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Baselworld 2016
By: Diamond World News Service
Apr 29 2016 2:58PM
Reference: 12961  

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Baselworld 2016 opened on a dull note after global exports of Swiss watches declined 3.3 per cent – first time since 2009. With interest waning in the luxury watches, it is time for the Swiss watchmakers to adapt to changing trends and make the best of the ongoing action in the smartwatches industry, reports Diamond World. This month, in our CoverStory read all that happened at the world’s premier watches and jewellery show.

As the Baselworld 2016 opened doors on 17th March 2016 in Swiss city of Basel, there was clear sense that smartwatches are here to stay and traditional watchmakers especially luxury watchmakers need to understand the growing popularity of the trend and adapt to the change. After several years of record growth, Swiss watch exports last year fell by 3.3 per cent to 21.5 billion francs ($21.2 billion), the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FHS) said in January 2016. Global shipments of smartwatches outpaced those of Swiss watches in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to figures released by market researcher Strategy Analytics; this clearly indicates how smartwatch have overtaken their luxury counterparts.

Opening Ceremony

René Kamm, CEO of the MCH Group, welcomed Swiss Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga, and said he was honoured to have her open Baselworld 2016. This being a special year for the MCH Group which is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its first Mustermesse Basel (Muba), Kamm recounted the history of the fair that marked both the start of the group and the birthplace of the modern Swiss exhibition industry.Paying special tribute to Baselworld, he mentioned his pride and delight in how the show had grown from being a small exhibition of Swiss watches within the Muba, to “evolving to its present status as the premier platform for the entire industry.” He stressed, however, that “maintaining this leadership role is hard fought for and Baselworld continues to consolidate and strengthen its leadership position year after year – a rare quality that needs to be underlined.” He also touched on the troubled economic situation facing the world and the industry, but emphasised his confidence in the industry saying: “Where passion presides, the will to overcome challenges will always succeed. And the watch and jewellery industry has the passion and resilience to deal with these challenges.”

“For eight days a year, Baselworld is the nerve centre for an entire industry that unites here to take the pulse of the business and discover trends,” said Sylvie Ritter, Managing Director of Baselworld. Touching on the reality of today’s gloomy economic and political situation and its uncertainty, Ritter underlined that taking a tour through the amazing corridors of Baselworld would provide all the evidence one needed to realise that “the sectors of watchmaking and jewellery have an outsized ability to react, to take into account new situations and to adapt. In other words, to maintain the momentum that has never ceased to be their own.”


As Baselworld wrapped up after eight days of intense activity, the first assessments shared by the Swiss brands indicate that despite the slight downturn (-3.3 per cent) in 2015, Swiss Exhibitors remain confident regarding this year’s results. The second semester should counter-balance a difficult start to the year. More than 145,000 strode the aisles of the show during this year’s edition, in order to admire creations and innovations by watchmakers, jewellers and representatives of related sectors. The wealth of the Swiss watch making heritage on display confirmed Swiss brands’ determination to continue cultivating their skills, convinced that they will endure despite a tough international context. Witness the impressive media coverage of the event and the constantly growing press exposure that makes Baselworld a firm focus of interest within the luxury world.This year, the show drew a record number of 4,400 media representatives (+2.3 per cent), and only slightly fewer participants than last year (145,000). Retailers and partners were on hand to admire the latest “Swiss made” innovations presented by the 304 Swiss brands taking part in Baselworld.

Indian Representation

The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council of India (GJEPC India), the apex body under Ministry of Commerce, Government of India, for promotion of exports of gems and jewellery from India, has organised Indian joint participation for the 18th consecutive year at Baselworld 2016, with 14 of its member exporters along with Council’s promotional booth to promote India Pavilion & other Council’s activities. In addition, there were several Indian exhibitors who participated on their own initiative at the Show and have made their presence felt. India, the largest manufacturer of cut and polished diamonds, gemstones, including Tanzanite and Emeralds amongst others, is also the fastest jewellery exporter in the world.


Baselworld, the world’s biggest watch fair, boasted of some of the leading watch brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe, Breguet and Omega, alongside high-end jewellers like Graff and Harry Winston. As per the date released by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FHS), global exports of Swiss watches declined 3.3 per cent – first time since 2009. Overall, for the watchmakers the show may not have been greatest of the shows, but it wasn’t bad either. The traditional Swiss watchmakers are facing the problem with the growing popularity of smartwatches. However, industry leaders opine that both can co-exist.

