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Baselworld 2011 A New High
Baselworld 2011, the leading show for the watch and jewellery industries touched a new high this year and providing a huge boost for the sectors, and promising sunny days ahead.
By: Diamond World News Service
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May 4 2011 11:55AM
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The Baselworld 2011, the leading show for the watch and jewellery industries touched a new high this year and providing a huge boost for the sectors, and promising sunny days ahead. For India too, it was a special year with a strengthened showing both in terms of number of exhibitors and the manner in which the participation was planned. Diamond World reports.

An exuberant note from the organisers of Baselworld 2011 reported that World Watch and Jewellery Show closed its doors this year with an all-time high performance on most fronts – a total of 10,3200 visitors (up 2.5% over 2010) from 100 countries and “outstanding“ sales. There were 1892 exhibitors from 45 countries exhibiting this year. Not to be left behind, media presence was also at its strongest at 3055 media representatives (+ 5% over last year) from all different continents, no doubt helping to spread the word of cheer across the world.

The show, held from March 24 to March 31, opened to a moderate start, but soon picked up pace. While the traditionally active Halls 1, 2 & 3 which house the watch and jewellery companies and brands saw high activity, there were reports that Hall 6, the international exhibitor section, sometimes saw low traffic.

On the whole, however, exhibitors at the show reportedly expressed high satisfaction at the excellent quality of visitors and the business and real sales conducted.

Speaking at the Press Day, Jacques J. Duchêne, President of the Exhibitors’ Committee said that despite the political upheavals in Africa and the Middle-East in the past few months, “the watch and jewellery industry can look back on a truly remarkable year, and the indicators continue to remain excellent” and that “The way out of the tunnel materialised faster and more energetically than the market observers had been forecasting for us. But let us avoid the pitfall of being too certain of victory, even if at the moment we are able to observe our business activities developing extraordinarily well.”

At the same occasion Sylvie Ritter, Managing Director Baselworld said that even before it starts, all signs for show appeared to be propitious. “At the opening ceremony of last year’s show, we spoke about a year in which “the industry has been revitalised and there are fewer clouds in sight”,” she elaborated. “This return to full health has been confirmed throughout the whole of the year just gone by; so let us assume that 2011 is going to turn out to be just as positive and that the entire industry will thus be able to continue to progress.”

At the conclusion of the show, Duchene summed up exhibitors’ experience at the show saying: “We, as exhibitors, are very satisfied and have achieved highly gratifying sales. The expectations for this year’s Baselworld were exceptionally high – precisely after two particularly positive months at the start of the year. And they were certainly fulfilled. Given the current global political developments, however, we will be treating this pleasing and optimistic result with caution.”

François Thiébaud, President of the Swiss exhibitors reiterated that : "This was an excellent show for us. We achieved splendid sales, and we feel a great sense of satisfaction. Baselworld’s global reach has played a key role in this over the past few days." Whether it was the watch sector, the jewellery sector or the brands, all expressed their positive satisfaction.

However some reports from the fair indicate that while the high-end jewellery segment got a good response, low end, commercial jewellery did not do as well.

The watch segment saw the launch of new editions and collections, which met with good response, and companies exhibiting in this section expressed focus on Asia market specifically India, China and Middle East.

On a concluding note, Sylvie Ritter, said after the show “This was one of the best Baselworld (shows) of all times. We will do everything possible to ensure that we successfully establish ourselves at this new high level. Due to the construction work for the new buildings at the Basel exhibition site, Baselworld 2012 is being held from March 8 to 15, 2012 in Basel.

Responses to the show

Watch & Jewellery Segments

Jérôme Pernici, Marketing Director at Patek Philippe, said: "We were able to work particularly well here: it was an excellent year. We achieved record figures in terms of both buyer and media contacts."

Co-President of Chopard Karl-Friedrich Scheufele said “Baselworld …. is, and will remain, a focal point of every financial year for us and makes a key contribution to our sales result. We are highly satisfied with the sales we achieved and the customer frequency."

Tag-Heur’s Vice President Communication Françoise Bezzola, reported double digit growth for his company’s performance over last year.

Amongst the jewellery exhibitors, Christoph Wellendorff, Managing Director of Wellendorff, was particularly expressive at the excellent performance of his company. The show he said had exceeded their expectations.

On the back of their success last year, “Baselworld 2011 has opened up new options and opportunities for us in the Southeast Asian market in particular “ commented Giuseppe Picchiotti, owner of Picchiotti.

Managing Director, Christian Kurtzke of first time participants Meissen Joaillerie said "Baselworld offers us the best platform for opening up the markets of the future, such as Latin America. We have been able to engage in outstanding talks and are particularly impressed by the media presence here."

Loose Stones Segment

On the loose stones front, in the coloured gemstone segment, emeralds and semi-precious received satisfying response. After the high of the Homg Kong fair, loose diamond dealers were a little disappointed at the just about average response. However, Basel is not a show traditionally known for loose stones – it is essentially a watches and jewellery show, with the latter taking a second seat to the former.

Vishal Mehta of Dimexon said that large goods clean to SI all moved well. “There are changes in consumer habits,” Mehta pointed out. “The consumer is opting for better quality products which further drives the demand.” Dimexon mainly concentrates on Europe and Asian markets, and at Baselworld its target audience are european buyers, particularly the watch industry which constitutes a big segment of its business.

The strengthening of the luxury watch sector, and the trend for using diamonds in watches, which also represents value addition for watchmakers has led to the increase in the offtake of loose diamonds by the Swiss watch industry, which is consuming large volumes.

