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Baselworld 2011 News Stories.

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NY Times - Gears Mesh Again for Swiss Exports
Published: March 17, 2010, By VICTORIA GOMELSKY

BASEL, SWITZERLAND — In the fat years, large-faced, chunky sports watches were all the rage. So what is the message behind the return this year to lean and slender?

At the Baselworld luxury watch fair this week, spring is in the air. After the freeze last year, Swiss watch exports are back to growth; wholesale inventories have reportedly shrunk, and expensive timepieces are selling again, buoyed by resilient Asian economies and a better-than-expected holiday season. But caution remains the rule.

“The question is: Did we touch the bottom or a bottom?” said Jean Paul Girardin, vice president of Breitling. “There is a recovery, for sure. But we are still a bit suspicious.”
In 2009, Switzerland’s watch exports slid 22 percent from the previous year, to 13.2 billion Swiss francs, or $12.2 billion, according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.

But anecdotal evidence and industry data suggest the tide turned late last year. Strong retail sales since November have helped to empty the wholesale pipelines, inspiring retailers to start restocking, particularly in the hard-hit U.S. market. By December, Swiss watch exports were only 7.2 percent below year-earlier levels, and in January they actually grew by 2.7 percent, the federation’s figures show.

“Our sell-through is up over 40 percent,” Philippe Bonay, president of A. Lange & Söhne North America, said in mid-February, referring to the proportion of inventory purchased by consumers. “There’s been a sharp turnaround among the top retailers and that has had a big effect.”

The relief was palpable at the buying shows in Geneva this year, when exhibitors at the Salon de la Haute Horlogerie and the Geneva Time Exhibition, a new event showing the work of 38 independent watchmakers, presented timepieces notable for slender profiles, clean and sober aesthetics and classic combinations of the complex features known as complications.

Vacheron Constantin paid homage to its mid- 20th century heyday of manufacturing thin watches with a low-profile addition to its Historiques collection. The Ultra-Fine 1955, at 4.10 millimeters, or 0.16 inches thick, is the world’s slenderest mechanical hand-wound watch.

At Ralph Lauren Watches, a year-old collaboration between Ralph Lauren and Financière Richemont, a planned foray into Asia has resulted in a slight downsizing of the brand’s Slim Classique collection.

“We wanted to target a clientele with smaller wrists,” said Guy Chatillon, the chief executive.

The reduction in case sizes has coincided with a drop in prices, as Swiss watchmakers have adjusted to a changed market.

“We had last year a move to less expensive watches,” said Jean-Daniel Pasche, president of the federation, citing falling demand for watches with export prices exceeding 3,000 francs.

At Baselworld this week, Breitling’s answer to that shift is the Superocean, a steel diver’s watch competitively priced at $2,695.

Chopard, meanwhile, is presenting its L.U.C. 1937 chronometer, incorporating a new automatic movement manufactured in-house, expected to retail for less than €10,000, or $13,500, considered an entry price for such an offering, said Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, the company’s president.

Higher up the price ladder, however, Chopard — which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year — is also unveiling a limited edition in its manufacture collection, nicknamed the L.U.C. 150 “All In One” watch for its medley of complicated features.

For those rarer pieces, “we are looking at around €250,000,” Mr. Scheufele said.
The wide differential in the prices of the two Chopard novelties is evidence that, for all the emphasis on affordability, the high end of the Swiss watch market is still alive and well.

There is a substantial difference, however, between the six-figure models that are coming to market now and many of the high-priced pre-recession offerings.

In the boom years before 2008, “a lot of brands moved upmarket, but they didn’t increase their value, and when the recession hit, they got slammed,” said Keith Strandberg, international editor for Europa Star, a trade magazine in Geneva.

“Everybody’s now saying they’re giving value for the money,” he said.

In practice, that means more watches featuring mechanisms manufactured in-house, and incorporating a cornucopia of legitimate horological innovations.

At the Geneva salon, for example, Montblanc introduced two complicated models produced at its atelier in Villeret: the Metamorphosis, a two-faced watch from the new TimeWriter series of concept timepieces, priced at $263,100; and the ExoTourbillon Chronographe, priced at $249,600.

The firm pricing was a reminder that no matter how low the economy goes, there are always big fish to be caught, with the right bait.

Sometimes, that bait is scarcity. “Even though we have four major product launches in 2010, we’re cutting our production by 10 to 15 percent,” said Maximilian Büsser, founder of the niche brand MB&F. “We could easily sell 180 to 200 pieces, but I want the desirability to be pushed and everybody to battle to get the pieces.”

