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Extremely positive feedback from Swiss Exhibitors

As BASELWORLD 2008 closes its doors, the first feedback from Swiss Exhibitors is extremely positive: well-filled order books, strong interest shown by the international press and a warm reception from the public and especially from retailers and distributors.

Double-digit growth
The first fact to note is that concerns linked to the sub-primes crisis were not felt on the booths. There is even talk among Swiss watchmakers of double-digit growth compared with the BASELWORLD 2007. As François Thiébaud, President of the Swiss Exhibitors’ Committee, pointed out, strong demand from emerging countries – headed by China, India and Eastern European countries – could well compensate for a potential slow-down in exports to the United States.

Solid foundations for confidence
Once again this year, Swiss exhibitors vied with each other in terms of creativity, building on the traditional values that have forged the success of Swiss watchmaking through the centuries. Several world firsts – especially in terms of display modes and tourbillons – were presented. As far as design is concerned, geometrical shapes, especially round ones, are interpreted in unusual ways, while a play on volumes and colours is cleverly staged on generously sized cases and dials. Daring gem-settings and meticulous finishing, combined with cleverly associated noble or innovative materials, were also key features of the new releases for 2008.

Far from resting on the laurels of their undisputed supremacy, Swiss watchmakers are displaying a spectacular capacity for innovation. Adopting a relentlessly pioneering attitude, they are not only affirming the identity of their own brands, but also perpetuating the time-honoured professions of the watch industry. All of which provides solid guarantees of trustworthiness for the public, as was confirmed by the extremely positive reactions of professional buyers during this edition of BASELWORLD.

Jewellery also holds its own
Swiss jewellery brands also have plenty of reasons to smile. Despite a slight drop in the number of American visitors, the order books are extremely well filled. Visitors to Halls 2.1 and 2.2 – enlarged and luxuriously refurbished this year – proved more selective and expressed highly specific demands, particularly in the high-end segment. Swiss jewellery designers rose to this challenge with considerable panache, despite the strong increase in the price of gold and platinum that could have proved detrimental to their results. In addition to these precious metals, gems – whether white diamonds or coloured stones – of all cuts are in particularly strong demand. Pearls are also making an extremely promising comeback.

Like their watchmaking counterparts, Swiss jewellery-makers are asserting their know-how and their excellence more strongly than ever. Witness the new and significant interest among French visitors who flocked to the Swiss booths this year. Meanwhile, Russians, followed by buyers from the Middle East, retained their status as loyal clients. 

Production running at full capacity
While the orders taken at the most important International Watch and Jewellery Show are to be confirmed, production facilities will clearly continue to operate at full capacity. The exponential demand witnessed over the past five years puts strong pressure on suppliers and sub-contractors, while new industrial processes are being developed in order to reduce production times.

As far as the related brands in Hall 3 are concerned, the results of BASELWORLD 2008 are also looking very positive. In addition to the many orders racked up, Swiss Exhibitors mention the promising contacts they established during the exhibition. As noted in the jewellery sector, there was a slight drop in the number of American and Chinese visitors, which was compensated for by the presence of a professional clientele with extremely specific demands. Europe – headed by Switzerland, France, Spain and Italy – therefore remains the key production hub for watchmaking and jewellery, while customers from the Middle and Near East are making a promising return.

A window on the world
BASELWORLD is and will remain the most spectacular international showcase for watch and jewellery creations. Its size, its attendance, its reputation and its global influence enable the entire industry to display over eight days the results of the work of several months – and even several years in some cases. The sheer variety of the booths and products on offer meets an incredibly broad range of demands, providing visitors with a fascinating reflection of Swiss expertise – an excellence that spurs emulation beyond national borders, which must be viewed as a powerful token of recognition! So it’s a date for next year’s BASELWORLD 2009, to be held from March 26th to April 2nd 2009.
 

BASELWORLD 2008 – International Watch and Jewellery Show
Dates for 2008  April 3rd to 10th 2008
Dates for 2009  March 26th to April 2nd 2009


Visitors in 2008  106’800 (+5 %)
Exhibitors in 2008  2’087
Swiss brands in 2008  458 
Gross exhibition surface area  160’000 m2
Net exhibition surface area  116’100 m2
Number of accredited journalists  2’981 (+ 8%)


Swiss Exhibitors’ Committee