Thursday, July 23, 2020

Basel Is The New Lausanne...

Hi Boys and Girls!  Let's hop in the WABAC Machine and travel to those thrilling days of yesteryear, and go waaayyyyy back in time to...
Courtesy of the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show
May 22nd or so, 2020! 

Now I realize, that was a long, long time ago, but if you scrunch up your eyes real tight and concentrate, you might recall that the brain trust behind BaselWorld decided that the city of Basel  was the culprit, and if they changed the name from BaselWorld to Swiss Watch Week, and moved it down the road to Lausanne everything would be "New and Improved!"
Courtesy of CBS
Which now, in hindsight, appears to be about as well-thought out as New Coke was back in 1985. 

Apparently Basel was toxic (high priced hotels, less-than-friendly tram conductors yelling at Japanese and Chinese visitors - in German, and $12.00 sausage from a street vendor across the street from Hall 1). 

Well, apparently now Lausanne is so last month! The shot-callers decided that, in fact, Basel is a GREAT location, and they would change the name again!  And HOURUNIVERSE was born!


I have to be honest, I had to double check the calendar this morning to make sure it was not April 1st, but no, there is a website and everything. So straight from the Bureau of Not-So-Great Ideas, here is the press release just as I received it -

MCH is creating a new concept for a global platform for the watch, jewellery and gemstone industries: HOURUNIVERSE.
Two months to listen, analyse, identify; and create. An innovative platform to meet today's needs. To unite and support a whole community that wants to regroup, make a new start and is receptive to change.

Open, modern, experimental, inclusive, user-friendly, interconnected, the MCH teams have put all their expertise and the feedback and input from customers and other stakeholders into giving birth to a new platform concept.

An extended ecosystem  

Live and virtual, active all year round, benefiting from the latest technologies for content, and for networking, the new platform is dedicated to players in the watch, jewellery and gemstone industries, but not exclusively.

The new concept is a B2B2C meeting point that places the customer at the heart of its focus, reversing the order of the past. The entire platform is thought out and designed around the customer. This applies to all players of the distribution chain, traditional and online retailers, including those of the CPO (certified Pre-Owned). 

Flanking them, the platform will build an extended ecosystem with watch, jewellery and gemstone brands, developers of new solutions in distribution, marketing and points of sale, and other players of the industry. A global, varied, interconnected, unified world.

A 365 platform, with an annual live meeting

Named HOURUNIVERSE, the platform will be digitally active throughout the year and will host an annual live show. 

A community platform that creates bridges between buyers and sellers and all the players in the industry, it is also a place that encourages exchanges, information-sharing, content creation, reflection through talks and conferences that also provide visibility for brands and their products. 

In April 2021, the community will meet at HOURUNIVERSE in Basel, Switzerland. The show will be aligned with the watchmaking events in Geneva, in the best interests of the international community which will only have to travel to Switzerland once a year.

The show will reinforce contacts thanks to new tools, the creation of content, a maximum of Touch & Feel experiences, as well as moments of conviviality, networking and fully integrated events. Along with this new customer-oriented approach, a new competitive hospitality concept will also be an integral part of the packages proposed, and those associated players of Basel life will not be exempt from this involvement.

The detailed concept of HOURUNIVERSE will be unveiled late August in combination with the start of marketing.



I can only assume that they have not read Tony Bourdain's seminal memoir on the restaurant business - Kitchen Confidential. While it does focus on the restaurant business, it is quite pertinent to the (sorry) shit show that is currently unfolding at MCH. I refer you to Mr. Bourdain's thoughts on what he referred to as: 
Owner's Syndrome and Other Medical Anommalies -
...when business drops, or fails to improve, he panics, starts looking for the quick fix. He thrashes around in an escalating state of agitation, tinkering with concept, menu, various marketing schemes. As the end draws near, these ideas are replaced by more immediately practical ones: close on Sundays...cut back staff...shut down lunch. Naturally, as the operation becomes more schizophrenic - one week French, one week Italian - as the poor schmuck tries one thing after another like a rat trying to escape a burning building, the already elusive dining public begins to detect the unmistakable odor of uncertainty, fear and approaching death. 

Now for the less cynical of you out there, A Blog To Watch has an exclusive interview, so if you're looking for a sweeter take on this slow moving train wreck, I suggest you head over there.

What to say? Well, I think that MCH is really not living in reality. And by that I mean that they do not even remotely fathom how pissed-off watch brands are, nor do they seem to remember how they screwed several brands out of thousands of Swiss francs that they could not reasonably afford to lose. They had no problem playing hard-ass with the people who were supposed to be their partners. It is, if I am honest, not unlike that abusive relationship. Your friends keep telling you to leave, but you say "You just don't understand! I can change them!"  Well, I guess we will see just how forgiving the people are who got hosed.  My guess? Not very.

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