The “Baselworld Watch and Jewelry Show” is an annual international watch and jewelry fair, held in the city of Basel, Switzerland. The fair is held in the Messe Basel building, and brings together more than 2,100 participating brands of approximately 45 different nationalities. The fair usually receives approximately 100,000 visitors annually.


In 1917 the first Schweizer Mustermesse Basel was inaugurated. The first fair was a demonstration of the industrial development of Switzerland, and in which there was a small space for the watch industry. By 1931, the part of the fair dedicated to watches and jewelery had its own pavilion and was renamed Schweizer Uhrenmesse (Swiss Watch Show). In the 1970s the fair invited manufacturers from other countries than Swiss. In 1983 the fair adopted the name of Basel for the first time, and in 2003 it was renamed BaselWorld.

In 2018 BaselWorld announced an agreement with the other great fair in the world of luxury watches, ‘Watches & Wonders’ (formally known as Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, or SIHH). The statement announces an agreement between the fairs to coordinate the dates of their celebrations between 2020 and 2024.

This year 2020 has been the first time that the fair has not been held, due to the global pandemic of Covid 19.

The fall of Baselworld

In 2018, the Swatch Group announced that from 2019 it would not attend Baselworld. The Swatch Group includes brands such as Blancpain, Breguet, Glashütte Original, Harry Winston, Longines, Omegaor Tissot. This same year 2018 had seen how the fair lost more than 600 exhibitors. Other brands later joined the abandonment of the fair, such as Breitlingor Seiko.

Despite this very hard blow, the fair continued to feature the largest brands (Rolex, Patek Philippe, Chopard, …), and although with one day less, the fair continued in 2019.

But as we already know, 2020 is being a difficult year. Covid 19 broke into our lives and in March 2020 the planet was paralyzed. The fair that was to take place in April was canceled.

And that’s when the announcement for Rolex, Patek Philippe, Chopard, Chaneland Tudorarrives. En abril de 2020, anuncian que se retiran de Baselworld y organizarían su propia feria en abril de 2021.

Reasons for the fall

When something like this happens, it is without a doubt for more than one reason. But the main reason for the decline of the most prestigious fair can be summed up in one word: Greed.

Going to the fair has a great cost for exhibitors. The fees to participate in the fair were getting higher and higher. For everything, you had to hire staff from the fair itself, assembly of stands, infrastructures, even the WiFi had to be that of the fair itself. Hotels, restaurants and others increased their rates every year, reaching 500% more than in the days before or after the fair. In addition, more and more, you had the obligation to advance the money and hire the hotel room for the entire duration of the fair.

These details were becoming increasingly difficult to handle, both for exhibitors and visitors, who, in a globalized world and with so much online presence, saw less and less need to attend a fair like this. When a new model is announced, the information is available up to the minute on the internet, so attending launches in person is less and less necessary. And if the cost is so high, all the more reason not to go.

With the cancellation of the fair in 2020, the management of Baselworld makes its final and fateful decision. They unilaterally decide to ‘postpone’ the 2020 fair to January 2021, without consulting the brands.

And here is the problem. They do not cancel the fair, which would mean returning millionaire amounts that exhibitors had already paid, if not they postpone it, so that their intention is not to return the money.

This for small brands trying to break through is a disaster. Therefore, the option of reimbursing the money is proposed, to which the Baselword responds with several options, in which in any case it would reimburse a small amount, leaving the rest for the celebration of the fair in 2021.

These measures to brands like Rolex do not sit well at all, and they let the management of the baselworld know: Either the full rates are returned or this may be the end of the Baselworld. Furthermore, the celebration of the fair in January is not an appropriate date for watch companies and it breaks with the coordination with the “Watches & Wonders” fair of holding both on April dates.

The management of Baselworld does not back down and insists on its decision.

And this is when the statement from Rolex, Patek Philippe and Chopard arrives. Those who had been the biggest defenders of Baselworld, above their own interests and out of historical loyalty to the fair, decide to leave and announce that from 2021 they will show their annual novelties at their own fair, in line with the Watches dates. & Wonders Geneva, at the Palexpo exhibition center.

Will this be the goodbye to the largest watch and jewelry fair of the 20th and 21st century? We will see it in 2021, but of course things are not looking good for Baselworld. And, as we usually say in Spain, greed breaks the bag.