Avrahm Eshed of Eshed Diam opined that the atmosphere in the industry has changed a lot. “There is more confidence in business now,” he opined, however noting the lack of the kind of excitement at Hong Kong. “Here at Basel we miss the action like Hong Kong. In Basel the buyers are mainly European, Russian, and American. However, the visitors are the are serious buyers. Prices are almost 30%-40% up and they are almost at peak levels now.” Eshed said the future depends on the situation in the world in coming years. “I think we are moving towards the positive side and the future will be better. India and China will be the driving force”, he said.

Loose Stones Segment

On the loose stones front, in the coloured gemstone segment, emeralds and semi-precious received satisfying response. After the high of the Homg Kong fair, loose diamond dealers were a little disappointed at the just about average response. However, Basel is not a show traditionally known for loose stones – it is essentially a watches and jewellery show, with the latter taking a second seat to the former.

Vishal Mehta of Dimexon said that large goods clean to SI all moved well. “There are changes in consumer habits,” Mehta pointed out. “The consumer is opting for better quality products which further drives the demand.” Dimexon mainly concentrates on Europe and Asian markets, and at Baselworld its target audience are european buyers, particularly the watch industry which constitutes a big segment of its business.

The strengthening of the luxury watch sector, and the trend for using diamonds in watches, which also represents value addition for watchmakers has led to the increase in the offtake of loose diamonds by the Swiss watch industry, which is consuming large volumes.

Avrahm Eshed of Eshed Diam opined that the atmosphere in the industry has changed a lot. “There is more confidence in business now,” he opined, however noting the lack of the kind of excitement at Hong Kong. “Here at Basel we miss the action like Hong Kong. In Basel the buyers are mainly European, Russian, and American. However, the visitors are the are serious buyers. Prices are almost 30%-40% up and they are almost at peak levels now.” Eshed said the future depends on the situation in the world in coming years. “I think we are moving towards the positive side and the future will be better. India and China will be the driving force”, he said.

Baselworld on the Net and Mobile

Baselworld is stepping up its communications and visitor services through upgradation of its online presence and by launching free mobile show guide.

Apart from the website www.baselworld.com, Baselworld is also available on Facebook and Twitter. Those interested in the show now have the opportunity to engage in direct commu¬nication with the show as well as network with likeminded people aroud the world.

The new Baselworld App is available for iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry and other smart phones. Containing information about the exhibitors, an interactive 3D map, an index of products and Daily News abstracts, the Baselworld App proved to be a perfect pocket guide for visitors to this year's show.

India Makes a Strong Showing at Baselworld

In its strongest ever pariticipation, the India pavilion consisted of 55 exhibitors across all segments of the gems and jewellery industry covering loose stones and jewellery. The high profile participation was enhanced by a number of activities which had visitors enthralled.

It was not just another pavilion at yet another show. The India participation at Baselworld 2011 was planned as a 360 degree, well rounded participation from start to finish. This year efforts were stepped up as the Government of India had allowed The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council’s pavilion at Baselworld the use of the nomenclature “The India Show“, a rare honour indeed. This year, the India pavilion had a highest number of participants to date – 55 companies covering loose diamonds, coloured gemstones and a range of fabulous jewellery.

The Minister of Commerce & Industry, Anand Sharma attended the inaugural function of the show, again a first for any Indian minister.

Addressing the media at the show, Union Minister Sharma said, “Gems and jewellery forms an integral part of Indian tradition. A legacy passed from one generation to another. Today the Gem & Jewellery industry is a significant contributor to the steady growth of the Indian economy. The Government this year has entrusted the GJEPC with the task of organising the India Show at Basel World 2011 to not just promote Indian jewellery but to showcase India’s untapped trading potential at this global platform.“

The Minister held extensive meetings with high level players and delegations at the show. He addressed a meeting of the Swiss watch industry including representatives of Rolex, Raymond Weil, Blancpain, Chopard, Tissot, Tag Heuer, to name a few. At the meeting he invited them to invest and set up manufacturing base in India and also to retail their brands in India. Sharma also met Indian Diamantaires based in Antwerp urging them to establish their base in India, thus strengthening the move towards the government’s goal of making India the Global Jewellery Hub. He assured them that he would focus on the Trade and Policy issues that impeded them from taking this step.

The GJEPC this year organised a special gallery in Hall 2, showcasing the products of all companies in the India pavilion in Hall 6. Hall 2 is a visitors hub while Hall 6 where the pavilion is located is a little away so this move worked well to provide a glimpse of what buyers would see and to attract them to visit he actual pavilion.

On the evening of the first day a extravaganza comprising a fashion show, and cultural dance and music programmes was held. It had audiences enthralled. But what was more, a participants at the show were able to avail of some exciting entertainment organised bythe GJEPC every evening. Fashion shows and cultural programme were alternately held through the days of the fair.

At yet another level, a special restaurant serving Indian cuisine introduced visitors to some tongue tickling delights from India.

The GJEPC also launched its new International Corporate Campaign at the show. Woven around the though that India is the “art and soul“ of jewellery, it emphasises that India is today a leading design hub, not merely manufacturing centre.

Rajiv Jain, Chairman, GJEPC, said “India Gems & Jewellery exports are expected to grow at a whopping 35% in 2011.“ He added „“The GJEPC feels pride and a sense of accomplishment. With our participation at Baselworld, the Council aimed at increasing the trade intensity towards India. With the support of the Government of India and specially Minister Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma, GJEPC today is a step closer to creating Brand India and establishing India as the global trading hub.”

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