In their bid to connect to the younger generation, a number of Swiss watchmakers are responding to the trend of smartwatches with more established brands like Tag Heuer and this year Tissot joining the bandwagon to connect your watch to your Smartphone. Despite this, meticulously -crafted stunning watches remained favourite at the show. Some of these include Monsieur de Chanel, Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona, Bulgari Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater, Ulysse Nardin Grand Deck Marine Tourbillon, Jacob & Co. Astronomia Sky Celestial Panorama Gravitational Triple Axis Tourbillon, Hublot Big Bang Unico Sapphire, etc.


Baselworld is the place where one would find the trendsetting jewellery. This year, too, was no exception. In terms of trends, some of the designs and motifs kept appearing again and again. However, though the earlier motifs and designs were used, the innovative ways in which these were presented, amazed the visitors. Some of the jewellery had celestial motifs while some had quirky animal motifs.

Indian jewellery houses like KGK Entice, Amrapali and Diacolor presented their exquisite jewellery pieces at Baselworld this year. For the 11th year in a row, Entice (Hong Kong), the fine jewellery brand by the century old KGK group, participated in the show. KGK Entice showcased a new range of its masterpieces from its latest collections. Breathtaking diamond and coloured gemstone necklaces, long floral diamond chains and a huge range of chandelier earrings. Amrapali showcased Lotus Legacy collection, which has been crafted in 18K yellow gold, oxidised silver and embellished with rubies and polki diamonds.

Talking about his experience at Baselworld, Rishabh Tongya, Creative Director, Diacolor shared, “Baselworld has always been a very good platform to meet clients who are more like friends and family now. Overall, this year, there was less traffic during the show due to the economic slowdown globally and also it was even made worst by Brussels Bomb Blast. There were few buyers but there was no commitment from them. The demand for Gem Quality gemstones were there as compared to the regular goods.”

Artfully sculpted pieces composed of 18K gold, the striking choker, bracelet and ring in the Jacob & Co.’s Espada Collection featured a gentle, undulating curve reflective of the formidable power of the female form. Inspired by the jewelled splendour of the Imperial Romanov court, Fabergé Imperial Collection evoked the rhythms of the Russian seasons, whether literal or metaphorical. The jewels, in true Fabergé style, demonstrate an intuitive interplay of rare coloured precious gems, diamonds and pearls with superlative hand artisanship, to capture and reflect the changing light, colours and atmosphere of each season. Hong Kong diamond jeweller Coronet proudly announced its accomplishment of its second Guinness World Records title achievement for the most jewels on guitar.The spectacular art piece featuring 16,033 Swarovski Genuine Gemstones and Swarovski Zirconia was unveiled at Baselworld. A new line of Jermaine Jackson Fine Entice yellow gold chandelier earrings Jewelry was also launched at this occasion.

Sparkling Sensations

Mattia Cielo

Ghiaccio - The collection that blazed the titanium trail in jewellery, teaming amazing wearability with bold shapes, is here expressed in the distinctive modularity of the shuttles that rhythmically make up his jewels. Research pushes towards new techniques that produce gorgeously precious yet lightweight objects.

Jacob & Co.

Inspired by Andalusian Stallions and the ornate detailing of traditional Spanish tack, Jacob & Co.’s stirrup, or “Estribo” collection, offers a bold, yet elegant take on the exquisite adornment practices of Spanish equestrians. Translating the desires of the rider into the motions of the horse, the estribo is the key instrument allowing the two to move together in seamless choreography. By highlighting this harmonious link between man and animal in wearable form, Jacob & Co. honours the glamorous spirit, and long-standing love affair between the Spanish and their horses, with a captivating choker, earrings, bangle and ring.


Amrapali from India presented its Lotus Legacy collection, which has been crafted in 18K yellow gold, oxidised silver and embellished with rubies and polki diamonds. The outstanding necklace pictured here (in the right) features 170.60-carats of ruby and 2.45-carats of diamond.


The Autore Metropolitan collection explores the intricate structures of the contemporary world, combining the beauty of history with the magnificence of modernity to create timeless and luxurious jewellery pieces.


The success of the iconic Rose Brooch has prompted the creation of a complete Rose Collection that has become synonymous with Picchiotti: Diamond and coloured gemstone rings, earrings, and several important necklaces such as the Tower Rose with two rows of round diamonds and an asymmetrical cascade of Burmese oval rubies towered by a fabulous diamond rose, are just a few samples of this versatile, floral-inspired collection.