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Patek Philippe Calatrava 6007A-001

Patek Philippe Calatrava 6007A-001

2020 is being a difficult year, even for large companies that have seen their production reduced. The big watch brands are not exception. We have already commented in previous articles that several of the great watchmakers had postponed the launch of their new watches, due to Covid 19. The drop in production and the cancellation of the big events where these types of launches are announced altered the plans of Rolex, Patek Philippe, etc.

But, as happens to all of us, it’s time to adapt to the new times, and move on. Accept that it is going to be a different year and try to get positive things out of it. Following this trend,we already saw that Tudor had been encouraged to launch a new model for this year 2020, and that Rolex is expected to do the same in September.

Well, Patek Philippe has not been left behind and has also released new watches and a couple of reinterpretations of existing models throughout the summer.

Patek Philipe Calatrava Limited Edition (REF. 6007A-001)

The first of them has been the new Patek Philippe Calatrava. A special edition of only 1,000 units that has been launched to commemorate the completion of its new production building located in Pan-les-Ouates.

Patek Philippe Minute Repeater Tourbillon (5303R-001)

Patek Philippe Minute Repeater Tourbillon (5303R-001)

The new Calatrava 6007A-001 stands out for its 40mm case and its wider polished steel bezel. A rare material in the Patek Philippe collections. A blue-gray dial with a central motif, sapphire crystal and white gold hands.

Patek Philippe Minute Repeater Tourbillon (5303R-001)

Patek Philippe continues its habit of creating watches with great complications. This 5303, which was already released in 2019 with a limited edition of 12 pieces, now goes to the regular collection with a slightly modified design.

Made of rose gold, it stands out for its ‘leaf’ decoration engraved on the sides of the bracelet’s handles. A watch without a dial so that you can see the minute repeater in motion, including, for the first time, hammers and bells. You can also see the tourbillon at the bottom of the watch, at the 6 o’clock position.

Reinterpretations of the 5370P-011 and 5270J001

The Patek Philippe Rattrapante 5370 and Perpetual Calendar Chronograph 5270 watches have received a reinterpretation.

The Rattrapante modifies its aesthetics with a new blue dial and a polished platinum case. Like the other platinum watches from Patek Philippe, the new 5370P-011 has a small diamond set between the lugs of the bracelet at the 6H position.

The 5270 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph is manufactured in yellow gold for the first time. Previously we have seen models of this reference in platinum and rose gold. It is fitted with the CH 29-535 PS Q caliber, which is the first perpetual calendar chronograph movement fully developed and manufactured by Patek Phillipe since 2011.

Patek Philippe Rattrapante 5370 and Perpetual Calendar Chronograph 5270

Patek Philippe Rattrapante 5370 and Patek Philippe 5270 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

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Geneva Seal

Geneva Seal

The Geneva Seal (Sello de Ginebra in Spanish or Poinçon de Genève in French) is an exclusive quality certificate for movements developed in the Swiss region of the Canton of Geneva.

The first statute of the Geneva Seal was created on November 6, 1886. It was created to protect and preserve the reputation of watches created in the Canton of Geneva. It was established that only watches developed and manufactured in the Canton of Geneva could qualify for this quality certificate.

In addition to certifying that watches have been manufactured in the Canton of Geneva, watch movements must pass 12 stages / conditions in order to be certified. The body in charge of evaluating watches is TIMELAB (an organization that is composed of a certification center (including COSC, the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute) and a center for research and development).

If the watch movement passes all 12 criteria, the watch may bear the stamp mark engraved on the movement.

Currently the brands that usually certify their movements with the Geneva Seal are: Cartier, Chopard, Roger Dubuis and Vacheron Constantin.

Patek Philippe and Geneva Seal

For 123 years Patek Philippe has been the reference and the greatest defender of the Geneva Seal. But in 2009 he decided to stop certifying his watch movements with the Geneva Seal and created his own quality certificate, the Patek Philippe Seal. The seal is represented by a double P emblem.

Patek Philippe decides to create its own seal of quality for not being in accordance with the current standards of the Geneva Seal. Despite the fact that over the years the criteria of the certificate have been updated and adapted to modern watches, the changes came too late.

