Remember the days when all we had to complain about was the price a pint with a sausage in the crummy bars around Baselworld?

Those memories are beginning to take on a distinctly rose-tinted hue as we head towards another year without major trade fairs in Switzerland now that Watches and Wonders Geneva has been cancelled as a physical show.

HourUniverse, run by Baselworld owner MCH Group, is still slated to take place from April 8 to 12 in Basel, and Inhorgenta in Munich, which was the only major trade fair to take place this year thanks to its pre-pandemic slot in February, is also still hoping it can take place in April 2021, but both of these shows have to be in doubt.

Another spring without the world’s biggest watchmakers putting on a show of prestige, opulence and drama fills me with dread, not least because fatigue for web-based meetings and press conferences is now morphing into abject misery.

A few months working from home flew by earlier this year, but I returned to WatchPro’s London office in the summer and refuse to be locked in again. We are told only to go into offices if it is deemed essential. I do not feel I can operate effectively without my colleagues around me, so the office is essential to me.

Everybody I speak to in the watch industry feels the same way. This is a people-based business that thrives on collaboration with co-workers and relationships between manufacturers, brands, wholesalers, retailers and customers.

These relationships atrophy over time, and by next summer it will be well over a year since the community came together in any meaningful way. That is emotionally draining and bad for business.

We need group therapy.

The virus must be taken seriously, but once this winter surge abates, hopefully with the help of vaccines, I am certain the industry will want to come together to share their experiences, learn from each other and renew friendships that are the bedrock of our business.

I feel the need for a group hug and hope that by next summer it will be possible to meet, eat, drink and mull the future of our cherished community. A WatchPro summer barbecue, perhaps?


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