Open Letter To Bulgari CEO Jean-Christophe Babin: I’ve Cancelled My Geneva Watch Days 2020, Now It’s Your Turn (But You Should Have Been First)
by Ian Skellern
Dear Mr. Babin,
When I first read the news last week, just days after the cancellation of Watches & Wonders and Baselworld 2020 due to the continuing spread of coronavirus, that you had organized Geneva Watch Days and it would run April 26 – 29, 2020, I thought, “great!” Plucky, upstart, “distributed” exhibition shows gloom and doom the middle finger, allowing us (journalists, photographers, collectors, aficionados, and retailers) to make use of our already booked and paid-for travel and accommodation.
And rather than a mind-and-body draining two weeks of back-to-back Watches & Wonders/Baselworld, a few days in Geneva handling fantastic watches was alluring, and I’m morally weak (one of the many reasons I’m not running a large company).
I’m slow, but it didn’t take long before my feelings about Geneva Watch Days turned about face, as it became ever more apparent to all that holding an international fair, even a small distributed fair, while the whole world was trying to minimize travel and personal contact, was wrong. See Geneva Watch Days 2020 Is On: Good News Or *Covid-19 Cough* Desperate, Short-Sighted, Money Grab?
But despite feeling that Geneva Watch Days was wrong, hope, stupidity, and self-interest prevailed enough to cause me to hold off on canceling my Airbnb in Geneva (just in case).
But the continuing spread of Covid-19 over the last few days — now Italy has shut down (and may quarantine) 16 million people in the industrial, money-earning north of the country, i.e., the bit bordering Switzerland (and not far from Geneva) — has extinguished that hope. I’ve canceled my trip to Geneva Watch Days.
I was hoping that you would cancel the event first and take the decision and uncertainty out of my hands. But you didn’t.
Now’s the (well overdue) time to say bye-bye to Geneva Watch Days 2020.
Regards, Ian Skellern
P.S. If it’s any consolation, from a business decision I think that Geneva Watch Days 2020 was probably worth the Hail Mary pass. Morally though, . . .