Apparently, ‘newly’ arrived brands signed up to use the certificate, such as Cartier or Roger Dubuis, apparently they did not sit too well either. Patek Philippe wanted to toughen the demands of the stamp, but in the face of the refusal by the Geneva Stamp offices, he decided to create his own stamp. In this way, the standards that Patek Philippe adopts go further and are more demanding.

Patek Philippe certifies that its watches with a caliber greater than 20mm have a deviation of less than -3 to +2 seconds / day. For those with a caliber less than 20mm, the deviation should not exceed -5 to +4 seconds / day. For calibers with a tourbillonthe requirement is only -2 to +1 seconds / day.

The standard applied by Patek Philippe for its watches is stricter than the one applied by the COSC in the certification of watches (Rolex is the maximum exponent of the watches certified by the COSC), but it is Patek Philippe itself that gives itself to itself. Its own certificate guaranteeing these standards.

Patek Philippe Seal

Patek Philippe Seal

And what about Rolex?

Rolex is another of the brands that do not certify their watches with the Geneva Seal, either by their own decision or by product philosophy. In addition, Rolex movements are manufactured in Bienne, so in principle they would not comply with the obligation to manufacture them within the Canton of Geneva.

Rolex certifies its watches with the COSC, the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute, created in 1973. It is the largest laboratory dedicated to the certification of watches in the world. Rolex is by far the brand that has certified the most watches with the COSC. The certificate guarantees that the watch has a deviation of less than -4 to +6 seconds / day. Watches that meet this minimum deviation of -4 to +6 seconds / day are certified as ‘Chronometers’ and can have it engraved on their dial. Other brands such as Omega or Breitling also certify their watches with the COSC. Although COSC is the largest laboratory in the world for the certification of watches and certifies one million watches every year, they represent 3% of the watches manufactured annually in Switzerland.

Genève written on the dial

Regardless of the Geneva Seal, some watches have Genèvewritten on their dial. To be able to include Genève on the dial, the watch must be manufactured entirely in Switzerland, and at least 50% of its manufacture must be made in the Canton of Geneva. The Bureau de contrôle des Montres de Genève is the body in charge of certifying and validating the use of this inscription on the watch.

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The Covid 19 and luxury watches

The coronavirus (Covid 19) has paralyzed the world. The economic impact worldwide is going to be very hard. Little by little we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, returning to normal and reopening business, but without the certainty of what will come. The factories reopen their production little by little, with exceptional security measures. But, there are no guarantees that we will not be forced to close again due to the possibility of outbreaks. Until there is a vaccine or the contagion rate worldwide is drastically reduced, we will not fully return to ‘normal’.

Given this uncertainty, markets suffer and the world of luxury and high-end watches are no exception.

The Swiss watch industry returns to work little by little. Despite the fact that in Switzerland the coronavirus has not hit as hard as in other countries, most factories decided to close their doors for security.

In mid-May, the large Swiss brands (Rolex, Patek Philippe, etc.) were already reopening the production of watches, progressively and with reduced equipment.

Big fairs like Baselworld, which was to be held at the end of April, had to be postponed. Even the new scheduled date, January 2021, has been canceled for the time being.

Brands like Patek Philippe or Rolex, announced that they were postponing all their news for 2020, so there will be no new models at the moment.

Many questions and few answers

Many unknowns and atypical situations for a sector that is usually very stable. The worldwide stock of high-end watches has decreased dramatically and although the factories have reopened, they do so at a lower percentage of their production capacity.

2020 is going to be a very bad year for the big luxury watch brands, but what about the second-hand market?

In an article on the Chrono 24 website regarding Covid 19, a world reference in the online sale of luxury watches, we can see that despite the fact that the market suffered when the global pandemic situation was declared, currently it seems that the situation is is normalizing.

In fact, according to this article, and always based on their statistical data, large buyers are taking advantage of this situation to invest. Faced with a more than certain lack of stock of new watches, demand for second-hand watches is likely to increase in the coming months.

In addition, in the absence of news from the major brands, the demand will focus on the great classics.

In conclusion, this can be a great time to invest in high-end watches. Take a look at our stock, and if you do not find what you are looking for, contact us, we can surely help you!

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