For five days in March, the Messeplatz exhibition space in Basel, Switzerland hosted Baselworld, the watch industry’s biggest annual fair. While there was plenty of trepidation leading up to this year’s edition following Swatch Group’s surprising announcement that it would be pulling its dozen or so famous watch brands from the show, the fair’s management kept calm and carried on—albeit on a much smaller scale.
In fact, the loss of Baselworld anchor brands like Omega, Longines, Blancpain, Breguet, and Tissot, is a continuation of the mass exodus of participants the show has witnessed over recent years. Baselworld 2019 had just over 500 exhibitors, which pales in comparison to the 2,000 companies that participated less than a decade ago.
Despite the slowdown, Baselworld is still ticking along thanks in large part to the loyalty of top brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe, and LVMH. What’s more, with so many absentees, smaller brands and independent watchmakers benefitted from more attention from both visitors and the media. So with that, here is our recap of Baselworld 2019’s biggest trends and most talked about watch releases.
**All images featured are copyright & courtesy of the respective brands**