The one unmissable trendsetting show Baselworld 2016 that unites key players from all sectors of the global watch and jewellery industry set the tone for the coming year.

Mr René Kamm, CEO of the MCH Group, is a special occasion that marks the start of the one unmissable event for the world’s watch and jewellery industry. As the MCH Group is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its first show, the Mustermesse Basel (Muba), this year, Mr. Kamm was proud that “Baselworld is a direct descendent, a ‘child’ of the Muba.” He explained how the show had evolved from being a small exhibition within the Muba to its present status as “the premier platform for the global watch and jewellery industry.” Reaching this esteemed position is mostly thanks to the commitment of the exhibitors whose very presence contributes to being the most important factor in the appeal of Baselworld, and Mr Kamm thanked them for “continuing to deliver state-of-the-art innovations and creations that will determine the trends of tomorrow.”

Ms Sylvie Ritter, Managing Director of Baselworld, remarking on the reasons why Baselworld is universally recognised as the global event for watches and jewellery, Ms Ritter highlighted a number of points that made this show unique. “Unique because Baselworld is the nerve centre for the watch and jewellery industry where the pulse of the business is taken; unique because the most prestigious brands, most influential retailers and most prominent journalists gather under one roof; and unique because year after year this is the birthplace of trends that will prevail for the following 12 months.” Touching on the reality of today’s gloomy economic and political situation, and the consequences for the industry and Baselworld, Ms Ritter acknowledged that Baselworld had felt the uncertainty of some exhibitors among the smaller businesses, those that might not be in a position to prevail in times of low demand in the mid-term. Despite these uncertainties she proudly announced that almost all of those who had exhibited here last year, are also present at this new edition. “They have faith in Baselworld and know that we will continue to move forward, continue to invest in the future, further increase the quality and attractiveness of this event to strengthen the leadership role Baselworld plays.” She underlined Baselworld’s response in times of uncertainty: “Not deny reality, but remain optimistic and build the future resolutely moving forward!”

Ms Ritter reaffirmed her faith and confidence in the industry saying she has “no doubt that the new creations will once again be all the news and demonstrate the amazing dynamics of these sectors, which enabled them to reach levels that nobody dared hope to achieve just 10 years ago.” Speaking for herself, Ms Ritter said she was as eager as everyone else present to discover the latest creations showcased at Baselworld over the coming days.”

Ms Ritter ended her speech with a vote of thanks to the exhibitors for continuing to deliver a plethora of innovations that make Baselworld unique.

Newly appointed President of the Baselworld Exhibitors’ Committee, Mr Eric Bertrand, welcomed all

present to the latest edition of the show. A member of the committee for 15 years, Mr Bertrand seized the opportunity to introduce himself and his extensive experience in all sectors of the watch and jewellery industry. “I have spent the whole of my career in this industry and have never ceased to be surprised not only by its continuous creativity and innovation, but equally by its ability to react to difficult situations,” he said.

Despite facing challenge after challenge, the industry has “always bounced back farther and higher.” And Mr Bertrand believes this ability is not achieved by chance, but much rather that, “these successes and achievements are the result of passionate people active in the areas of watchmaking, jewellery and precious stones, who give the best of themselves, their dynamics and their desires to allow people to continue to dream.” He defined his role as President of the Exhibitors’ Committee precisely stating, “I am the representative of all exhibitors, and I devote myself to this role with all the conviction that is mine.” Turning his attention to the show, Mr Bertrand said that during the course of his long career he had observed the “phenomenal evolution of Baselworld,” from a European fair to the leading and most unique event in the world; a show that has unwaveringly focused on quality over quantity. “Baselworld is universally recognised as the show of emerging and future trends,” he said, adding that “we have always welcomed large and small watch and jewellery brands, as long as they are representative and innovative.” He underlined the fact that Baselworld continues to welcome new exhibitors, “because the essence of Baselworld is to reflect the overall global market for watches and jewellery, and to reflect on what’s best.”

Mr Bertrand encouraged participants to take full advantage of everything that Baselworld has to offer, saying: “I would like to remind you that, in addition to being a flagship event for an entire economic sector, Baselworld is also a celebration, a unique rendezvous for the global industry.” Mr François Thiébaud, President of the Swiss Exhibitors’ Committee, commenting on the results of Swiss watch exports, Mr Thiébaud said that the sector weakened only very slightly in 2015 (minus 3.3%), despite the global political and economic context. Given that for the global watchmaking industry, the value of Swiss watches exported is by far the highest in the world, he underlined the fact that Swiss watchmaking has grown by more than 60% since 2010! Mr Thiébaud also paid a glowing tribute to the show saying that Baselworld is where “beauty and innovation are in the service of time.” He went on to illustrate how the show has evolved to its present premier position by reminding the audience that in 1917, the birth year of today’s Baselworld, just 29 Swiss brands exhibited compared to the 1,500 global brands exhibiting (of which more than 300 are Swiss brands) at Baselworld 2016.

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