Of the 143 watches that MB&F produced in 2009, half went to Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, underscoring the year’s lasting lesson for manufacturers: When the United States falters, Asia is now there to save them.

That is hardly news to the Swiss. Asia now accounts for 48 percent of Swiss watch exports — a gain of 10 percentage points in two years. Indeed, the real news in the watch industry concerns the sleeping giants of the BRIC economies — Brazil, Russia, India and China.

“In terms of geopolitics, everybody is waiting for India, everybody is waiting for Brazil,” said Juan-Carlos Torres, chief executive of Vacheron Constantin.

Everybody, that is, but Mr. Torres, who has opted not to wait. He flew to New Delhi this month to preside over the official opening of a Vacheron Constantin boutique and after-sales service center to accommodate Indian customers who buy in places like London.

Globally, it is true that the high-end watch business has fallen far from the heights it reached in 2008, a record year for the Swiss. But removed from that context, the state of affairs seems less dire.

Jean-Marie Schaller, founder and chief executive of Louis Moinet, an independent brand named after Napoleon’s watchmaker, would affirm this. At the Geneva Time show, he exhibited the Meteoris objet d’art, an extraordinary and, at 4.9 million francs, extraordinarily expensive planetarium composed of four meteorite-encrusted tourbillons.

“We think it will be sold quickly,” he said. “This high-end segment has been hit because it’s really when people want to buy a mechanical dream, an expensive toy, and they lost the appetite.”

“Now I can feel the market is different,” Mr. Schaller added. The wealthy are not exactly starved of luxury, “but they are hungry again.”
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Baselworld prepares to open its doors to 100,000 buyers
17 Mar 2010, By Kate Donovan
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Watch and jewellery extravaganza Baselworld kicks off tomorrow and will feature 1,915 exhibitors and be attended by nearly 100,000 buyers.
The show – which takes place from March 18 to 25 – covers 160,000m2 of floor space and is Switzerland’s largest trade event.
Visitors to the event, which will be opened by Swiss Federal Councillor Moritz Leuenberger, will be able to take their pick of 1,915 watch and jewellery exhibitors from 45 countries showcasing their latest products and collections
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10 BaselWorld 2010 facts
Staff Reporter, March 17th, 2010
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1,915 exhibitors will show jewellery and watch collections at BaselWorld.
• Nearly 100,000 buyers are expected to make the trip from around the world to the small Swiss town of Basel.
• BaselWorld covers 160,000sqm of floor space, making it Switzerland’s largest trade event.
• More than 3,000 journalists will make the trip to BaselWorld.
• There will be international visitors at BaselWorld from 100 countries.
• BaselWorld will run for eight days, from March 18 to 25.
• Exhibitors at BaselWorld will be representing 45 countries, with many showing exclusively at the show.
• The opening ceremony for BaselWorld will be led by Federal Councillor Moritz Leuenberger, Councillor of the Canton of Basel-Stadt Christoph Brutschin, President of the Exhibitors’ Committee Jacques J. Duchêne and chief executive of MCH Group René Kamm.
• Swiss exhibitors presenting products at BaselWorld represent more than 90 percent of total Swiss exports.
• Watches are the third most important export sector in Switzerland, the home of BaselWorld.
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Watchmakers go back to basics as 'extravagance' ends
By Hui Min Neo (AFP)
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BASEL, Switzerland — Luxury watchmakers are going back to basics with classic designs, as industry players at the world's biggest watch fair in Switzerland warned Wednesday that the "years of extravagance" were over.

While the industry is reporting a glimmer of recovery, watchmakers gathering in the Swiss city of Basel also noted that recovery was fragile and that the mood among consumers was far from the heady pre-crisis years.

"After several months of economic upturn, there are some positive signs," said Jacques Duchene, head of the organising committee for the Baselworld fair which officially kicks off on Thursday.

Companies such as Hublot and the giant Swatch have declared that the sales have been "exceptional" so far this year.

Hublot chief Jean-Claude Biver said that January was "the best in history, just like February would be and probably March."

However, Duchene also warned: "We should not be overly confident, because the global economic situation is still highly precarious."

Key export producers Switzerland, France, Germany and Italy all reported a slump last year.

Swiss watch exports, often taken as a barometer for the global sector, plunged by over a fifth -- 22.3 percent -- in 2009. But in January, they posted a small growth of 2.7 percent.

Watchmakers nonetheless warned that the impact of the crisis still resonates.

