Dubai Watch Week 2019 will be held from November 20-24 (in Dubai, UAE), and aBlogtoWatch will once again be there. I attended the debut Dubai Watch Week event back in 2015 and found it to be a remarkable concept brimming with opportunity. My initial inclination was that Dubai Watch Week — mainly organized by the larger Seddiqi Holding company, which is the largest regional distributor and wristwatch retailer in the region — was about regional sales and marketing development. What I learned about the greater goals of Dubai Watch Week impressed me.
Dubai is a financial and shopping hub, so it makes sense that the Dubai government and Seddiqi wanted to focus attention on the region’s importance with luxury watches. During its high point a few years ago, Dubai was an epicenter of luxury watch purchases, both in volume and variety. It remains the most important place to buy watches in a region that has historically been very important to the watch industry.
The Dubai Watch Week concept is much broader than simply trying to invigorate the region’s status as a luxury watch buying hub; it is a service to the larger watch industry as a whole. The best way to understand Dubai Watch Week is to think of it as a talent summit and conference. That is entirely distinct from the purpose of most other watch shows around the world that have the goal of either selling products to retailers or selling products directly to consumers. Dubai Watch Week isn’t that.
Instead, Dubai Watch Week offers a platform that should have really been offered by people in Switzerland (but never has been). That the Seddiqi family and their network recognized a need in the watch industry space and took it upon themselves to create a solution is beyond laudable, in my opinion. The watch industry is notorious for “passing the buck” in regard to delegating responsibility for important innovation of remedies. The conference at which the most important contemporary minds in the watch industry congregate — for seminars, discussions, educational opportunities, and to simply share best practices — happens not in Switzerland, not in Paris, not in New York, not in London, not in Hong Kong, but in Dubai. And for its part, the Seddiqi group is an excellent host, having proven that it can draw the best and brightest with an event series that is actually quite good.
Dubai Watch Week has both a public component (various activities members of the public can sign up for) but is mostly about the international assortment of watchmakers, retailers, designers, thought leaders, managers, and content producers who spend several days together with the larger goal of sharing and conversing. I’ve never seen anything as formal like it in the industry, and in just a few short years, Dubai Watch Week has earned respect and acceptance from its constituents in Europe and other parts of the world.
Each iteration of Dubai Watch Week has its own changes and themes, with the 2019 edition of seeing more formal inclusion of brands (for example, Rolex and Grand Seiko, which will have their own dedicated spaces), as well as a larger focus on creating media with an onsite video crew. To learn more about the upcoming Dubai Watch Week 2019, I spoke with Ms. Hind Abdul Hamied Seddiqi, Director General of Dubai Watch Week.
Ariel Adams: What is the current state of Dubai Watch Week (DWW)? Where has it come from, and where is the event concept going?
Hind Seddiqi (HS): Since its inception in 2015, Dubai Watch Week has been dedicated to the preservation of watchmaking culture and heritage by creating one of the largest non-commercial events for the international watch community. We are looking to complement other watch events and strongly believe that collaboration is key.
The event has been steadfast in its non-commercial approach and seeks to provide both established and emerging collectors, as well as watch enthusiasts, the opportunity to enhance their understanding of the horology industry, while networking with industry experts and discussing the latest innovations in watchmaking. The past four years have seen Dubai Watch Week become a globally anticipated event in the horological calendar and the 4th edition will further champion key industry topics in the watch industry, as it looks to cement its place in the as a key meeting point for horology enthusiasts.
AA: Discuss a few specific reasons for consumers and the watch industry to care about DWW and explain why it matters.
HS: The event has become a global meeting point for collectors, brands, and industry patrons who share the same passion and respect for the world of horology. As a non-commercial event, our objective is to create an international networking platform where guests are encouraged to learn, exchange ideas, and discuss opportunities. The programs we have curated for the fourth edition reflect our commitment toward positioning Dubai as a cultural and education hub for watch enthusiasts around the globe.
Our goal is to introduce the general public to the watch industry, but we’re also adding value to seasoned watch enthusiasts by giving them access to a more curated program of events, such as the Horology Forum and Creative Hub. The international launches and collaborations with brands in the Creative Hub are an integral program for watch enthusiasts. The renowned platform WatchBox will also be on ground, further fostering the educational mission of Dubai Watch Week and emphasizing the significance of investing in key timepieces and the digital transformation of the second-hand watch industry; Christie’s, our long-term partner, will be also be on hand to contribute to the exchange of knowledge across a variety of programs.
Lastly, the talent and skill of watchmakers and artisans will be illustrated through our watchmaking and watch craft masterclasses that provide guests with the opportunity to manipulate movements and get insights into the métiers d’art such as brush-making, engraving, chamfering, and miniature painting, amongst others.
AA: Mention of how people in Dubai as well as people around the world can engage with DWW before, during, or after the event. In other words, what do you want people who aren’t already going to the event to know about it? How can people who are interested become involved?
HS: The Dubai Watch Week platform is always on and strives to communicate ongoing content throughout the year. We are committed to our mission to unite and grow the global watch community for the preservation and transmission of horological knowledge. The Horology Forum panels from our previous editions are also available on our YouTube platform, and we encourage guests to view these videos, as they provide great insight into key industry topics.
This is the main reason the event is open to the public and has free registration for anyone looking to attend. While the exhibitions are open to the public, certain programs will require pre-registration, which can be done online on www.dubaiwatchweek.com.