Google+ The Daily Jewel: Virtual Basel: BaselWorld – Impressions of the Halls


Monday, March 12, 2012

Virtual Basel: BaselWorld – Impressions of the Halls

Guest Post by Ed Estlow: Are you having fun yet?  Ed is back for day two at BaselWorld!!!  ...well Virtual Basel!

OK watch fans! I’m back for Day 2 of this virtual adventure through the horological halls of BaselWorld. Yesterday I promised I’d take a step back and try to give you an overall idea of the show.

BaselWorld is spread across six “halls,” or buildings set a few blocks from the east bank of the Rhine River in Basel. The halls are numbered 1 through 6, but they’re also named: the Hall of Dreams, the Hall of Visions, the Hall of Elements, the Hall of Sensations, the Hall of Inspirations, the… well, you get the idea.

These buildings are HUGE. Some are bigger than others, but they’re HUGE! And more interesting to me, they’re more or less permanently dedicated to BaselWorld. I have to believe other things happen there during the year, but this whole facility is purpose-built for watch and jewelry exhibitions.

I remember six years ago when I ventured into Hall 1 for the first time. This is the Hall of Dreams, the main hall where the BIG brands have their pavilions. There’s really no way to convey just how big these pavilions are. At a regular trade show, a booth might be as big as 20’ by 30’ – and that’s a big one.

At BaselWorld, the “booths,” or pavilions are perhaps 30’ or 40’ square (some easily two or three times that), and are typically two or three – count ‘em, 3 – stories high! Inside of Hall 1!

The first floor of most of these pavilions are generally open to the public. The second and third floors are offices and meeting rooms. Open to the public? Yes, BaselWorld is a public show. I was fascinated to see the occasional family milling around the place, sometimes pushing the stroller of an extremely young watch fan.

Here’s a short video to give you a sense of the place:

And here’s another video to give you a little better idea of what you might be up against if you accidentally pull your camera out of your pocket:

Now, somewhere in those videos you may have seen an escalator. Yep, several Halls have a second floor. Up there, some of the less-well-known brands and the up & comers have booths that are a little more sedate. Single-story, but still nice sized, and also fitted with private areas for client meetings.

Halls 2 and 3 are given over to jewelry, and I confess, I didn’t spend much time there (although my wife did). Halls 4 and 5 contain more watches, including some high-end boutique brands. Hall 6 is where many of the Asian brands – both watches and jewelry – call home.

Evolving in recent years is the BaselWorld Village – temporary restaurants and bars set up in the courtyard amongst the six halls. When we were there in 2006, this consisted of a single semi-permanent structure that housed a small café. You could get a sandwich and a beer or glass of wine, and you sat on the concrete side of the courtyard’s fountain pool while you ate.

Now…  well… restaurants and bars.

OK! That’s a brief overview of the venue. Tomorrow I’ll be following blogs and tweets – the REAL VirtualBasel, and getting back to individual timepieces that are jazzing folks (while dealing with a root canal, but that’s another story).

I’ll be trying to give you a sense of someone individually wandering the “Halls.”

Guest watch geek – er… blogger Ed Estlow resides in the Northern Time Zone. A self-professed chrono-junkie, he writes compelling story-filled copy for his clients from wherever he happens to be. Contact him at, on Facebook (look for NorthernTimeZone), or check him out at

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