Baselworld opens in tough economic climate
BASEL, Switzerland, March 17, 2016 – Footfall was strong in the main watches halls on the opening day of Baselworld as retailers crammed into the stands to order the latest timepieces, but the global economic backdrop was fragile after a moderate decline in Swiss watch exports in 2015.
Francois Thiebaud, President of the Swiss Exhibitors’ Committee, said Swiss watch exports fell by 3.3 percent year-on-year to 21.5 billion Swiss francs in 2015, hit by the strength of the Swiss franc and a sharp fall in demand in China.
Touching on the reality of today’s gloomy economic and political situation, and the consequences for the industry and Baselworld, Sylvie Ritter, Managing Director of Baselworld, said the fair had felt the uncertainty of smaller exhibitors, which are struggling due to sluggish demand for their products.
She said, however, that almost all of the exhibitors who participated last year, had returned in 2016.
Ritter underlined Baselworld’s response in times of economic uncertainty: “Not deny reality, but remain optimistic and build the future resolutely,” she said.
Jewellers showcased their latest, most magnificent pieces at Baselworld.
Among some extraordinary examples on show at the fair, Kahn High Jewellery presented a standout 18K white gold bracelet with a total of 25 carat Fancy yellow diamonds and 28 carats of white diamonds in multiple cuttings.
The bracelet is a highly complex piece, creating extreme challenges for the artisan, because of the high number of intricately crafted joints.
It took many months for the artisan to carefully assemble each piece to form the bracelet.
More than 460 diamonds are set in the bracelet, which has a retail price of $200,000.
Kahn High Jewellery specialises in fancy colour diamonds and gemstone jewellery, providing certified top quality precious stones, combined with artistic designs.
UK jewellery designer Rodney Rayner, back at Baselworld for his 31st year, presented his informal Chelsea collection, featuring moonstones and diamonds, with an iron chain – perfect for the sophisticated woman about town.
Deakin & Francis were back at Baselworld this year, showing off a stunning array of cufflinks, including their signature skulls in humorous and colourful designs.
Yoko London presented a fabulous array of sumptuous pearl jewellery featuring bold tassels, inspired by Art Deco design, with precious gemstones, aimed at upscale retailers around the world.