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Geneva watch fair cancelled in 2021 due to COVID-19, replaced by online event

·1-min read

ZURICH (Reuters) - The Swiss Watches & Wonders show, which hoped to bring together brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe and Cartier <CFR.S> on location in Geneva in April, will be cancelled and replaced by a purely digital event, organisers said on Tuesday.

"In the light of uncertainty amid the current health crisis, the Watches and Wonders Geneva Exhibitor Committee has taken the decision not to hold the physical Salon, scheduled April 7 to 13," the exhibitor committee said in a statement.

Richemont's watch labels, Rolex, Patek Philippe, Chopard, Chanel, Hermes <HRMS.PA> and Kering's <PRTP.PA> Ulysse Nardin, will instead interact with customers, retailers and journalists online, on the same dates, with other brands also invited to participate, the organisers said.

Swiss watchmakers previously held two big watch fairs annually, the SIHH in Geneva and Baselworld, but the Basel show was shaken by the departure of Swatch Group in 2019 and the exit of Rolex, Patek Philippe and other major brands this year.

Both physical fairs were cancelled this year due to the pandemic, but the SIHH, rebaptised Watches & Wonders, took place online.

Watches & Wonders organisers said they aim to lure more major brands to the 2022 edition of the event, which they hope to hold in person, not online.

(Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz)