Following the cancellation of both the year’s biggest watch fairs – Baselworld and Watches & Wonders Geneva (WWG) – due to the COVID-19 coronavirus, a consortium of watch brands have come together to show their wares come April. The event, dubbed Geneva Watch Days, was the brainchild of Bulgari and its chief executive Jean-Christophe Babin – one of the first brands to pull out of Baselworld – and conceived with European press and retailers in mind.
[Update March 24, 2020: GWD will now take place August 26-29, 2020 instead.]
WWG to GWD
Taking place when WWG was due to happen, April 26 to 29, Geneva Watch Days now has a line-up of brands big and small: Girard-Perregaux, Gerald Genta, Ulysse Nardin, Breitling, MB&F, De Bethune and Urwerk. A handful more might sign on, including H. Moser & Cie. and Chopard.
However, at present, none of the brands belonging to the major watchmaking conglomerates, Richemont or Swatch Group, or either of the Geneva giants, namely Rolex and Patek Philippe, has announced their participation – and are unlikely to due to the complexities of the industry.
Crucially, Geneva Watch Days is not a fair per se, rather it is a series of events organised by brands in separate venues, including boutiques and hotels, but happening during the same period. Because the individual events during Geneva Watch Days are small-scale and discrete, none of them will run counter to the Swiss government’s temporary ban on events with over 1,000 people.
Notably, the announcement from the organisers of Geneva Watch Days stated: “the event does not intend to substitute the historical Geneva Watches & Wonders and Baselworld fairs in the long term but presents an efficient alternative on a smaller scale, given the 2020 changing environment.”
Update March 24, 2020: GWD postponed to August 2020.Back to top.