For over 40 years after first opening its doors in 1917, the Schweizer Mustermesse Basel was dedicated to showing off Swiss-made products only. The importance of watches and jewelry to the show steadily increased from a special section to headline billing, and in the early 1970s the first European companies were invited to exhibit. Now it's very much a global affair, and Gizmag was amongst the thousands upon thousands of press, trade and public to zero in on the picturesque Swiss town for Baselworld 2014, eager to get up close and personal with the very latest in wrist bling and sparkling fashion accessories.
As I emerged from one of Basel's two railway stations on my way to the media conference, it was clear that the whole town was caught up in Baselworld fever. There were flags and posters everywhere, and the show's information booth on the tram platform was bursting with Brand Books, soon to be weighing down the goody bags of show goers.
Federal Councilor Ueli Maurer officially opened the trade fair at a press conference at noon on March 27, though many of the 3,500+ journalists and new media scribblers had already been busy at the booths of the 1,400 exhibitors for a few hours by then. Official attendance figures have yet to be released, but organizers were predicting public and industry visitors to swell easily beyond the 100,000 mark.