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Editorial - Our Moment In The Sun

Editorial Our Moment In The Sun

Bringing new light to the watch world

Much to our lasting regret, the 2021 edition of Dubai Watch Week has come to an end. Five splendid sun-drenched days of friendship and watch activities in the heart of the emirate’s financial district, a weeklong expression of the passionate community of watch lovers. But wait, I hear you say, hasn’t that always been what Dubai Watch Week is about? Yes, you’re right. It has. But something else happens when you plant the seeds of something truly special under the sun. That “something else” is growth.

In terms of visitor numbers, Dubai Watch Week has gone from an estimated 2,500 visitors in 2015 to 3,000 in 2016 and then 6,000 in 2017. In 2019, when the organising team started tracking visitor traffic more precisely, that number rose to 9,041. This year, those figures were exceeded by the fourth day of the five-day event, and that’s not counting the audiences following along at home, audiences such as you, my dear WorldTempus family.

As for brand presence, Dubai Watch Week has increased its number of participating brands year on year too. There were 14 brands exhibiting brands at the first DWW in 2015, focusing mainly on the so-called indie brands that have become today’s household names in the horological domain. That was followed by 33 brands in 2016 and 40 in 2017.

In 2019, 42 brands exhibited at Dubai Watch Week, a number that included for the first time Rolex. It was the first time that Rolex had ever participated in this type of regional event — but of course DWW was no longer strictly a regional event by that time. It was global. Its reach was global, and it had held an off-site edition in London in 2018. This year, 49 brands showcased their creations at DWW.

These figures tell an exceptional story of growth, but the evolution of Dubai Watch Week is much more than mere numbers on a page. This year, the Collectors Lounge was launched, a space dedicated to the community that sustains us and hosting talks and discussions centred on the fascinating world of watch collecting. On a warm Friday evening, that space was filled with a group of people who have long been overlooked and under-served by the watch industry — women watch buyers and watch lovers. During that session, conceived and led by Watch Femme (an association I co-founded with two other women from the watch world, Laetitia Hirschy and Nathalie Veysset), these women delighted us all with their sophisticated knowledge and understanding of watches. 

It might seem unnecessary to state that women collectors and buyers appreciate and understand watches as well as any of their male equivalents. In fact, my experience is that it is sometimes necessary to state the obvious, because what’s obvious to me (and to nearly every other woman I’ve spoken to in the watch world) is rarely acknowledged or acted upon by watch brands. Having a women-focused event at Dubai Watch Week is hopefully a significant step towards a more gender-inclusive horological scene.

After all this discussion of change and growth, there’s one last thing that remains to be said. I’ve been privileged to attend this event since 2016, and I can tell you that the thing that amazes me the most about DWW is how how much it has grown and yet how little it has deviated from its original purpose. Despite getting bigger and bigger each edition, the event and the team behind it have managed to hang on to something infinitely precious — the warmth and family-style welcome that awaits every single DWW visitor. I come from Singapore and I live in Geneva. But I will always feel at home at Dubai Watch Week.

Keep growing, Dubai Watch Week. I hope you never change. See you in 2023.

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