Dubai Watch Week, the inaugural five-day exhibition and conference on watchmaking, will host 47 speakers from the industry and is set to be the largest meeting of its kind in the region.
The event, which will be held at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), is organised by Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, a leading retailer for Swiss watches in the UAE, with the support of Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve, the world’s most respected watchmaking exhibition and award, as well as Dubai Culture & Arts Authority and world-famous auction house, Christie’s, among others.
The event will include several exhibitions, master classes and panel discussions, and will see the launch of several educational programs and mentorship opportunities, according to information provided by the organisers ahead of the event.
Below are some of the top activities and initiatives scheduled throughout, or in association with, the Dubai Watch Week next month.
The speakers’ forum
A busy program of 15 panel discussions will see more than 30 speakers from the world of watchmaking tackle topics relevant to the industry, such as transferring knowledge, innovation and technology in the industry, the role of auctions and the fake watch industry, among others.
Some of the icons set to speak during the panel sessions will include Jean-Claude Biver, the president of LVMH watch division and CEO of TAG Heuer; Maximilian Busser, owner and creative director at MB&F; and independent watchmaker Philippe Dufour, among others.
This forum is open to the public and seats can be secured through online registration to ensure availability.
Dubai Watch Week will also host the “VIP Program”, a series of private tours, round table discussions and master classes, among other events which aim to bring collectors and watch enthusiasts under one roof with the brands.
Events of the VIP Program will be invite-only basis.
Dubai Watch Week will see two exhibitions showcased simultaneously: timepieces participating in the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve and novelties by independent brands from the Seddiqi portfolio.
Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve (GPHG), dubbed the ‘Oscars’ of watchmaking, is an annual travelling watch exhibition, presenting to the world timepieces that have been pre-selected by a jury and are competing for the award set to be presented at the Grand Theatre de Geneve on October 29.
This year, GPHG will be showcasing the last of its five global exhibitions during Dubai Watch Week. The exhibition will be the largest of its kind in the region since 2013, when the first GPHG was brought to the emirate under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority.
A total of 72 watches from Audemars Piguet, Piaget, Montblanc, Blancpain, Hermès and Ulysse Nardin, among many other respected watchmakers, make up the pre-selected models for this year’s GPHG and will be showcased at the Opera Gallery in DIFC, for the duration of Dubai Watch Week.
Besides GPHG’s exhibition, Dubai Watch Week will be hosting the ‘Rebels of Horology’ exhibition, showcasing novelties by independent watchmakers from the Seddiqi portfolio.
Participating brands include Bovet, Cabestan, De Bethune, Greubel Forsey, Hautlence, Laurent Ferrier, MB&F, H. Moser & Cie, Moritz Grossmann and Urwerk.
Held at the Farjam Gallery in DIFC, this exhibition aims to shed light on the avant-garde creativity of independent watchmakers.
Education and awareness
Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons is placing a heavy value on the educational aspect of the Dubai Watch Week by presenting a number of educational and mentorship opportunities within the watchmaking industry.
Seddiqi Holding is offering a $35,000 paid scholarship for one watch enthusiast to attend a complete watchmaking program at WOSTEP, a renowned institute that specialises in watchmaking, located in Switzerland. Through the scholarship, Seddiqi Group aims to present the world’s first watchmaker from the UAE to the international industry.
Moreover, Seddiqi Group is welcoming fresh graduates from the world’s leading watchmaking schools for a three-month internship program at the Swiss Watch Services (SWS) centre, which opened its doors in Dubai earlier this year. SWS is the first state-of-the-art service centre in the wider Middle East region and is one of the world’s largest.
Melika Yazdjerdi, the director of the Dubai Watch Week, who is the head of Corporate Communications at Seddiqi Group, noted that a graduate from Finland will be the first to be incorporated into the internship program.
Last but not least, talented writers specialising in watches are encouraged to join the program and be mentored by the watch industry’s most respected writers and journalists, for a one-on-one program for one month in Switzerland.
Part of the work produced by the protégé during the program will be published by Dubai Watch Week.