HourUniverse Impression. Courtesy.
The Swiss watch and jewellery show had initially rescheduled its April-May 2020 event for late January 2021, due to the spread of coronavirus. A mostly physical event, HourUniverse will include an expanded indoor and outdoor venue space, with aims to attract and accommodate for as many attendees as possible while also offering digital experiences.
Baselworld’s bid at reinvention follows on from challenges that predated the pandemic. Like many trade shows, it has struggled to retain the interest of vendors and buyers in the digital age, as direct sales became an increasing priority. Baselworld, which has in the past faced criticism for stubborn leadership and price gouging, has seen exhibitors drop by about two-thirds since 2017, with big names like Swatch Group, Rolex and Patek Philippe pulling out. Following its cancellation due to the coronavirus in 2020, a group of hard luxury brands led by Bulgari established their own three-day trade event, Geneva Watch Days.
Owing to the warmer weather, the HourUniverse event later this year will include new venues to promote accessibility and networking between businesses, customers and media, such as outdoor catering and public entertainment areas, and a large outdoor square that spills into the host city of Basel.