Duchene observed that it had made consumers more careful about what they were buying.

It had sparked a "return to genuine values, as well as traditional and solid principles," he said.

"Today, consumers certainly take more responsible and considered decisions that established and even highly reputable companies must respond to.

"Many of you have already mentioned this in writing or in conversation -- the years of extravagance are over," added the industry veteran.

In the Swiss watchmaking industry, the biggest in the world, demand for watches in the low export price bracket of below 3,000 Swiss francs (2,551 dollars, 2,068 euros) rose by nearly a fifth in January.

Francois Thiebaud, who heads the committee of Swiss exhibitors, remarked on a "return to real value" and "more classic" designs.

Consumers were also looking at high end jewellery as an investment.

"It's better to invest in 'haute' jewellery than in the stock market. It's viewed as a more sure investment," he added.

Mauro Egermini, director-general of Les Ateliers Horlogers Dior, part of the French fashion group, acknowledged that clients were on the lookout for good investments.

"They are trying to put their money in good value" rather than riskier assets, he told AFP, pointing out that this provided good opportunities for luxury watchmaking and jewellery.

The president of parent Dior Horlogerie, Laurence Nicolas, also told AFP that "bling-bling is no longer very trendy."

While Dior is still making watches with diamonds and precious stones, the look appears more understated this year. Nicolas described it as "dazzling but still elegant."

Alfred Schneider, of the German watchmaking and jewellery federation, felt the outlook for 2010 was "more muted."

"There is a slight recovery in foreign demand... we hope that these first signs would be strengthened," he said.

Beyond the issue of more restrained consumers, the industry, and jewellers in particular, is also feeling the squeeze from higher raw material prices.

Gaetano Cavalieri, representing Italian jewellers, highlighted gold prices, which soared in the crisis as investors sought to park their money in safer investments.

"Keeping costs down was particularly difficult when the price of gold was rising so sharply."

"Many of the luxury product categories managed to reduce costs by cutting prices but this was difficult for us due to skyrocketing prices of gold," he said
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Baselworld business: if your name means anything, this is ‘the’ place to be seen
By Michael Balfour

If you are seriously in the business of designing, manufacturing, buying, selling or promoting watches or jewellery, then you will be in the ancient city of Basel between March 18 and 25. You will be attending Baselworld 2010: The Watch and Jewellery Show.

Inside the six giant halls, exhibitors’ staff will already be installed, prepared for long days of sales talk, negotiations and general trade conversations, as old and new colleagues meet to discuss mutual interests.

Almost 2,000 booths from 45 countries are spread over an exhibition area of 160,000 sq m. About 600 of them are watch stands, 750 jewellers and 560 related products.
Baselworld is not a new event. Emperor Frederick III (1415-1493) granted Basel the right to hold two annual fairs, one to be before Whitsunday. From this evolved the first Schweizer Mustermesse in Basel in 1917, which literally means a Swiss fair of samples, setting out what domestic goods the neutral country had to offer during those war-torn years.

It had a section devoted exclusively to watches and jewellery, and was exclusively for Swiss exhibitors until 1973, when it became the Europäische Uhren und Schmuckmesse (European Watch and Jewellery Show). Non-European exhibitors were first welcomed in 1986. It acquired its present title in 2003.

Today, Baselworld is a joint enterprise between the City of Basel – 93,900 members of the general public paid to visit it last year – and MCH Swiss Exhibition (Basel) Ltd, controlled by a group of private investors. MCH organises more than 30 annual exhibitions and fairs, including Art Basel and Art Basel Miami Beach. Its chief executive is René Kamm, an ex-TAG Heuer man.

The president of the exhibitors’ committee is the long-serving Jacques Duchêne, who had a distinguished career with Rolex. He was due to address the trade press conference last Wednesday, as were his panel of seven international experts. Together they also watch over the sorry business of counterfeits at the show, of which there were 25 serious incidents in 2009.

The six main halls are inconsequentially numbered and bear unlikely names. Furthest from the Exhibition Square, where trams and taxis come and go, is Hall 6 (the Hall of Universe), containing the national pavilions.

Hall 5 is at the rear of the main Hall 1, which fronts the square, and Hall 4 is over the road (together they feature watch brands in the Halls of Desires, Dreams, Emotions, and Inspirations). In the Hall of Dreams reside grand marques such as Chopard, Patek Philippe, Rolex, TAG Heuer, and the mighty Swatch Pavilion, boasting its famed brands and continuous presentations.

