HourUniverse – Baselworld Reborn

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The watch industry get-together known as Baselworld died of its own weight. (Click here for our coverage.) The show’s organizers and local hotels bled the industry dry. Baselworld also died of its own wait. It ran into the brick wall known as Coronageddon – even as major players bailed (e.g., Swatch, LMVH, Rolex, Patek Philippe, Chopard and Chanel). As Heather O’Rourke famously declared, they’re baaack! As the artist now known as HourUniverse . . .

HourUniverse is scheduled for April 8-12, 2021 in Basel, Switzerland. The organizers chose the dates to jibe with Watches & Wonders in Geneva (April 25-29). HourUniverse doesn’t appear to be much different from the old show.

An urban tech atmosphere, connected, trendy, graphics, black walls, LED screens, modern industrial decoration, resolutely contemporary aesthetics and design, all of which creates a new atmosphere, while maintaining top quality, for the watch, jewellery and gems industries.

HourUniverse high heels

Open spaces, pop-up stores, pavilions, multiple experience zones, initiation workshops, themed exhibitions, collectors’ corners and sales area, a forum with a programme of conferences and debates streamed live available to brands and exhibitors, start-ups and suppliers of new technologies, to reflect on the major challenges and demands of the industry… the show is conceived as a grand festival of networking and experiences.

The “collector’s corner” idea hints that HourUniverse may be open to the general public. That would be a huge mistake; industry folk don’t want to the gen pop pouring over its inventory. On the positive side, HourUniverse is following Watches & Wonders’ lead, going all-in on online.

The biggest change: vastly reduced prices for show floor space. And vastly reduced floor space. Hall 1’s your lot mate.

HourUniverse in theory

For participants, the pricing policy has been drastically adjusted to allow them a particularly competitive ROI (Return on Investment), ‘investments à la carte’, adapted to their business, size, scope, expectations and needs. Similarly, the accommodation offered for exhibitors and visitors alike will be at guaranteed ultra-competitive prices without precedent.

Baselworld 2.0 launched without naming a single exhibitor. Despite the bargain basement price promise, I’m thinking this is far from a done deal. A sign of desperation? That too.

The MCH Group is still running the new old show, and boy do they need HourUniverse to be a success. simplywallstreet.com:

MCH Group
Courtesy simplywallstreet.com (click on image for link)

 The consensus from MCH Group’s solo analyst is for revenues of CHF195m ($211,657,446) in 2020, which would reflect a sizeable 55% decline in sales compared to the last year of performance. Per-share losses are expected to explode, reaching CHF9.41 per share.

However, before this estimates update, the consensus had been expecting revenues of CHF253m ($274,555,347) and CHF3.20 per share in losses. Ergo, there’s been a clear change in sentiment, with the analyst administering a notable cut to this year’s revenue estimates, while at the same time increasing their loss per share forecasts.

Baselworld – once the premier showcase and schmoozefest for the watch industry – has morphed into a low-cost alternative for – and second fiddle to – Watches & Wonders. HourUniverse’s motto is “It’s We Time.” What does that tell you about it future prospects?

2 COMMENTS

  1. What is it with companies and the universe? We have no idea what markets exist outside our solar system. Besides, Baselworld is a well established world (yes world) famous brand, keeping in mind that there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

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