In early March, as the Covid-19 pandemic was exploding, Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of Bulgari, announced the birth of Geneva Watch Days. The new watch industry trade show was initially scheduled to take place in the Swiss city on April 26-29.
Two leading Swiss watch industry events, Watches & Wonders Geneva - the new incarnation of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) - and Baselworld, had already been canceled because of Covid-19. Unsurprisingly, Geneva Watch Days too has now been forced to reschedule.
Geneva Watch Days will be held on August 26-29, as indicated in a joint press release by the organizers, which include, besides Bulgari, other luxury names like Breitling, Ulysse Nardin, and Girard-Perregaux, as well as smaller independent brands like Gerald Genta, Urwerk, H. Moser & Cie, De Bethune, and MB&F. The new date, at the tail end of the summer vacation, might be surprising, but the organizers think that it will allow them to attract a broader audience. The event initially planned as chiefly Europe-oriented, is likely to attract visitors from farther afield, especially from Asia, where the Covid-19 threat might be ebbing by then.
Bulgari is keen to introduce a new approach to traditional watch industry events, which have been faltering. In February, the LVMH-owned brand announced it was pulling out of Baselworld 2020, and in January it took part in the LVMH Watch Week, staged by the luxury giant in Dubai. The Geneva Watch Days format, more flexible and less frenetic owing to its compact size, is a likely candidate for a new type of watch industry trade show.