The position of your stand depends on a first-come-first-served basis established when the fair began. Newcomers join a queue, waiting for old-stagers to move on. Some brands spend years trying to work their way forward from the back of Hall 5. Peter Stas and his wife Aletta are gradually succeeding with their fast-expanding Frédérique Constant company. On the other hand, Movado, a fine old brand not seen much in the UK, has a prime spot at the entrance.

The grand Hèrmes brand is content to be between escalators above Hall 1 in the Hall of Desires, with Harry Winston and the elaborate de Grisogono stand not far away. So being slightly above it all is obviously OK.

Hall 2, behind the Exhibition Tower, houses jewellery and more watch brands (Halls of Fascinations, Feelings, and Visions). Hall 3 offers more jewellery and “related brands” (Halls of Elements, Impressions, and Innovations).

Again this year there is an additional hall – a huge tent, simply named Palace, that promises to entice all classes of visitor to the small range of brands inside. Together in one area of its own, you will find four brands operating at the haute end of horlogerie: Christopher Claret, MB & F, Speake-Marin, and Urwerk.

The Watch Gallery there houses 16 small independent brands, some of which exhibited at the Geneva Time Exhibition in January, including Alain Silberstein, Badollet, Linde Werdelin, and Quinting. Some were also at Salon QP 09 in London last November. Ambitious independents are on the rise. Opposite them, however, huge Casio has a large walk-about stand.

One big change lies ahead. After Baselworld 2011 is over, a new building is to be constructed over Exhibition Square, designed by Herzog and de Meuron, both born in Basel. After the following show, Hall 3 will be demolished and rebuilt, together with the front section of Hall 1.

A much-used legacy of the show is the huge catalogue. The 850-page tome weighs more than 5kg. The catalogue, together with the entire organisation of every single aspect of Baselworld 2010, is the work of 15 permanent staff, a testament to Swiss efficiency.

Future Baselworld dates: 2011: March 24-31; 2012: March 8–15 March; 2013: April 25l–May 2.

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The costs are enormous, the competition immense. But ambitious brands still fight to be seen at Baselworld
By Ken Kessler

Every industry has an annual event at which attendance is mandatory. For the movie business, it is the Cannes Film Festival; for the home-entertainment industry, it is the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. For wristwatches, it is Baselworld, held in Switzerland every March. With over 2,000 exhibitors and 100,000 visitors, it is the showcase for new models.

With the exception of the brands belonging to the Richemont group—including venerable names like Jaeger-LeCoultre, Piaget, A. Lange & Söhne and Vacheron Constantin—which holds its own show in January, Baselworld presents the only opportunity for makers to display their wares to all the industry's key players. No distributor, buyer or watch journalist dares to miss it.

But Baselworld, like every trade fair, has its own rules, hierarchy and high costs. This creates a problem for new brands and start-ups, of which there have been as many as 50 a year since the watch boom started in the early 1990s.

On entering the main hall, it is clear that the big players have the largest stands—seemingly modelled on the towering regal statues in Lord of the Rings—and the best positions.

A-list manufacturers including Rolex, Patek Philippe, Corum and Chopard line the first section of the main walkway, which culminates in the Swatch Group stand that bisects the hall. This topography will never change. The horology establishment would not budge even if you offered them far more than the fees charged by the organizers.

One mid-sized producer, which makes 3,000 to 5,000 watches a year with prices ranging from €2,200 ($3,000) to €6,600, says: "The importance of Baselworld is greater now than ever before. In the past, the fair was mainly visited by national distributors. In recent years, the show has also attracted top retailers who are visiting the fair to see the new models [and] place their orders. And this will transfer the perceived value of the brands directly to [the retailers'] clients when they enter their shops."

This maker, who has a much-coveted stand on the group floor of Hall 1, adds: "Over the past 10 years, Baselworld has been not only the most important watch exhibition world-wide, it has become a brand in itself."

And it's not just direct sales, or the publicity that exhibitors are seeking. "Baselworld is a crucial opportunity for the exhibitors, particularly for the smaller ones, because the figures and the feedback provide precious information for managing production schedules over the next 12 to 18 months," the watchmaker explains. "It also provides us with strong indications of new trends—in terms of design and technology—for at least the following two years."

But this doesn't come cheaply. Another exhibitor calculates the cost of exhibiting at Baselworld for the entire week—including booth space, communications, events, watch samples, press materials, catalogues, housing staff and countless other incidentals—approaches one million Swiss francs ($932,755).

