurrently with Watches & Wonders.


When asked about the 2021 show Thursday, a spokesperson for one of the participating brands said plans are “still in the works.”

Baselworld is no more, but the show MCH Group launched in its wake, HourUniverse, was also set to take place next April.

As of Thursday, MCH Group said it still intends to launch HourUniverse’s digital platform in February and hold an in-person show in April.

The company said it will issue 100 percent refunds to exhibitors if COVID-19 forces it to cancel the show.

MCH Group also said it is “confident” it will be able to acquire the minimum number of exhibitors, 250, needed to move forward with HourUniverse.


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