The 2023 instalment of Dubai Watch Week is in full swing, with the eyes of the world's watch fans firmly focused on Dubai. This year, the celebration of watch culture is bigger and better than ever, boasting an expanded and improved layout, a total of 60 exhibiting brands, around 20 new releases, and more programmed activities than ever.
What makes Dubai Watch Week special is that it isn't just another trade fair. Director General Hind Seddiqi noted in her opening address to the media that DWW is an opportunity to explore watch culture in a way that goes beyond the press releases — a week to learn, network and discuss the big issues — an attitude that is neatly summed up by this year's theme of 'the curious confluence'.
As such, the new watch releases — while important — aren't the only show in town. The conversations and discussions — both scheduled and informal, are an incredibly important part of DWW's mission of celebrating watch culture, and the event is structured to facilitate that. It's not hard to walk up to a brand founder and learn about their latest and greatest. Another, more structured space for discussion is, of course, the Horology Forum.
This year, the Forum program kicked off with 'The Retailers Quickstep', a candid and fascinating discussion between Sediqqi Holding CCO, Mohammed Abdulmagied Sediqqi, Chopard Co-President Karl-Friedrich Scheufele and Chalhoub Group President Patrick Chalhoub, moderated by journalist Robin Swithinbank. This discussion wasn't afraid to tackle the big issues — specifically the rise of the "For Exhibition Only" pieces, the vexed issue of waitlists and how to manage customer expectations with the reality of supply and demand. Karl-Friedrich Scheufele raised the salient point that within this context of limited availability, Dubai Watch Week plays an essential role — saying that the event is one of the only places in the world where people can see watches from brands like Ferdinand Berthoud (part of the Chopard Group), that produces pieces in exceptionally limited quantities. This combination of candour and insight is uncommon in the watch industry, and one of the things that makes DWW so special.
Of course, not all the discussions are so serious in approach. The ClickClock debate format was pioneered in the New York Horology Forum of 2022, and now it's making its Dubai debut.
Nicholas Foulkes and George Bamford engaged in a most English debate — moderated by Barbara Palumbo — on the pros and cons of customised watches. Of course, both sides of the argument were far too polite to truly disagree, with all present agreeing that personality goes a long way, but that a strong design sensibility is important.
A quick walk across the site — invariably delayed as you get sidetracked by brands like De Bethune, MB&F, and Speake-Marin — and you'll find yourself at the Collectors Lounge, where you can discover new brands and limited editions being launched at Dubai Watch Week, as well as insightful discussions. One of the highlights from day one was a presentation from founder and chief creative Ming Thein, who — in their first ever presence at an industry trade event — impressed with their latest watch, which they claim is *probably* the lightest watch ever made, and, at only 8.8 grams without a strap, we're certainly not disagreeing with them.
As day turned to night, it seemed like Dubai Watch Week was just getting started, and a fun atmosphere prevailed, with brands hosting cocktail events, collectors gatherings and a generally celebratory atmosphere, which looked set to continue through the week.
However, Mother Nature had other plans. It's true that Dubai sees only around 25 days of rain a year, at around 4AM, a lot of that rain fell, all at once — and after the heavens had opened up, causing havoc across the city, it became quickly clear that the safest course of action was to temporarily pause the show for a few hours, making the 2023 edition even more dramatic. Stay tuned!
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- Within 24h Before
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