Swatch Group has called off their March watch fair in Zurich, Time to Move 2020 in light of the growing uncertainties over the 2019-nCoV Coronavirus outbreak.
The official announcement from the Group reads as follows: “Considering the uncertainty related to the 2019-nCoV Coronavirus outbreak, and in order to guarantee the welfare of our guests, partners, and colleagues, Swatch Group has decided not to hold the Time to Move event, which should have taken place in Zurich from March 4-6, 2020.
The Swatch Group Prestige brands will introduce their new products to the markets at a later stage during regional events, in order to prevent their partners to travel internationally in an insecure climate.”
The news comes in the wake of the World Health Organization’s Director General declaring, “that the outbreak of 2019-nCoV constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC),” (30 January 2020, WHO.int) and that “the Wuhan coronavirus spreading from China is now likely to become a pandemic that circles the globe, according to many of the world’s leading infectious disease experts (2 February 2020, nytimes.com).”
Many other regional events in February 2020 are being called off as we learn of Time to Move 2020’s cancelation. Business heads within the watch brands are expressing growing concern over the impact that the virus will have on industry. Bloomberg published in a report on 30 January 2020, that the Group’s numbers “fell to the lowest in a decade as Switzerland’s largest watchmaker faces a triple whammy from protests in Hong Kong, competition with smartwatches and the viral outbreak in China (30 January 2020, bloomberg.com).”