For the third year running, Dubai Watch Week brings a welcome ray of sunshine to the watch industry in this month of November. The Seddiqi group’s vision remains unchanged: to make this non-commercial event a knowledge-sharing platform for the watch community.
The event has grown considerably in just two years, and this autumn sees it take things up a level, with a specially built facility on the attractive terraces of the DIFC (and nothing is done by halves in Dubai…). Some new brands are joining the party, bringing an additional layer of gravitas: A. Lange & Sohne, Dior, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Richard Mille, Vacheron Constantin and Voutilainen, to mention just a few. And, as for every year since 2015, there’s also a well-thought out and comprehensive programme of forums, workshops and events.
For 2017, the theme of the 16-20 November forum will be “Classic and Contemporary”. We’re looking forward to hearing more about what millennials are doing for the industry, in a panel discussion featuring Alexis Georgacopoulos, Director of Art & Design at ECAL and Kurt Klaus of IWC, and listening to Fabrizio Buonamassa, director of Bulgari’s watch design centre, talk about discoveries and inventions: Paul O’Neil (WorldTempus) will also be debating counterfeit culture with Mohammed Seddiqi.
Throughout the last couple of months when I had the RM033 around, event invites and travel programs worked out in a way that I ended up being on the road a great deal and consequently meeting lots of new people — largely journalists working from the opinion or fashion industry, but also watch business insiders. On these occasions, once everybody is beyond the “How was your flight?” Round of petty small talk, matters come to either complimenting the readily identified iconic watch of the person sitting nearby, or, if it seems interesting in any way, the ever-green silence-breaker question arises: “So, What Watch Are You Wearing? In Hong Kong I was greeted twice with “Ooh, you’re wearing an expensive watch!” Being yelled at me — and in other, more discreet settings, nevertheless everyone with anything to do with the watch business understood more or less what the opinion was. The Richard Mille RM033 is a completely different story.Soon after beginning his brand in the early 2000s, Richard Mille known and also great discipline followed the (not-so-)secret recipe into luxury watch brand achievement: be daring and immediately recognizable. I mean, just consider any among the most successful luxury watches ever made. Take the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak as a most fitting instance: that the Royal Oak was stupid costly in 1972, but had an outside unique enough that rich people consciously or subconsciously began (and very much continue) to gravitate towards it since they know or at least sense how the Royal Oak, like no other watch at the time and still few today, exhibits surplus wealth. For some enjoyable reading on a related subject, check out this article on the way the most iconic watches could be recognized just for their hands layouts.
The revival of classical craftsmanship and contemporary techniques will be the focus of the main DWW 2017 exhibition. © Dubai Watch Week
There will be open and wide-ranging discussions on the evergreen themes of customisation, technology, e-commerce and counterfeiting by brand leaders, collectors and media. Laurence Nicolas, who chairs Dior’s watch department (and who rarely speaks in public) will tackle the issue of design, while Julien Tornare, Zenith CEO, will explain the importance of marketing in plotting a brand’s rebirth. The outspoken journalist Suzanne Wong and Audemars Piguet CEO François Henry Bennahmias will debate the question: “Are grand complications a men-only club?”
This year the DWW will also provide an opportunity to extend the annual celebration of the GPHG, with timepieces arriving straight from Geneva after the ceremony. Delegates will also have chance to share the excitement of the sale room in an auction workshop led by Christie’s, dive into a mechanical movement with legendary watchmakers, and to learn the art of engraving, enamelling and miniature painting with master craftsmen. Members of the public will have completely free access to the “Classic & Contemporary”, GPHG and “Telling the Time” exhibitions in the DIFC and Dubai Mall throughout the week.
All you need is your plane ticket, and your local guide is sure to show you where to find the best street food.