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Editorial - Gathering For A Moment Online

Editorial Gathering For A Moment Online

Dubai Watch Week’s Horology Forum goes digital.

The exact number of hotly-anticipated events this year that were obliged to postpone or move to a fully digital format will end up being one of those lost statistics of 2020. It’s a list that includes watch exhibitions such as Watches & Wonders and Baselworld (RIP), film premieres, sporting events (the Olympics!!), weddings, birthday parties, any kind of parties, family vacations (although I suppose that depends on your relationship with your family and your definition of “hotly anticipated”).

Over the last five years, one international watch event has emerged as the hands-down champion of watch community gatherings and cultural exchange, and that event is Dubai Watch Week. Whether you’re a brand representative, an industry journalist, a die-hard watch enthusiast or simply someone who just happened to have wandered into the event space and got caught up in the activities there, the response was always that Dubai Watch Week was the purest celebration and expression of our collective passion for beauty, craft, tradition and creativity in the horological domain.

In 2018, Dubai Watch Week (DWW) went off-site, exporting its popular and trenchant Horology Forum to London in what was meant to be the start of a biennial DWW calendar alternating between the fully-fledged event in Dubai, and an international “light” version consisting only of the panel discussions. The 2020 DWW Horology Forum has moved entirely online, which may be seen in one sense as yet another unfortunate corollary of the Covid-19 pandemic. From another perspective, perhaps the Horology Forum has found its most natural home. For many enthusiasts and aficionados, online watch forums were where they were really able to develop their passion and knowledge, to get in touch with like-minded people, to share news, to connect with a community without geographical constraints.

The first panel discussion of Horology Forum 2020 took place over the weekend, but there are three more to go and the subjects get more and more interesting, so don’t worry even if you’re only able to catch a few — trust me, they’ll be worth it. As someone who participated in three years of the DWW Horology Forum (both as a panellist and as a moderator), I can share with you that there’s no telling where the discussion will go, which already makes things about 10 times more exciting than any other watch-related dialogue going on elsewhere. The one thing you can expect, is the unexpected.

Read more about the DWW Horology Forum programme here.