In order to reduce the spreading of the coronavirus, two major Swiss watch fairs have cancelled their upcoming events – Watches & Wonders Geneva and Baselworld. With these fairs no longer on the calendar for this year, watch brands are scrambling to find ways to make up for the sales the fairs would have given them. Sales have been low since the outbreak of the virus in January; another area of sales that has stalled in the luxury goods market in China and Hong Kong. It is estimated that sales were down 80 percent in February and that continued low sales will result in a loss of about $40 billion that was projected for this year.
Bulgari has been leading a movement from various brands to create a new event, Geneva Watch Days, that would take place in April in hotel suites and showrooms in Geneva in order to keep to the strict ban on gatherings of more than 1000 people (to try to contain the spread of the virus). The Swiss watch fairs and watch brands were hoping for fresh start and revival of the fairs, after the low attendance and sales of previous years, but with the Coronavirus hanging over their heads it remains to be seen how things will work out for the Swiss watch industry.