Coronavirus Kills Time to Move Swatch Summit

Time to Move

“Considering the uncertainty related to the 2019-nCoV Coronavirus outbreak, and in order to guarantee the welfare of our guests, partners, and colleagues, Swatch Group has decided not to hold the Time to Move event.” That’s the email terminating the Swatch’s spring “summit.” This tells us . . .

what we already knew: the SWATCH group’s 18 watch brands are heavily invested in China. You might even say they bet the company’s future on it. To the point where the conglomerate must figure if Chinese retailers can’t make the Time to Move corporate schmoozefest, there’s no point having it.

Swatch group HQ

Swatch will save a big chunk of change by cancelling the event, although I wouldn’t want to be the one calling Zurich hotels and restaurants to negotiate cancellation fees. The Swiss are a stoic lot – they’ll get over it. Not so much the 200+ horological “journalists” preparing to feed at Swatch’s all-expenses-paid luxury Swiss trough. They can’t bite the hands that feeds – they’ll get over it.

Swatch’s plan B: bring the mountain to Mohammed. The Swiss horological goliath announced it will debut new models from its prestige brands  – Breguet, OMEGA, Harry Winston, Blancpain, Glashütte Original, Jaquet Droz, Léon Hatot – at regional events. Which certainly won’t include China and may not include key Asian markets like Singapore, depending on the virus’ spread.

So it’s time to move Time to Move. The main loss: the Zurich event was to include tours of Swatch group production facilities and meetings with the corporate execs from all across the Swatch corporate landscape on their own turf. Execs who can’t afford to fly hither and yon to press the flesh. I can’t image Swatch’s marketing mavens are happy campers today.

Baselworld

The [now-ironically named] Time to Move event was set to be the Swatch Group’s two-fingered salute to the Baselworld watch and jewelry industry get-together. It’s now nothing more than an actual Swatch. Hang on. There’s no way the organizers of Baselworld would cancel, is there?

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