For starters, this is the first event of this caliber in the region and we are very proud that it is taking place in Dubai, and in collaboration with the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG). Secondly, the quality of the participants promises to be incredible: our guests will rub shoulders with 57 exceptional speakers come to share their passion in small groups through private conversations or during workshops throughout the week, not to mention the themed exhibitions. It is well worth emphasizing the unique character of this concentration of unique talent in the same place and at the same time : it is truly unprecedented. Finally, the section of the exhibition devoted to the rebels of watchmaking is particularly dear to my heart, because it promotes creative entrepreneurs taking up the challenge of venturing into the watchmaking industry as small-scale artisans. We give them visibility that is both local among thousands of visitors and international via the invited media representatives.
How was the Financial District chosen for the organization of the Dubai Watch Week ?
For practical reasons and because the gallery in which we are located was the setting for the itinerant exhibition of the GPHG that we hosted in 2013. This time, however, we have involved four more, because the event has taken on a whole new dimension. As you know, people in Dubai are always in a hurry and you need to simplify their lives for them: businessmen from the Financial District can easily visit us, the quality of the welcome in the Village Gate art galleries is superb and the surrounding restaurants offer excellent food! We have been working on this concept for more than a year.
In your opinion, what are the next steps for the Dubai Watch Week ?
Ever since we announced its launch, we have been inundated with requests from watchmakers who would like us to include their creations in our exhibition, so we have a large reserve to display other aspects of watchmaking craftsmanship during the next edition. We are currently realizing that it will inevitably acquire increased importance and that its dimensions will necessarily evolve in terms of both size and content. We have also been asked to introduce a stronger commercial aspect that is not part of our current approach. But if we do decide to do so, it will be in our own way, while maintaining our authenticity and the original vision of the Dubai Watch Week.
What makes Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons stand out as a Middle Eastern retailer ?
It all started with my grandfather, whose passion for watches motivated him to open a boutique in the 1950s (today we have more than 50) and who then left it to two of his sons that he sent to Geneva to study and get to know this industry at close quarters. So we all grew up in an atmosphere of close ties with watchmaking. We are the third generation of Seddiqis to love watches and today we try to communicate this around us. Notably by showing clients things they can’t see in a simple display window, through explaining the passion which drives watchmaking artisans and sometimes even by taking them to Switzerland to see what goes on behind a dial. This earns us a lot of respect in the sector and the Dubai Watch Week has received an extremely positive response, even though it is a cultural and not a commercial event. It is the result of years of positive relationships.
Do you see the principle of a family business as being particularly important ?
The family in general is very important but working with your family is a challenge because you need to give even more! It comes from the heart so it’s feasible.
Do you remember your first beautiful watch ?
For my 12th birthday, my father gave me a two-tone TAG Heuer Link. It was the right moment to start learning how to master and respect time.
Tell us what you’re wearing today…
A Patek Philippe’s Calatrava World Time from the 175th anniversary collection that I was lucky enough to have been given for my 30th birthday. Another present from my father!
In your opinion, what qualities should a ladies’ watch have ?
It all depends on the woman who is going to wear it and her character, but this is usually swiftly apparent. If she simply regards it as an accessory to finish off her outfit, that corresponds to a certain kind of watch ; but if she is interested in the watchmaking content of what she is going to wear on her wrist, then there are other watches that will suit her better. Our clients’ tastes often reflect their styles but fortunately the offer has grown considerably over the past decade. Brands have created more and more ladies’ models, and in parallel women have taken a greater interest in watches. Was this to gain a better understanding of why their husbands spend so much money on horological complications ? Now ladies not only buy men’s watches that can be worn by women but also mechanical watches specifically designed for them.