Pre-Gaming Dubai Watch Week 2023
The influential watch fair is back this month, and we’re here to help you plan for the show (even if you’re following from home).
Starting Thursday, November 16, and running until Monday, November 20, the horological elite will meet in the United Arab Emirates to celebrate high-end watchmaking and other intersecting luxury industries, such as design and automotive, at Dubai Watch Week (DWW). But DWW is not just about hobnobbing with industry muckety-mucks.
The event was founded in 2015 by the Dubai-based multi-brand luxury retailer Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons to foster the horological community, promote initiatives with similar values, and present opportunities for creative exchange. Moreover, because it’s based in Dubai, DWW also provides a fresh point of view on the culture of watchmaking and collecting. The result is four days of guests feasting on a myriad of culinary, cultural, and educational experiences.
Held every two years (with the show’s novel Horology Forum panels taking place in the off years), this year marks the sixth and largest edition of the event to date, which will be held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who, in addition to being a member of the Dubai ruling family, is the Chairperson of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and Member of the Dubai Council.
However, if you can’t attend in person, here’s a taste of DWW’s opulent events.
The biggest draw at DWW is, of course, the watches. Over 60 of the world’s most respected maisons will showcase their latest releases, with many expected to unveil limited editions exclusively launched at the event.
Major brands such as Rolex, Audemars Piguet, Tudor, Hublot, Chopard, Ulysse Nardin, Girard-Perregaux, Van Cleef & Arpels, Chanel, and Bulgari will present their novelties in on-site stand-alone spaces. Meanwhile, DWW also offers the Collectors Lounge, where international and local watch fans can gather under a single roof and attend curated brand sessions.
Easily the second biggest draw at DWW is its diverse and experiential programming. Unlike other international watch fairs, DWW cares about more than just the contents of vitrines. For example, this year’s event features nine immersive Horology Forum sessions, 11 Masterclasses, and 10 Creative Hub sessions.
The Horology Forum will feature six panels, gathering leaders from many different fields to engage in open dialogue and debates. Dubai Watch Week is also proud to introduce the first-ever Arabic panel about the unique challenges family-run businesses face. Not only will this panel speak to the concerns of the people in the UAE (where 90% of private companies are family-operated), but by encouraging fair-goers and people watching the live stream to attend, organizers believe it will add a new dimension to the platform and attract new people to the show.
Panels at the 2023 edition of DWW also feature a roster of globally renowned speakers and moderators, including François-Henry Bennahmias, CEO of Audemars Piguet; Mohammed Abdulmagied Seddiqi, Chief Commercial Officer of Seddiqi Holding; watchmaker Daniela Dufour; Jean Arnault, Watch Director at La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton; author and historian Nicholas Foulkes; George Bamford, Founder of Bamford Watch Department; Austen Chu, Founder & CEO of Wristcheck; Tim Mosso, Watch Specialist and Media Director at WatchBox; Wei Koh, Founder of Grail Watch and Revolution Watch; and last but certainly not least, Watchonista friend and contributor, Barbara Palumbo.
Luckily, there is no need for FOMO because this year’s panels will also be livestreamed via the Dubai Watch Week YouTube Channel.
Like the Horology Forum, the Creative Hub will also feature thought-provoking dialogues and conversations, such as the Super League of Sustainability led by ID Géneve and Winding Forward, which will explore circularity in the luxury Swiss watch industry, or Winding Forward, which will feature an intimate conversation with Mr. Jean-Claude Biver as he details his transformative influence on the watch industry.
At Watchonista, a passion for watches is part of a well-balanced cultural diet. This year at The Gate in the Dubai International Financial Centre, DWW will also act as the catalyst for making culinary and educational connections.
Guests are invited to explore many culinary concepts on-site, where La Niña will provide a modern Iberian Latino menu, both Home Bakery and Kitch-In will launch exclusive menus specially crafted for Dubai Watch Week, and TWST is set to bring back crowd favorites and new additions to the menu.
There is also art to feed the soul. Exhibits in the central area of the Brands Exhibition will include Amadeo’s Evolution of Cameo and M.A.D.Gallery. Amadeo creates sculpted cameo pins designed to be worn on leather watch straps. M.A.D.Gallery will display global artists’ creations, inspired by watchmaking and emphasizing the beauty inherent in craftsmanship.
Christie’s is also returning to DWW with a series of engaging educational talks, panel discussions, and even complimentary (by appointment only) valuations conducted by Christie’s Middle East horology specialists. Plus, for children aged 7-14, the Christie’s auction for kids will provide an opportunity to participate in a friendly and informative auction experience.
Additionally, as part of a unique exhibition on-site by Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH), guests are welcome to scan the unique pieces via the DWW app and answer five questions correctly, standing a chance to win luxury watches and experiences daily.