Building Baselworld: How To Put Together The World’s Largest Watch Fair

When visiting Baselworld, you cannot help but be impressed by the booths of the different brands. Booth is, in fact, a highly inadequate word for something that is nothing short of a flagship boutique, build for only eight days.

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Building Baselworld is very close to a military operation. In a limited time all the booths, from all the different brands, need to be built. Especially in Hall 1, this is quite a challenge. All the booths there have several floors and are often architectural delights.

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These designs can go to the extreme, such as the de Grisogono booth features a two-story waterfall, Hublot has a massive video screen dominating the front of their stand, and Bulgari’s is covered in metal colored louvers.

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Inside there is also a lot of work to be done. Not only does the booth need to reflect the style of the brand, but it also needs to fulfill a wide variety of functions. Especially in Hall 1 most booths come with a full kitchen, capable of putting out culinary delights a high-end restaurant should not have to be ashamed of.

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Most also include a bar, Zenith’s booth even has a barber shop, as well as various offices for marketing and PR staff, not to forget the luxurious waiting rooms for the people waiting for their appointments. Also, all these furniture and decorations need to be moved in, not to forget phone systems and computers. And with booths this large, you also don’t need to forget ventilation, and in some cases even air conditioning and heating systems.

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Safety is another important issue. Especially when you have multiple floors and full-service kitchens, everything needs to be right. This goes further than just assembling the booth like an Ikea closet: electricians make sure the entire booth is wired correctly, security cameras are being put in place, as are the smoke detectors. While painters apply the finishing touches,  a project manager rigorously checks to see if deadlines are being met and if everything is up to the brand’s standards.

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During the fair, the booths will be going through a period of very intense use, with a lot of people working there on a daily basis, and even more, visitors coming in and out. They will all be emerged into the world of the brand, as represented by the booth.

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When the last visitors have left, the whole process starts in reversed order. The booths are being carefully dismantled and packed, after which they are tucked off to storage, waiting for the next edition of the fair.

Special thanks to Roderich Hess for kindly allowing the use of his photo’s

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