Breaking News: Seiko Exits Baselworld 2020

The Japanese giant bids farewell, for good.

Switzerland’s biggest watch and jewellery fair will see one of its biggest exhibitors, Seiko, depart next year reports Yasuhito Shibuya of Chronos Japan. A Baselworld exhibitor since 1986, the Japanese watchmaker joins the stream of brands that have been departing the event since industry giant Swatch Group’s shock exit last year.

According to Mr Shibuya, Seiko’s official reason for leaving is “because the opening time of Baselworld in 2020 is later than usual”, happening in May instead of the traditional March. Mr Shibuya also adds: “The fair happens a month later, coinciding with the Golden Week in Japan – a period with four consecutive national holidays within seven days. This is a particularly disappointing time for Japanese watchmakers.”

“From the location of the booth to the floor plan of the fair [with Seiko’s booth on the second level], I do not think that Seiko has received equal treatment [as compared to Swiss brands]” noted Mr Shibuya. Despite its importance, both commercially and culturally, Seiko, along with fellow Japanese brands Casio and Citizen, has been relegated to the upper floor of the main exhibition hall since the venue’s lavish redesign in 2013.

The loss of Seiko is no doubt a major blow to Baselworld, which has historically been a cash cow for exhibition organiser MCH Group, which also owns the Art Basel franchise.

Instead of Baselworld, Seiko will launch its new products earlier in the year. However, according to a Seiko official I spoke with, no decision has been made as to whether to return to Baselworld after 2020, leaving opening the possibility that the Japanese watchmaker might return.

Source: Chronos Japan

Correction November 7, 2019: The author of the article in Chronos Japan is Yasuhito Shibuya, and not Masayuki Hirota as stated previously.

Addition November 18, 2019: Included a statement from a Seiko official noting that Seiko has no yet decided whether to return to Baselworld after 2020, which remains a possibility.

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