5 Reasons (And Then Some) To Visit Dubai Watch Week 2017, None Of Which Involve Looking At Amazing Watches (Although You Can Do That Too)
by Ian Skellern
If there is one thing that Europeans have been spoilt for choice in over the last few years it is watch exhibitions.
After decades of the horological calendar revolving around the SIHH (Geneva) and Baselworld (Basel) at the beginning of each year then nothing, we now have SalonQP (London), Top Marques (Monaco), Munich Time (Munich), and Vienna Time (Vienna).
As well as being very diverse geographically, these exhibitions are also very diverse in size and both the number and type of exhibitors. But what unites them all is that they are usually set up to make to make it relatively easy (though some are much easier than others) for journalists to access watchmakers, brand executives, and the latest watches.
When it comes to the public, though, access is usually limited to looking through display windows. Which is not that different to what you can do walking past luxury watch boutiques in New York, London, Paris, or Singapore.
At the larger watch exhibitions like Baselworld and SIHH, the sheer number of visitors (public and trade) mean that press and buyers are prioritized over the public. And while the smaller exhibitions usually make it easier for watch aficionados to talk to watchmakers and physically handle their watches, the small size often means that it’s not worthwhile for many of the more exciting brands – especially the smaller brands and independents with very restricted resources – to exhibit.
And to be honest, while looking at great watches can be exciting for a short period of time, it’s talking to the people involved in the creation of these masterpieces that makes the visit really rewarding.
And best of all is if you can get a chance to not only talk to these horological masters and artists, but also the opportunity to try things for yourself under their guidance.
Dubai Watch Week 2017
Since its launch in 2015, Dubai Watch Week has quickly grown to become my favorite watch exhibition.
Here’s why I like it and why you might consider visiting it on November 16-20, 2017.
- The seminars: You can spend all day every day just attending the discussion panels and seminars featuring the world’s best watchmakers and industry leaders. And you can ask questions and talk to the panelists.
- Master classes: You can sign up for hands-on master classes where you can try your hand at things like watchmaking, engraving, and enameling under the patient guidance of world-class watchmakers and artisans.
- Discussion workshops: There is a full program of talks by watchmakers and brand and industry leaders where you can ask questions in small group settings.
- The people: At Dubai Watch Week you have an incredible, diverse group of visitors (and staff for that matter), all united by a common appreciation for fine watchmaking and the desire to learn more.
- Coffee breaks: On site, there is a small square with seating where everyone hangs out that allows visitors and participants to talk to watchmakers, CEOs, journalists, collectors, and other watch aficionados in a relaxed setting. This is one of the best places I’ve ever seen that makes it easy for everyone to interact in a casual atmosphere. And there’s excellent free coffee!
And then there are the watches: not only can you see the timepieces of the exhibiting brands at Dubai Watch Week, it’s also worth making a quick trip to Dubai Mall (the world’s biggest shopping mall), where you will find a plethora of high-end brand boutiques that are well worth checking out.
And if the watches and watchmakers aren’t enough, then there’s . . .
Supercars: If you are a fan of the world’s most exotic supercars then there is no better place to spot lots of them outside the fancy restaurants and hotels. And speaking of hotels . . .
Architecture: Dubai is a Disneyland of incredible architecture, and I will guarantee you will never get sick of looking at the Burj Khalifa, especially during the nightly light show.
Airplanes: Plane spotters will have sore necks in Dubai from looking up at the never-ending convoy of Airbus 380s in the sky.
Food: Dubai has a multitude of world-class restaurants offering fantastic food with influences from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe.
Hospitality: My best memories of Dubai are not the things I saw, touched, or tasted but the incredible hospitality of its people, especially those helping to organize and run Dubai Watch Week.
Dubai Watch Week will take place November 16–20, 2017. I hope to see you there!
For more information, please visit www.dubaiwatchweek.com (the website will be updated as soon as more events are finalized).
Also published on Medium.