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There are watch events across the world throughout each year, but there is hardly any like Dubai Watch Week. Luckily, we were there to give you a firsthand report on the show.
Organized by Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, the largest retailer in the region, the third edition of Dubai Watch Week lasted 5 days. During this time, visitors, press, and people from the watch industry could meet brands, take part in workshops, and listen to panels from a selected group of experts from various fields of life. The event was open to the public, but the company made sure to offer a wide selection of programs for us press as well.
Many experts and master craftsmen held master classes in watchmaking, engraving, or decorating. Brands presented their latest models, gave us a glimpse into their 2018 SIHH line up, or released some limited editions for the Middle Eastern market.
As far as press is concerned, we met a wide variety of colleagues from around the world. Our friends from the US, Sweden, Denmark, Mexico, Switzelrand etc. all came out to take part in this amazing experience they call Dubai Watch Week.
Dubai Watch Week took place at the Dubai International Finance Center (DIFC). It is centrally located in the city and close to all major attractions as well as Sheikh Zayed Road – the backbone of Dubai. The event was outside on the premises of the DIFC but set around the major building, making it very enjoyable to walk from one place to another out in the warm Emirati sun.
Eleven different locations were set up around the DIFC, housing creative hubs, panel talks, exhibitions, and more. The two main halls hosted the brands, most of which are distributed in the region by Ahmed Seddiqi and Sons.
The selection included Breitling, IWC Schaffhausen, A.Lange & Söhne, Audemars Piguet, Hublot, Panerai, and more. However, brands not belonging to the portfolio of Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons but were keen to exhibit, also made their way to Dubai Watch Week. This included famous names from the industry, such as Grönefeld, Armin Strom, and Voutilainen.
The aim of Dubai Watch Week was not to sell watches, but to share our love and passion for timepieces and, of course, to offer another great event to bring people to Dubai. This provides great marketing for the city and the UAE, but the main goal was to bring people together.
The atmosphere was open and friendly. Everyone could approach the brands, walk up to them, and take a picture of their watches on the wrist or share a coffee with someone from the press. The selection of watch companies was worth a visit, but the people from Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons had much more to offer.
Throughout the week, those with steady hands could try their talent in a number of master classes. Watchmaking legend Kurt Klaus hosted one with IWC, and David Candaux, AHCI (Académie Horlogére des Créateurs Indépendants – Academy of Independent Creators in Watchmaking) member and master watchmaker, was also showing us the ropes of how a movement is built.
You don’t often see these people, much less experience their creativity and genius one on one. Not far from the master classes laid a huge chrome building, set in the middle of a fountain. The Creative Hub was home to product releases of the latest watches or UAE special editions from H.Moser & Cie., Zenith, and IWC.
The building also served as an event hall in the evening, and this was where we saw Hodinkee’s presentation about their story. Spectators could visit a number of exhibitions like the “Telling Time Exhibition” curated by the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie using the latest virtual reality headsets. In a tucked-away corner of the DIFC, the winners of the 2017 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genéve were also to be found. The exhibition had every winner from the prestigious award show in a mysterious forest-like environment – a spectacle on its own.
What interested most of us, aside from the aforementioned programs, were the panel talks. As I already told you, Dubai Watch Week brought a lot of different people together to share the same love for watches. It was also the perfect place to educate each other, share our thoughts on certain subjects, and hear what key players had to say. These panels were the most versatile talks I’ve had the pleasure seeing in a while. Watch brand such as MB&F, Moritz Grossmann, and the house of Bovet; people from the press like Watchonista and Revolution; retailers such as Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons; and master watchmakers like Mr. Kurt Klaus and Mr. Francois-Paul Journe all participated alongside many interesting guests.
I was keen to hear the guests’ opinion on e-commerce and how they see it shaping the watch world in 2017 or how Mohammed Seddiqi works in his family’s company surrounded by a large number of family members. The list of topics and participants was so vast it was impossible not to pick a handful of ones to attend. Great job, Dubai Watch Week. As days came to an end, we gathered with other press members to talk about the things we saw that day. Many brands also held receptions to showcase some of their watches or to spend a bit more time with their retailers, customers, and us press members.
The future is bright for Dubai Watch Week. Events like this is surely a rarity in the industry, which usually sees fast paced, sales driven shows where you run from one meeting to the other only to listen to same old cliché over and over again. It was a great honor to be there and an amazing experience. The quality programs, great conversations, and new friendships form the industry and allow us to bring you better, more objective content on a regular basis. Thank you, Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, for bringing Dubai Watch Week to life, and thank you to everyone who helped organize it. See you in 2020.
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