More turmoil at Baselworld; show cancelled, managing director resigns

As if the chaos and confusion surrounding Baslworld over the past two years has not been enough, MCH Group, the show’s organiser, has announced the cancellation of the Spring 2022 event, scheduled for 30 March -5 April.

A brief media statement issued late on 12 November (European time) on the MCH Group website stated: “Baselworld organisers have decided to take more time for the launch of the new concept. Baselworld, scheduled for spring 2022, will therefore not take place.”

The move has also triggered a decision by Baselworld’s managing director Michel Loris-Melikoff to leave the company.

The announcement is sure to surprise the international watch and jewellery industry given that only five months ago MCH declared that the newly invented name – HourUniverse  – created to re-launch the show after years of turmoil, had been scrapped in favour of the returning to the original ‘Baselworld’ brand.

On 23 June, this year, a media statement announced: “Baselworld was held for the last time in 2019. Now it is back in March-April 2022, and it will be very different.

“Instead of focusing on the spectacular appearance of luxury brands in the watch, jewellery and gemstone sector, the new Baselworld will primarily be a B2B platform in the mid-range luxury segment. The future concept combines trends in the experience marketing market with the needs of the entire community in the mid-and high-end segment of the watch, jewellery and gemstone industry.”

However, less than five months later, Beat Zwahlen, CEO MCH Group said, “Over the past few months, we have studied in detail our watches, jewellery and gems ecosystem and gained important insights from discussions with major industry representatives.

» A complete timeline: The rise, fall and resurrection of Baselworld 

“The conclusion is that the market exists for a B2B2C platform that brings together medium-sized and specialised manufacturers with independent retailers. But their needs must be analysed in more detail. This means we need to have significantly more time to get there.” 

The 12 November media statement explained that the decision to cancel the 2022 event was “based on the one hand on the experience gained from the Pop Up Event at the Geneva Watch Days and on intensive discussions with manufacturers and retailers.

“On the other hand, it takes into account the fact that it is particularly difficult to launch a new concept for a new target segment due to the renewed aggravation of the COVID situation and the associated uncertainty among customers.”

More turmoil at Baselworld; show cancelled, managing director resigns - Artificial Jewellery
Sylvie Ritter
Former managing director
More turmoil at Baselworld; show cancelled, managing director resigns - Artificial Jewellery
Michel Loris-Melikoff
Outgoing managing director

It also added that Michel Loris-Melikoff managing director “has decided to leave the company and take on a new challenge.”

Loris-Melikoff joined the management team of Baselworld in 2018 following the resignation of Sylvie Ritter, who had been managing director of Baselworld for 15 years. Ritter quit in May, after the 2018 edition of the show.

Michel Loris-Melikoff was named as her successor and assumed the position of managing director on 1 July.

“In a short period of time, he [Loris-Melikoff ] managed to gain access to the industry and win its respect,” the media statement explained. “He initiated and helped shape the necessary transformation and repositioning of Baselworld. The MCH Group regrets his decision. It thanks him for his tireless commitment and wishes him all the best for his future engagements.”

Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, it means that only one event had taken place in the three years of Loris-Melikoff’s management. 


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