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Baselworld restores industry “confidence”

Baselworld 2009, the biggest event of the watchmaking calendar, has ended on a high note, with organisers saying it renewed the industry's confidence in the future.

Despite a 12 per cent drop in visitors compared to 2008 and an attempt by a man to steal jewellery worth SFr13 million ($11.3 million) on the final day, the fair “surpassed exhibitors’ expectations”, according to the event head Sylvie Ritter.

The weeklong trade fair, the largest in Switzerland, attracted 93,900 visitors compared with 106,800 in 2008 and brought together 1,952 exhibitors from 45 countries (compared with 2,087 in 2008).

The fair “allowed confidence to be restored” and gave a boost to the watchmaking and jewellery sector, Ritter said.

“The week went very well despite a rather difficult economic climate,” she added.

The fair focuses on watches, jewellery and related offshoots.

Police arrested a man on Thursday who stole several items of jewellery from the fair. He smashed a window at a stall but stumbled and lost his entire booty apart from a SFr2 million ring. He managed to exit the exhibition hall but was soon caught by police.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR