The watchmakers & visitors are back in Basel

At least 1500 exhibitors, including 279 Swiss watchmakers, have gathered at Baselworld 2016 to showcase their best products

Salil Panchal
Updated: Mar 20, 2016 09:43:43 AM UTC

Life is not a template and neither is mine. Like several who have worked as journalists, I am a generalist in my over two decade experience across print, global news wires and dotcom firms. But there has been one underlying theme in each phase; life gave me the chance to observe and tell a story -- from early days tracking a securities scam to terror attacks and some of India's most significant court trials. Besides writing, I have jumped fences to become an entrepreneur, as an investment advisor -- and also taught the finer aspects of business journalism to young minds. At Forbes India, I also keep an eye on some of its proprietary specials like the Rich list, GenNext and Celebrity lists. An alumnus of Xavier Institute of Communications and H.R College of Commerce and Economics in Mumbai, I have worked for organisations such as Agence France-Presse, Business Standard, The Financial Express and The Times of India prior to this.

At least 1500 exhibitors, including 279 Swiss watchmakers, have gathered at Baselworld 2016 to showcase their best products(Image: Salil Panchal)

It's spring in Basel, Switzerland. The city -  where the world's biggest and most awaited luxury watches and jewellery annual exhibition kicked off this week - is vibrant again.

At least 1500 exhibitors, including 279 Swiss watchmakers, gathered at Baselworld 2016 to showcase their best products.

Each day, the iconic green coloured trams which take you to the exhibition complex near Messeplatz are crammed and fast food restaurants packed.

Slideshow: Attractive timepieces

"Ah, Baselworld is good for my business," says a street side candlelight and curios seller at a nearby flea market.

So visitors are back. And this is despite the odd whisper - which no one speaks of on record - that the strength of visitors from China is lower this year  compared to previous years.

The China factor, like in several other areas of commerce and business, is real. Most global retail business houses across the Western world admit that tough business cycles are not over and luxury watch manufactures globally have been no exception.

As we scurry from one product presentation to another and meetings to interviews with some of the most well-known and revered watch making companies, words like "reinforcing" and "iconic", relating to brands, are heard more and more often.

There is no hype. There is realism. There is innovation too, but without deviating from the core DNA which has made the brand successful in the first place. This is not the time to confuse buyers.

Slideshow: Chime & Again: Timeless pieces with music

The message - whether it be to the media, retailers and high income customers - is simple. Keep the faith.

In my next piece, I will talk about some of the most interesting and latest watches showcased this year, which are set to hit Indian shores in coming months.

The thoughts and opinions shared here are of the author.

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