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Dubai Watch Week
Dubai Watch Week - A benchmark event

Dubai Watch Week A benchmark event

A look back at a hectic but highly informative and constructive visit to the Dubai Watch Week 2016.

The Dubai Watch Week, organized by retailer Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, brings together brand representatives, collectors, journalists and many other experts from the watch industry for a week of frank discussion, creative workshops and new product launches, in parallel with a huge exhibition on the history of watchmaking inside the even huger Dubai Mall.

The latest products
During the week I saw the new MCT Sequential One with Vantablack. It’s one of those watches that you really need to see to appreciate the uniqueness of Vantablack, which is the blackest material known to man (the only thing in the universe that is blacker is a black hole). Anish Kapoor has the worldwide licence for using this material in watches and jewellery – hence the collaboration with MCT Watches.

mct sequential one

Only a handful of the FB1 chronometer by Ferdinand Berthoud that won the Aiguille d’Or at this year’s GPHG are produced each year, but there were nevertheless three examples on show during the week: one as part of the exhibition of all the GPHG winners, another on the Ferdinand Berthoud stand and a third at the Seddiqi store in the Dubai Mall. Since Chopard CEO and Ferdinand Berthoud owner Karl-Friedrich Scheufele attended the event as a speaker, I also had the chance to see and hear the brand-new L.U.C Full Strike minute repeater by Chopard, which adds a literal touch to the notion of crystal-clear sound with its sapphire crystal hammers and gongs.

On the subject of minute repeaters I also saw a new carbon-coated titanium version of Bulgari’s Carillon Tourbillon (see our Instagram feed) and, in another discovery that is not apparent on a mere photo, saw the “gills” that help propagate the sound on Bulgari’s record-breaking Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater.

Baume & Mercier used the Dubai Watch Week to launch its new Clifton Perpetual Calendar model, while HYT presented a Skull model in collaboration with Guns’n’Roses singer Axl Rose and IWC launched a model with genuine Arabic numerals on the dial in aid of the Al Jalila Foundation Dubai.

iwc-portugieser-chronographe-edition-seddiqi-al-jalila-fondation-dubai

Talking shop
The Dubai Watch Week is above all a chance to listen and learn, whether at the master classes given by the best independent watchmakers, the creative hubs hosted by brands, or the panel discussions on a variety of subjects. It was also an opportunity to talk to leading industry figures on the significant events of the year. I had the chance to talk to FHH President Fabienne Lupo on the changes at the SIHH 2017 and the Foundation’s desire to open up the industry to the public, as well as Karl-Friedrich Scheufele on the significance of winning the Aiguille d’Or and Mohammed Seddiqi  of the organisers on the future of the exhibition.

Dubai-watch-week

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What they said…

François-Henry Bennahmias, CEO, Audemars Piguet
“It’s my first time here and I think it’s quite extraordinary that a retailer had taken so much time and invested so much in watchmaking. Yes, it benefits him, but it also benefits all the brands that are present here. I say well done because very few people on the planet do this. And I think this is just the start so I look forward to seeing it develop.

Stephen Forsey
“Already in the second edition it’s a unique platform for the watch community. And I prefer the word community to industry because we have major brands, independent watchmakers, bloggers, journalists, designers, auction houses and retailers all here and just listening to the panels it was interesting to see a rich exchange. This is actually quite unique and it’s a fresh approach.”

Romain Gauthier
“I’m very happy with the Dubai Watch Week because it is the first time we have exhibited in the Middle East. We don’t have a point of sale and our aim was to see how things go here. I think now was the right time because we have a wider collection that covers more tastes. "

Pierre Jacques, CEO MCT Watches
“Dubai Watch Week is the place to be! Everyone from the watch industry is here and it has a great education platform. It is a great platform for us.”

Pascal Raffy, owner of Bovet
“After 20 hours on a plane and only four hours of sleep I cannot simply invent the energy that I feel at the Dubai Watch Week. I feel at home and that is not something you can invent, it’s something you have to experience. Everybody here seems at ease because you have this air of credibility and it feels good.”
 

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