Swatch Group has canceled its own “Time to Move” watch exhibition, which was to be held between late February and early March in Zurich, citing the Chinese coronavirus epidemic.
By Luxus Plus
The brands of the “Prestige” range of the Biel group will present their new products at regional events.
“In view of the uncertainty linked to the spread of Coronavirus 2019 nCoV, and in order to guarantee the well-being of our guests, partners and colleagues, Swatch Group has decided not to maintain the Time to Move event,” said Swatch Group at AWP. A presentation in Zurich was intended for retailers from February 28 to March 2 and then to the press from March 4 to 6.
The group says it wants to “avoid” its “partners from traveling internationally in a climate of insecurity“.
He indicates that “the Prestige brands of Swatch Group will unveil their new products at regional events later”. The “Prestige and Luxury” range includes the brands Breguet, Harry Winston, Blancpain, Glashütte Original, Jaquet Droz, Léon Hatot and Omega.
Last year, Swatch Group shunned Baselworld and organized its own event to present its high-end timepieces.
Basel and Geneva expecting
The Basel watchmaking fair, Baselworld, organized by MCH Group, assured him to AWP “to study all options” and to be “in close contact” with its customers, of whom he takes “advice very seriously”. Currently, “no possible consequences are foreseeable at the moment”, according to his press service.
The event must be held from April 30 to May 5, in the wake of Watches & Wonders Geneva (ex-SIHH) which is announced from April 25 to 29.
The Geneva show did not wish to comment on the information from AWP. Fabienne Lupo, president of the Fondation de la haute horlogerie which organizes the show, nevertheless spoke in the newspaper Le Temps. “As our show comes at the end of April, we have less time pressure than Swatch Group. We are in touch with the markets, with the authorities, with the brands and with Baselworld,” she explained.
Between January and December 2019, Hong Kong and China were respectively the first and third market for Swiss watch exports.
In a comment Tuesday, Vontobel estimates that Swatch Group is exposed to mainland China at the level of 36% (in 2018). “We believe that entry and mid-range brands will continue to be under pressure from online commerce. Store closings, particularly in Hong Kong, will continue in 2020,” he said.
In 2019, Le Biennois closed 60 of the 2,000 stores in its own distribution network.
It should also be remembered that the Biel group’s 2019 revenues suffered from the situation in Hong Kong. Annual profit fell 13.7% to 748 million francs. Its turnover contracted by 1.8% to 8.2 billion francs.