Breaking News: Baselworld 2020 Cancelled, Becomes Baselworld 2021 [Updated]

Taking place in January.

On a fast-moving Friday that started with the first case of the COVID-19 coronavirus in the city of Basel being diagnosed according to Swiss newspaper Le Temps, the day culminated in the organisers of Baselworld 2020 announcing its postponement to January 2021, essentially cancelling this year’s trade fair.

This comes a day after the organisers of Geneva watch fair Watches & Wonders announced it was cancelled, which wipes out the entire year’s calendar for the major watch industry events.

Though the Baselworld organisers had initially planned to meet on Monday, March 2, according to an announcement by Hubert J. du Plessix, the president of the event’s exhibitors committee (and also the director of investments and logistics at Rolex), events got ahead of them.

The primary catalyst Baselworld’s cancellation was the Swiss government declaring a ban on all gatherings of over 1,000 people, until at least March 15 – which instantly made the Geneva Motor Show, one of the automotive industry’s most important events, a non-starter.

Now Baselworld 2021 will take place from January 28 to February 2, with press day happening on January 27.

Baselworld managing director Michel Loris-Melikoff, commenting in the announcement of the event’s cancellation, stated “We have found a solution that enables the industry and all our customers to avoid losing a full year and at the same time reset their calendars for the beginning of the year, a period that is conductive to the presentation of their new products, new trends and order taking.”

Coming a week before construction of the fair infrastructure, namely booths and stands, was due to start, Baselworld and its exhibitors managed to avoid some of the downside. And the government edict halting large events is a small consolation for Baselworld, since it would probably allow them to seek compensation from their insurers.

Update February 28, 2020: Story amended to reflect news of Baselworld 2020’s cancellation.

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