Dubai Watch Week Wraps Up
The first Dubai Watch Week event took place over five days in October and brought together some of the industry’s major players to enjoy panel discussions, watch exhibitions and getting to meet the CEOs of major names in luxury timepieces. The event was organized by retailer Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons in partnership with the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève and Christie’s auction house.
Melika Yazdjerdi, head of corporate communications for Seddiqi, explained the reason for the venture. “From the outset, the idea was to show that there was real interest in watches in this part of the world and to create a networking opportunity for everyone.” Admission was free and the event attracted about 400 visitors per day. The crowd included watchmakers and collectors as well as journalists and auctioneers.
One exhibition called “Rebels of Horology” showcased the wares of independent watchmakers like MB&F, Urwerk and Greubel Forsey. The Art of Horology Forum featured over 30 speakers including LVMH watch division president Jean-Claude Biver and collector Claude Sfeir. Of course there was no shortage of timepieces to admire as 72 watches competed in the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.
One of the final events was a discussion on the “Future of Watchmaking” featuring Philippe Dufour, Giulio Papir and Jean-Marc Wiederrecht. Issues covered by the trio of experts included the use of new materials and the impact of smartwatches.
So far there’s no word on whether Dubai Watch Week will be back next year but there’s no doubt that the Dubai market is an ever-growing segment of the watchmaking industry, one that is currently responsible for the sales of $1.1 billion of the $24.3 billion total for Swiss watch imports. While some markets are still sagging from the worldwide recession, the watch market in Dubai has risen 8.9 percent since 2013.