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Springtime 2006 in Switzerland was unseasonably chilly, with recurring rain and even snow. However, inside the international watch trade fairs held there annually, business was hot, and their halls were as crowded as beaches in summertime. Vendors in both Basel and Geneva--the two hubs of the major shows--reported strong sales, especially in upscale and luxury watch lines, auguring continuing strength in that segment.
Of course, it isn't all watches. BaselWorld, while the world's leading watch trade show, also caters to the fine-jewelry market, with twice as many vendors as for watches, and is an increasingly important arena for the diamond and gem trades. Here is a recap of this year's BaselWorld highlights. (See p. 284 for a report on Geneva's watch shows.)
The BaselWorld 2006 watch, clock, and jewelry fair (March 30--April 6)--the world's largest and a bellwether of those industries' economic health--had its best-ever attendance and, according to its post-show report, was "extremely successful," topping results for 2005, also a record year. Much of the success was propelled by business in luxury watches and jewelry. "There is sustained high demand for luxury goods," said Rene Kamm, chief executive officer of MCH Swiss Exhibition, the …