Although Baselworld is cautiously even-handed in its treatment of the exhibitors, geography clearly plays a role and the "minor" halls inevitably enjoy less razzmatazz than Hall 1. In 2007, for example, huge buzz was generated by a live feed from the watch auction house, Antiquorum, of the "Omegamania" vintage watch sale, which was shown on giant screens in the main hall.

Any brand that can even entertain challenging the first-rank manufacturers will still have pockets deep enough to find a large stand in one of the four other halls. But what happens to the small or medium-sized companies, or the brand-new names eager to make an impression?

Some makers have fought their way up the pecking order. Milan's Grimoldi, for example, began with a small booth in Hall 4, eventually moving to the more expansive Hall 2. Since that's the main jewelry hall, it suits a company that also produces rings and bracelets. Grimoldi feels it can shine in Hall 2 without being overshadowed by a plethora of other watch brands.

The smallest brands can join together under a collective umbrella, such as the Académie Horlogère Des Créateurs Indépendants. This stand is always a must-visit as it provides dealers and the press with introductions to future stars of the horological constellation. In the past it has served as the launch pad for Kari Voutilainen, Peter Speake-Marin, Thomas Prescher and many others who are now counted among the masters of their field.

Then there are the brands that can't get in to the fair but are still desperate to have a presence at Basel. For them, the best available option might be to book a hotel room—a challenge in itself as Basel is notoriously short of bedrooms—in which they will arrange appointments with key clients, retailers and the press. Low-key it may be, but it works. This writer remembers first-ever meetings in Basel with a cluster of now firmly established luxury watchmakers—in the beer garden in front of Hall 1.

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TAG Heuer Celebrates 150th Anniversary With Event in Basel Honoring Environmental Activist, Actor Leonardo DiCaprio

Basel, 19 March 2010 /PRNewswire/ —
TAG Heuer today kicked off a celebration if its 150th anniversary at an invitation-only event for more than 600 guests, honoring actor and climate change activist Leonardo DiCaprio for his dedication to saving the environment. DiCaprio has an ongoing partnership with the company that benefits the NRDC and Green Cross International.

The evening – dedicated to the pioneering spirit of innovation – also served as the launch for the Odyssey of Pioneers – a unique travelling roadshow that will showcase TAG Heuer's finest timepieces of past, present and future in 15 cities, between March and October 2010.

As an Olympic flame, the tour will be lead by the new TAG Heuer Tesla Roadster, an exclusive model introduced by electric carmaker Tesla Motors at the Geneva Motor Show in early March 2010. This one-of-a-kind collector's car incorporates the defining TAG Heuer avant-garde design elements, and celebrates the core values of both brands: innovation, precision, prestige and performance.

Starting in Basel, "The Odyssey of Pioneers" will be the first round-the-world tour by a zero-emission GT car: 37,000 km/24,000 miles; six-months; 15 stops; 18 watches on show, one record to be scored.

Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of Tesla Motors, was at the wheel of the new vehicle when it made its grand entry on stage. "The engineers of both brands have worked hand-in-hand, convinced that performance-driven technology – whether on the wrist or on the road – must be part of any sustainable development," Musk said.

The night also served as the premiere of the Grand Carrera Pendulum, a 2010 concept watch that turns an immutable principle of mechanical watchmaking on its head – it is the first movement without a hairspring. Jean-Christophe Babin, president and CEO of TAG Heuer, explained how it works : "In the regulation system, we simply replaced the traditional hairspring with magnetic fields. TAG Heuer invented the oscillating pinion in 1887; the Mikrograph, the first counter that was accurate to a 100th of a second; and the V4, with its belt-driven transmission system. Now, we are introducing another major innovation, and another example of the pioneering spirit that has imbued us for a century and a half."

"Mastering time, this has been our challenge since 1860," said TAG Heuer Honorary Chairman Jack Heuer as he opened the celebration.

In his remarks, Leonardo DiCaprio – wearing the new Carrera 1887 – discussed his pride in being an ambassador for the company : "I am excited to be here to celebrate TAG's 150th birthday," said DiCaprio. "I am proud to be associated with a company that not only has a rich and storied history, but also understand the importance of doing good in the world. Our partnership, which enables people to buy a quality timepiece and help save the planet at the same time, is a model I hope other brands will follow."

At dawn on Friday, April 19, the TAG Heuer Tesla Roadster left Basel to carry out its task of taking 150 years of heritage around the world and write a new page in this wonderful story.

