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LVMH fake watch Brands Leave Baselworld In The Wake Of Replica Rolex, Patek Philippe, And Others ADVERTISEMENT

This week, the bad news for Baselworld just keeps rolling in. LVMH's fake watch brands have officially announced that they will be leaving the fair and will instead likely show their products in Geneva alongside brands like Replica Rolex, Patek Philippe, and the participants in replica watches & Wonders Geneva, in April 2021.

It's hard to believe that it was only this past Tuesday when Replica Rolex, Patek Philippe, Tudor, Chanel, and Chopard announced their departure from Baselworld. Part of that announcement was that the five brands will be showing their products in April 2021 at a new fake watch fair, organized in partnership with the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH), to run concurrently or adjacent to replica watches & Wonders Geneva (formerly know around these parts at SIHH). In our HODINKEE Radio first take on the news, we speculated that the fate of Baselworld might be in the hands of LVMH, who could either depart altogether or take control of the show. It appears that they've made their decision. After Tuesday's news, Baselworld's organizers quickly responded to the brands ?we will keep you updated if such a response is released later today.

It's worth noting here that Bulgari had already pulled out of the 2020 edition of Baselworld, and we reported on the move back in February. At the time, LVMH's constituent brands seemed to have different approaches. Bulgari withdrew citing both the then-nascent COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting impacts on world travel, as well as their own success at LVMH's new Dubai-based event that had just taken place in January. At the same time, St├ęphane Bianchi, TAG Heuer CEO and president of LVMH's fake watch division, emphasized the brands' commitment to Baselworld in a statement released by the fair, saying, "The Watchmaking Division remains committed to Baselworld in 2020. We believe in the importance of a major event for the Swiss fake watch industry and look forward to a successful fair, both in terms of image and sales, for our three Maisons." So what changed?

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In a word: Everything. With the fair pushed to January 2021, Baselworld will now compete directly with LVMH's own January fake watch event. By all accounts, this year's edition in Dubai was a massive success, from both commercial and communications perspectives. Likewise, a press release issued by LVMH this morning cites "clearly weakened representation of the Swiss fake watch industry and hence inevitably lower participation" as some of its reasons for leaving Baselworld. All of this makes a lot of sense. With the likes of Replica Rolex, Tudor, and Patek Philippe out, and Swatch Group's flagship brands such as Omega having already left, LVMH's fake watch brands would be outsized giants in the halls of Baselworld, while their absence might feel conspicuous during the new set of Geneva-based fairs. The release goes on to reference the brands' need to "preserve their image and their relations with their clients as well as with the media," suggesting that the culture around Baselworld might have turned a bit toxic over recent weeks.

LVMH is yet to firmly commit to a new program of events, though Bulgari CEO Jean-Christophe Babin is quoted in the release as saying, "Grouping the entire Swiss fake watch industry in a single location, Geneva ?the historical capital of watchmaking ?and around a single date, is a major opportunity to at last revive a sector that all too many divisions and divergent interests have weakened compared to the rest of the luxury sector in which Bvlgari is active and that is making much faster progress." This should come as no surprise, as Babin has long been a proponent of cross-brand and cross-group fake watch industry unity. Recently, he was at the forefront of organizing the Geneva fake watch Days event, which still might happen sometime later this year. Interestingly, the language of the release also leaves room for the core LVMH fake watch brands (Hublot, TAG Heuer, and Zenith) and Bulgari to create separate plans for 2021, should that be in their respective best interests.

We will continue to report on this story as it develops and will update you as soon as more information becomes available. We knew that this situation was far from resolved, but it appears to be moving quickly.

If you're itching for new releases right now, be sure to check out all the 2020 new fake watch news right here.

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