Baselworld 2018, first visit first impressions
Travel and day 1.
I find I am at my most creative when I am on a plane and today is no exception. I am currently in the air somewhere over Germany on a Swiss Airlines flight to Zurich. Why you ask? Well as a watch brand owner and watch lover I am ticking off something I have had on my bucket list for a long time, something I’ve had on my bucket list for long before I started my brand Vulcan Watch Straps. And that is heading to Basel, Switzerland for the Baselworld 2018 show. I’m sure you know what this event is and what it symbolises but four those of you who don’t, it’s currently the biggest watch and jewellery show in the world which has been running for over 100 years!
Each year a good portion of the top Swiss watch manufacturers and top jewellery designers and manufacturers congregate within a huge conference centre to showcase their products and announce their new products for the future. It’s a watch lover’s heaven, Rolex, Breitling, Hublot, Omega, Tudor and Patek Phillipe to name a few showcase their latest designs and ideas at huge event which takes place in March each year.
As this is my first visit ever to the Baselworld show I wanted to document my trip so that anyone who is taking the trip for the first time can use this as a reference for how I survived and made it to the show.
The trip hasn’t started off as one of the best trips in the world, while at the airport I managed to lose my wallet which had all of my bank cards in it, d ’oh! This means I now have no money on me..... A bit of a nightmare when I am travelling to one of the most expensive cities in the world (Zurich). To cut a long story short I have called the bank and luckily I can head into a HSBC branch with my passport (if I don’t manage to lose that too) and draw out some cash for the trip. My next obstacle to overcome is to get from Zurich airport to a HSBC branch with no money, I’m hoping I can grab an UBER from the airport and then its major disaster everted.
I have 45 minutes left on the flight so going to read a book (Gary Vaynerchuks “Crushing it”) until we land and will update this blog with how my plan worked out....wish me luck....
So I had the worst possible start to Baselworld, losing my wallet as I mentioned earlier, couldn’t get any cash from anywhere so couldn’t eat for 26 hours until a friend sent me some emergency funds via western union (Thanks Rob) but enough about that story, it’s a day I would rather forget :) let’s get into day 1.
So I am staying at a room I found on air B&B which is located just inside the French border, I have to walk about 20 minutes to get the number 8 tram to Baselworld SSB. This is the main train station in Basel. I flew into Zurich and had to get a train from Zurich to Basel which took about an hour and a half. The tram stop you need for Basel is the Messeplatz and it can be reached on number 1 or 2 tram from Basel SBB (main train station)
Just one thing to note when you are planning flights etc., I would aim to be travelling through Switzerland during normal daytime hours as the train from Zurich doesn’t run all night, and the trams in Basel only run until midnight and start again at 5am.
I arrived at Baselworld at about 10am on the first day it was open to the public (press day is day 1) and it was a great first impression. The conference centre where the watch and jewellery show is located is an absolutely amazing work of art, the steel cladding looks really great and as you enter the building there is music playing outside, it’s buzzing with anticipation.
So I walk into the Baselworld 2018 show with my ticket I bought back in September and to my left is the Bvulgari stand, which looks really cool, to my left is the Tag Heuer stand in all its glory and to my surprise straight away I see Jean Claude Biver, the CEO of Tag Heuer and shareholder of Hublot. He was doing some interviews and press things so I left him to it but it was nice to see such as well- known face on my arrival.
Next up on the left was the Hublot stand which was again really impressive. They were showing some of their new watches on these rotating stands which had sensors on, when you put a hand near it they rotated and disappeared, a great security measure. I was disappointed that Hublot have released a “smart watch” though booooo!
I love mechanical watches and think the Swiss watch manufacturers should stick to mechanical movements and leave the smart watches to Apple and Samsung, but that’s just my opinion.
One brand who I have always liked are Zenith, I have been close to buying a Zenith on many occasions but haven’t pulled the trigger yet, their new offerings are absolutely amazing though, the Defy Zero G was my favourite check it out here http://baselworld.zenith-watches.com/en/defy/zero-g
The Zenith stand was rather impressive as was most of the exhibition stands there, the Rolex / Tudor exhibition stand is reported to have cost CHF 30 million! Which is £22 million! It just shows you how much money there is in the luxury watch world.
I managed to get into the Patek Phillipe lobby and met some really nice people in there waiting for meetings, I was offered a coffee and some water, so I rested up for a bit and drank the coffee and was on my way.
I used the first day as a bit of dash round really to just get my bearings and look at some of the big releases from Rolex and Patek etc. I was planning at looking at things in more depth on day 2.
Another top tip for visiting Baselworld is to wear some comfortable shoes, I made the rookie mistake of buying a new pair of shoes and they were the only pair I took with me, my feet were absolutely killing me by the end of day 1.
Day 1 for me came to an end in a really nice way, I was invited to the Bvulgari after party, and it was really amazing. They had an Italian guy on an acoustic guitar playing covers of all of my favourite songs, free champagne and snacks, I can’t complain.
This party was from 6pm until about 8pm, so I headed out of the main entrance back into Basel, there is a bar a across the street called “the piano bar” which is a nice little bar with great music and reasonably priced drinks, so had a few in there then headed back to my air B&B for some well-deserved rest.