Swiss watchmaking excellence flourishes for a week in Dubai
Armed with its reputation earned from the most finicky collectors in its market, Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons turned the week of October 18 -22, 2015, into a real event. With high-ranking support.
Everyone knows by now, that the models vying for the 2015 Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève, which will be held at the Grand Théâtre in Geneva on October 29 are on a world tour at the present moment. They are passing through the Middle East, and will naturally put in at Dubai, the United Arab Emirates' most populous city. There, it is Seddiqi that is the most solidly established distributor – Sediqqi being the name used by the Swiss watch world to refer to this group that has kept its flag flaying with great loyalty for several generations.
The Dubai Watch Week, culture and training
It's worth remembering that the Middle East not only harbors many well-healed and incorrigibly demanding collectors, but also has the merit of considering Swiss watchmaking excellence a culture in its own right. In that part of the world, this kind of watchmaking that blends craftsmanship and innovation is not just an industrial and economic segment, rather, it is ranked as a 12th art form. Therefore, it is perfectly logical that the Fondation du Grand Prix de Genève, presided over by the former State Counsellor Carlo Lamprecht, should be the ranking partner of the Dubai Watch Week, an event set up by the Ahmed Sediqqi & Sons Group. The event is held at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and the ancillary buildings, like the Gate Village and the Farjam Gallery. The arrival of the 72 select watches will thus become a genuine trade fair attended by some of the Group's prestigious brands.
Important support from the Swiss side was inevitable, of course, namely, from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. Awareness of the stakes in situ was high. The event is supported by one of the most significant patrons possible, His Highness Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who, incidentally, is also the Chairman of the Dubai Arts and Culture Authority. So the crème de la crème of Swiss watchmaking excellence will be on hand for a public made up of connoisseurs often looking forward to stories about people and meeting with those who invent and manufacture timekeepers. Besides, thanks to a number of possibilities, visitors will be able to rub elbows with top-billed personalities, watchmakers whose fame in these regions is traded much in the way actors are traded according to the western star system.
The week will also feature watchmaking workshops, sometimes reserved only for journalists, and at times conducted by master watchmakers themselves. And a grant of $35,000, funded by the Sediqqi holding, will even be given to the most deserving candidate. The money will represent a passport to the WOSTEP, Switzerland's famous federal watchmaking school in Neuchâtel, whose job it is to train the world's watchmakers, namely those individuals who will regulate and repair the fruits of Switzerland's national output. Logically, this institution, which is financed by the Swiss federal government under the aegis of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, will also be involved in the selection process.
Watchonista.com steps up to the plate
Throughout the week, a number of talks will be held, elegantly named "Conversations with. . . ," which will allow a select public to connect with their watchmaking stars. At the gallery The Empty Quarter, no fewer than thirty speakers, either solo or as moderators of round tables, will be addressing topics that are sure to excite passions. Among them is Alexander Friedman, co-founder of your online magazine, Watchonista.com. He will be on location as of Monday, October 19, 2015, the first day of the Dubai Watch Week. From 4pm to 5pm, he – and other moderators, including Aurel Bacs – will be emceeing a panel dedicated to the impact of the social media. And on the fourth day, October 22, 2015, he will welcome the independent watchmaker Philippe Dufour and the director of Audemars Piguet Renaud & Papi, Giulio Papi himself. An alumnus of the WOSTEP, by the way… Among the other moderators are a few well-known names, like Elizabeth Doerr, Ian Skellern, Eileen Wallis, Eric Wind, William Rohr and Maximillian Büsser…
Program for the Art of Horology forum
Each day from 10am to 6pm, at the gallery "The Empty Quarter," thirty speakers will be participating, including Alexander Friedman (Watchonista.com)
All about the GPHG 2015 on Watchonista