Show Director, Baselworld
“Yes, Baseworld is getting bigger and grander,” says Sylvia Ritter, Show Director, Baselworld, as we corner her for an informal tete-a-tete during the week-long event. “We believe the climate of confidence engendered by Baselworld gives the whole sector a positive injection of energy.”
Baselworld is the pivot of an industry and has boosted the annual growth in the luxury goods market. In the last few years the layout of the halls and Exhibition Square at Baselworld has become eye-catching and attractive. “For the 2007 show, the forecourt, the foyer and the interior decoration of Hall 1 have been completely renovated and modernised. These innovations will create an upmarket ambiance and form the perfect backdrop against which to view the rich variety of brands on show,” says Ritter.
In fact, over the years Baselword has not just remained a major platform for the international watch industry but gone much beyond becoming the international showcase for high quality jewellery design, for pearls and for the precious stone sector. This year, around 2100 companies participated in the show, which was held in the month of April
“Our concept of dividing the Show into clearly defined segments and placing exhibitors in the halls according to their position in the market has really paid off and met with a positive reception from everyone involved, “ informs Ritter.
The Swiss watch industry exports nearly 95% of its production. Asia and Oceania take 33.8% of Swiss watch exports in value, Europe 37.7%, North America 18.6%, the Middle East 5.3%, South America 3.9% and Africa 0.7%. The Swiss watch industry today is one of the brightest stars in the Swiss economic firmament. Better still, during the last five or six years, it has taken the leading position amongst the country’s most successful industries, breaking its own records in exporting each year and going from 4.3 billion francs in 1986 to more than 10 billion in 2000.
As imports to India grows over the years and the country becomes a jewellery hub Baselworld is looking for more involvement of the Indian buyers. “We plan to have series of road shows in Indian cities soon to attract more buyers to the show and explain to them why visiting Baselworld makes sense,” Ritter says.
Managing Director, Seiko India
How large is the watch business for Seiko in terms of sales revenues and markets and people internationally?
Presently I don’t have the exact numbers but I can tell you about the consolidated turnover for the watch corporation for March for fiscal year of 2006 was 107 billion yen which is equivalent to 970 million US dollars. That is simply the watch business and that is around half of the total turnover of Seiko Corporation.
And in terms of number of markets and people, how large is Seiko’s watch business?
In seventy five countries we are exporting these.
And how many would be subsidiaries?
That would be only eleven and that is not including India, you are twelfth. It shows our enthusiasm our determination and our judgment as how important this market is to us Only in the major markets like US and UK we are setting up our own subsidiaries and those are the countries which are strategically important to us and India is one of those countries where we would like to have a direct control over what goes on here.
And how much of the Seiko’s watch business is in Japan?
The Japanese market is representing just about 30% of our international turnover.
What will be the main products for the Indian market?
We have three critical ranges for in India; Spring Drive which is in the higher end for the watch connoisseur, then the Premier Range which includes Kinetic which is a patented concept and there is Sportura which is associated with Formula 1 sports. In the season we will also bring out the Velatura collection. It will be launched across the world uniformly.