Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons (AS&S) has partnered with the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) to announce Dubai’s first annual watch event, Dubai Watch Week (DWW). The global event is being held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa Bint Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice Chairman of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority.
The five-day event will be Dubai’s first major horological event, and AS&S says that DWW will celebrate the history, dedication, innovation, achievements and master craftsmanship of the world of horology. Dubai Watch Week will also function as a cultural and educational event that will highlight the GPHG Exhibition, and will run workshops and forums, in addition to private and public events, in an effort to engage emerging and established watch collectors on a regional and international level.
“The appetite for greater insight into the world of watchmaking continues to grow exponentially in the Middle East, which has become a key export market during the last several decades,” said Abdul Hamied Seddiqi, Vice Chairman of Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons. “Dubai Watch Week (DWW) is being established as a leading platform for education, debate and discovery into the world’s most innovative and covetable timepieces.”
DWW will also aim to nurture the art of watchmaking among new university graduates, and will include an internship and mentorship programme.
“The GPHG is very pleased to be associated with the creation of the Dubai Watch Week,” said Carlo Lamprecht, President of the GPHG Foundation. “It is a great tribute that Dubai and the entire Middle East pay to the watchmaking art, a flagship of the Swiss industry perpetuating the values of excellence, innovation and exceptional know-how, and to which we gave the title of 12th Art.”
Dubai Watch Week is scheduled to take place at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), from October 18 to 22.
Dubai Watch Week is an interesting initiative by one of the Middle East’s largest retailers, Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons. From what we know so far, the event looks to have more in common with the Salon International De La Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) rather than Baselworld, since DWW is being organised solely by AS&S, rather than by a consortium of the Middle East’s watch and jewelry retailers, in the same way that SIHH is mainly an event for Richemont-owned brands.
By partnering with the GPHG, which is an internationally recognised public interest organisation focused on horology, AS&S has given its event a solid dose of international recognition, and credibility. The addition of forums, workshops, and other horology-related private and public events, takes things a step further, and positions DWW as a solid platform to reach out to new and established watch collectors and enthusiasts.
The event comes at a time when the global growth for Swiss watches is stagnating; according to the Swiss Watch Industry FH website (click here), the total value of Swiss exports in 2014 was 22.2-billion, with the growth standing at 1.9 percent overall – exactly the same growth recorded in 2013.
Dubai, though not as large as the Asian markets of Hong Kong and China, has been a growing importer of mechanical watches over the last several years, serving local, regional and international watch buyers – the latter is thanks to Dubai’s burgeoning tourism sector. The appearance of DWW should serve to raise Dubai’s international appeal as a luxury shopping destination, and perhaps more importantly, should help to further drive the appreciation of horology to local and regional markets.
We are very excited to see what Dubai Watch Week brings in October, and you can rest assured that Horology Middle East will be on the ground to bring you as much horological information as possible.
To learn more about Dubai Watch Week, click here.
To learn more about Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, click here.
To learn more about the GPHG, click here.