A rare collection of conscientiously handpicked natural pink sapphires combine with diamonds into one ethereal necklace. The necklace is crafted in 145 cabochon-cut pink sapphires - 379.15-carats, 905 diamonds - 32.61-carats and, 18K two-tone gold -168.91 grams.

Roberto Demeglio

Roberto Demeglio introduced an evolution of JOY, a bracelets and rings collection with a strong visual impact, a series of creations whose elegance is undeniable, an expression of luxury to be worn every day. Emblem of the collection, the lips ring, an elegantly sensual jewel faithful to the purity of the gold as a precious and eternal material, astonishes nd shines in shades of dark red thanks to its many rubies. Completely hand drawn, the design is inspired by the voluptuous and sensual lips of Angelina Jolie. The Joy ring is available in two sizes, up to 3,83 carats. Mounted on a spring and covered by hundreds of small rose gold hoops, the ring perfectly fits any kind and size of finger, a key feature for a practical jewel to wear every day, that maintain endless class and elegance.

Victor Mayer

Victor Mayer presented Tropicana collection consisting of lockets, produced with an unusual degree of craftsmanship. Perhaps only the wearer knows that these sleek pendants can also be opened. A clever mechanism inside acts as a frame for two photographs; each locket is a trove for personal memories. Expressive colour gradients in fire enamel are carefully applied by hand using the so-called Basse-taille technique. The artist creates a low-relief pattern in metal. Tiny bars of gold delineate each field, providing the overall impression of the motif. In two models the cool-looking, organic diamond pavée creates a dramatic contrast to the colour of the enamel. The reverse side of the lockets is equally adorned with enamels over floral motives.


From the pocket tool to masculine pendant – the MEISTER men’s accessories offer modern men an array of different options. Harmoniously the MEISTER design team combines titanium, named after the race of Greek deities, the Titans, with other metals such as 750 gold or the finest Damascus steel and other materials. A cool sense of aesthetics is demonstrated by 150–180 million-year-old, petrified wood set in titanium or fossilised dinosaur bones as an amulet.


With its Caleidoscopio collection, Chantecler wants to translate the natural richness and the colourful nuances of Capri through a spectacular piece of jewellery. The combinations are willingly bold and captivating in order to transmit Capri’s wonderful colours at dawn and at night, and the colours of its crystalline sea. At the same time the collection is a reflection of the incredible kaleidoscope of cultures, and diversity that come to this “pearl of the Mediterranean” every year.

Maria Kovadi Fine Jewellery

Created exclusively for Baselworld 2016, Animali collection explores the charm and the magic of the animal world in an ironic way, with a modern take on the classic creatures. Playful animals in this mesmerising collection not only represent life mysteries and ancient wisdom but also carry various positive symbolic associations.

Polina Sapouna-Ellis

Polina Sapouna-Ellis presented her New Tethrippon Collection in Baselworld 2016. Tethrippon Collection is inspired by an amazing sculpture of Classical period in the Museum of Acropolis. Polina’s individually handcrafted jewellery is mostly inspired by the austere simplicity of the Doric style and the geometric motifs of ancient Greek art. It evokes ancient pieces, yet encompasses both modern and futuristic elements, forming her unique and authentic signature.


The Monochrome Collection, by Bayco, consists of jewels designed around the concept that each piece be crafted using one specific colour, therefore creating a simple yet elegant way for a woman to express herself. The concept behind The Monochrome Lotus Collection is creating a large and beautiful jewel around a smaller gem-quality center stone using the monochromatic style. Diamonds are then used to accentuate the shape of the jewel, therefore balancing the final look of the piece.


Boucheron Couture 2016 marks the addition of larger scale designs including more animal motifs such as these 18 carat white gold, diamond and black lacquer Hirunda earrings. Other pieces include a rose gold hedgehog cuff, swan bracelets and parrot earrings. The bracelet Cypris, the swan, seems full of movement thanks to the precision of the engraving that creates different layers of plumage. Cypris, the swan bracelets offer the possibility of being worn together, head to tail on the wrist, so that their sumptuous feathers interplay and transform themselves into a single, magnificent set.

Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein’s Beyond collection is inspired by planetary orbit. This sleek and progressive jewellery set is cast in polished stainless steel for a futuristic look.


The Emotion Collection, infused with intense colour, explores the intellectual and artistic richness of Fabergé’s world. These bold and daring jewels push the boundaries of design and craftsmanship in true Fabergé spirit.

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