An Inside Look at Dubai’s Swiss Watch Services by Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons

We were invited to discover what Seddiqi calls “the only Rolex service center that carries 59 other brands”. A touch of Switzerland in the Middle of the desert.

By Audrey Humbert

Established in 1964 with the support of Rolex, the Swiss Watch Services is a member of Seddiqi Holdings. And what makes this quite remarkable is that the Seddiqi family has developed such a strong relationship with Rolex over time they were granted the full authorization to carry other brands within the same area.

This is obviously a great opportunity for the other 59 brands serviced within this space in Dubai as it is widely acknowledged that Rolex standards are not only very high, but they are also considered an example when it comes to organization and processes.

Training the watchmakers

Repairing watches requires talented watchmakers. At Seddiqi, the choice was made to focus on internal training in order to build watchmaking skills up to the retailer’s rigorous standards. Technical director Frédéric Félix oversees training activities and makes sure that all general skills are acquired. The second stage in a watchmaker’s training is a trip to Switzerland where each watchmaker will acquire specific skills within the selected brands. Each year, 10 to 15 technicians travel to Switzerland.

Among the 60 employees of the center under the management of Marco Bernasconi, 11 nationalities are represented (Including UAE, India, Morocco, The Philippines, and more) which is probably the most striking difference from a repair center that one could find in Switzerland.

Exclusive tools available

Rolex contributes to grant the center with the availability of specific tools. Waterproofness of the case is one example where the brand has strict expectations. Thus, watches serviced here benefit from these high-performance tools. Before being returned to their owners, timepieces undergo a series of tests including humidity resistance. A key test considering the climate conditions of the region.

The equipment also includes a UV glue machine to paste sapphire glasses when needed due to the specific construction of cases. Such equipment is key especially in terms of servicing as it avoids sending the watch back to the manufacture in Switzerland which can cause delays.

Breitling has also entrusted the Swiss Watch Centre with one of their five service boxes dedicated to servicing the Breitling Emergency tool watch. The watch can be tracked on a special frequency. Ensuring proper functioning of the watch requires a change of the battery every two years along with a full system check.

Due to its functionality, there are specific regulations that needs to be considered when buying or using a Breitling Emergency watch. For example, due to the transponder being coded to the countries emergency frequency, the watch can be bought in the UAE only by UAE nationals and some countries do not allow its use on their territory.

After technique comes aesthetic

In a large market such as Dubai, it is key to be able to finish a watch’s service according to the large variety of models that exists. Consider a Royal Oak case and bezel that require no less than 5 different types of finishing just for the surface areas. At Seddiqi, the level of expertise is such that even a Royal Oak can be perfectly polished, and I challenge you to compare one example fully serviced here to one fully serviced in Le Brassus. You’ll notice the quality is identical to watches coming out of Switzerland. There is indeed a feel of Switzerland in Dubai!

For more information about Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, please visit: https://www.seddiqi.com/

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