Dubai Watch Week 2017 Will Be 5 Times Bigger And Better: Here’s What To Expect November 16-20, 2017
by Ian Skellern
That Elizabeth Doerr and I are big fans of Dubai Watch Week (DWW) is no secret; since its launch in 2015 when we were invited (and again 2016) as seminar panel speakers and moderators, we have been won over by the hospitality of the organizers, friendliness of attendees, fantastic seminars and discussion panels, ease of mixing between aficionados, collectors, press, watchmakers, and brand CEOs, and – of course – beautiful timepieces (many new for the event). These elements make DWW a very pleasurable few days among friends, both old and new.
And then there’s the food!
Changes for Dubai Watch Week 2017
Dubai Watch Week is a non-commercial event organized by Ahmed Seddiqi and Sons watch retailer, which has been held at the DIFC since launch and will be again in 2017.
But the 2017 event will be both laterally and vertically displaced to a much larger space. The DIFC is like a contemporary New York Wall Street with a liberal sprinkling of modern art galleries and dining from quick snacks to multiple restaurants with Michelin-starred chefs. I’m not exaggerating about the food, the DIFC is also jokingly said to stand for “Dubai International Food Court.” Naturally, it really stands for Dubai International Financial Centre.
In 2015 and 2016, DWW, which comprises brand displays, seminars, practical workshops, meeting rooms, offices, a press room, brand talks and watch exhibitions, has been held in various galleries, rooms, and spaces in Gate Village, the art gallery and fine restaurants section of the DIFC.
While this deconstructed (as opposed to all-under-one-roof) approach has the advantage of offering each space a sense of purpose intimacy, as the event quickly grew Dubai Watch Week management, having to conform to the layout and size of existing buildings and spaces, soon imposed too many restraints and compromises, especially as more and more brands were signaling that they wanted to attend.
A recent conversation with DWW director Melika Yazdjerdi revealed that this year’s event will be on altogether different scale to the first two shows. In fact, Dubai Watch Week 2017 will be so different to previous years that 2015 and 2016 will seem like pre-production training for the main event.
First of all, DWW moves from Gate Village to the main courtyard and grounds in front of the massive Gate building that dominates the area (though the 160-story Burj Khalifa does peek over its shoulder at certain angles). Secondly, purpose-built structures and a layout have been designed to simplify and optimize the exhibition and event for visitors.
Around 30 brands have already confirmed they will been exhibiting at Dubai Watch Week 2017, and more are expected as things get back to normal after the summer break.
One thing that the management of Dubai Watch Week 2017 wanted to keep and improve wherever possible is the ease of socializing and networking at DWW, as visitor feedback had confirmed this was one of the highlights of the fair. From the outside, the aims of Dubai Watch Week have been networking and education.
New layout of Dubai Watch Week 2017
Visitors will enter via red carpet and pass through the registration and welcome booth. All three of the large, single-level brand exhibition areas are both easily seen and just meters from the entrance.
Separate buildings will be created for practical watchmaking master classes, the creative hub, a private lounge, smaller exhibitions, Christie’s, and even a virtual reality playground. There will be a public restaurant onsite with the dual aims of both satiating hunger and facilitating interactions between visitors, watchmakers, speakers, and guests.
The seminar room, which is sure to be among the highlights of DWW17, will be larger then before, with tiered seating bringing the speakers and audience even closer.
As event director Yazdjerdi explains, “Visitors to Dubai Watch Week 2017 will see more master classes, creative hubs, and discussion panels so that they can learn first hand from legendary watchmakers and senior brand executives. There will be new programs this year, including digital activities in partnership with the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, watchmaking master classes, and an evaluation room where visitors can have their watches appraised by the experts at Christie’s.”
What about more on auctions, you ask?
Each year, ever more watch aficionados become interested in the fascinating world of watch auctions, but these types of sales can be intimidating, if not downright confusing, to the uninitiated. And, no, you will not cough or sneeze and find you have spent a fortune on something you don’t want.
For 2017, Dubai Watch Week is partnering with Christie’s auction house, which will be offering appraisals of timepieces and giving talks about diverse aspects of the auction process. This is sure to be very much appreciated.
Dubai Watch Week 2017 runs November 16-20, and I hope to see you there. And best of all, entry is free.
For more information, please visit www.dubaiwatchweek.com.
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Also published on Medium.