The Show Must Go On
Here we are once again preparing for Baselworld. March has a way of sneaking up on my calendar and I never seem to feel ready for the show. There is a lot of preparation required for everyone attending and while my prep might be small potatoes compared to say, a watchmaker, I do like to be organized before jetting off. There are appointments to be made, logistics to be worked out and comfortable shoes to be purchased. Everything always works out in time except I have yet to find those comfortable shoes. Watch world problems, I suppose.
Sore feet aside, I love the excitement and buzz of Baselworld and look forward to it every year. Since I have the pleasure of keeping some of the best company in the business, I asked our team for their favorite Basel memories.
Roger Ruegger, Watchtime’s Editor-inchief. “Should be my 17th Baselworld. And so far I have lost three mobile phones because of it, the last one in 2016. On a more positive note: as you may know, Baselworld used to be one of my clients, which meant, for example, that we were able to access Hall 1 in 2010 a couple of weeks before the show opened. This ‘backstage tour’ plus all the info we got from the fair was in my opinion even more impressive than the show itself because you immediately realized what it actually takes to make this one week of Baselworld happen.”
Mark Bernardo, Watchtime.com’s Digital Media Editor, 11th Baselworld. “As highlights go, it's hard to beat interviewing and talking watches with Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2015, when I was among the very few journalists to get a sneak preview of his (yet to be released) Schwarzenegger watch brand. Hopefully those watches actually get released one day.”
Joe Thompson, Watchtime’s Editor-atlarge and watch industry veteran, 37th Baselworld. “In the early 1980s, with the Swiss watch industry in severe crisis, there were no press dinners, as there are now. Each night a small crew of English-speaking journalists would get together at a Basel pub. One evening, the waitress bringing the rounds of beers seemed particularly unfriendly to me. Each time she gave me a beer, I would thank her in my newly acquired German and she would glare at me. A buddy from Canada later informed me that ‘guten tag’ does not mean ‘thank you.’ It turns out that every time the lady gave me a beer, I smiled and said to her, ‘Good afternoon!’”
Minda Larsen, Watchtime’s Events Manager, 2nd Baselworld. “At the star-studded Movado party last year, a New York Times editor singled out and gushed over Joe Thompson. It was so neat to see two esteemed journalists recognizing each other’s great work. Even more exciting, however, was seeing Watchtime Publisher Sara Orlando freak out over Movado Ambassador Kerry Washington at the same event! ”
Sara Orlando, Watchtime’s Publisher, 9th Baselworld. “I recall being so awestruck from my first sighting of Nicolas Hayek Sr. during my first Basel show. He was simply strolling along Swatch Group’s massive booth taking it all in but the thing that struck me were his bodyguards! I had never seen bodyguards at a ‘trade show.’” This year’s show comes during a challenging period in the watch industry with many uncertainties globally. One thing is certain, the show must go on and it will. Let hope spring eternal.