In 2010, TAG Heuer proudly celebrates 150 years of pioneering Swiss watchmaking. Founded in Saint-Imier in 1860 by Edouard Heuer, TAG Heuer has set many major milestones of high-end watchmaking, especially in the field of chronographs and ultimate precision. Today, one of the largest and most desired brands in the luxury watch industry, the Swiss legend draws upon its active engagement in the world of sports to create the most accurate timing instruments and watches in the world. TAG Heuer is the first watchmaker to master luxury chronographs with an unsurpassed precision of 1/10th, 1/100th and 1/1,000th of a second. From the Olympic Games in the 1920s to its role as official timekeeper to within 1/10,000th of a second for the legendary Indy 500, TAG Heuer, in a constant quest for innovation, excellence, performance and prestige, continues to aim ever higher. This is reflected in its quarter-century partnership with F1 team Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, its 7-year partnership with 2008 Formula 1 World Champion, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, and his new teammate , 2009 Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button. TAG Heuer, more than ever, epitomizes prestige and performance through active partnerships with Hollywood icon Leonardo DiCaprio and Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan, LPGA star Suzann Pettersen and WTA tennis champion Maria Sharapova. TAG Heuer is a privileged member of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH), the most exclusive club in the Swiss watchmaking industry. The newest addition to the TAG Heuer legacy is the Calibre 1887, an in-house, Swiss manufactured, integrated column-wheel chronograph movement that pays tribute to the original Heuer oscillating pinion of 1887, one of the brand's first patents and a major benchmark in modern watchmaking. From March through October 2010, TAG Heuer's revolutionary and ecologically conscious "Odyssey of Pioneers" exhibit, the first-ever round-the-world trip in a 100% electric car designed specifically by Tesla Motors for TAG Heuer, will showcase in Olympic flame fashion the brand's past, present and future collections across 15 key cities of the world.
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Baselworld 2010 Show Layout

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Thanks for the info . i didnt realize how huge it was or how important it is.
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BaselWorld reports rise in buyers
March 26, 2010

Basel--The 38th edition of the BaselWorld watch and jewelry show wrapped up yesterday on a high note, with show organizers pointing out an increase in visitors coupled with a rise in Swiss watch exports over the first months of 2010.

Attendance rose 7 percent to 100,700, organizers said. Exhibitors numbered 1,915, with 456 of them Swiss brands.

Swiss watch exports rose 2.7 percent in value terms in January compared to January 2009 and 14.2 percent in February, the first gains in 15 months. Show organizers said Swiss watchmakers are banking on continuing growth this year.

Another positive sign during the exhibition was the return of American buyers, organizers said. After a dearth of U.S. buyers at BaselWorld 2009, their return helped to symbolize a general upturn in the market.

Buyers from the Gulf nations and Asia, meanwhile, were fewer this year, with a wait-and-see policy appearing to remain in effect. Results for Switzerland's jewelers have been more mixed, according to the release, with jewelry buyers, especially European buyers, continuing to display caution.

BaselWorld 2011 is scheduled for March 24-31

Source - http://www.nationaljewelernetwork.c...-releases/e3ie9fc421daf51cf82c21f2d18c497296d
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IDEX Online: BaselWorld weaker on diamond sales
By IDEX Online
March 29, 2010

Basel, Switzerland--A rise in attendance compared to last year was not enough for diamond traders attending the BaselWorld show last week.

Riding the success of the Hong Kong fair in February, many loose diamond buyers complained of high asking prices, causing lower business than expected. BaselWorld 2010 closed its doors on Thursday after eight days of increased visitor traffic. Show organizers reported that 100,700 people attended the watch and jewelry show, a 7 percent increase compared to last year.

Traders from Antwerp were dissatisfied with the show, claiming that asking prices were extremely high, leaving buyers unable to purchase goods. Larger goods of 4.00-plus carats, which traders banked on selling well during the show, were not disappointed. Fancy-color goods and other ultra-high-end item sold very well.

Smaller goods, 0.25 carat and below, did well, according to Indian traders, if prices were slightly reduced. These included SI-VS goods in GHI clarities.

For watch firms, the show was a very different experience. High-end watchmakers, such as Chopard, TAG Heuer and Bell and Ross noted the optimistic atmosphere compared to last year.

"In comparison to last year, this year's show went much better," said Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, co-president of Chopard in a release by show organizers. "We welcomed more customers--especially from the USA--and received many more orders.

Source - http://www.nationaljewelernetwork.c...s/pricing/e3i44a6d765a3ffecb1f2a36150244e1057
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