Since Haute Time has gone global, we’re bringing you a snapshot from our worldwide markets.
Here, our local Dubai-based editor Rebecca Anne Proctor recaps the United Arab Emirates’ hottest watch news. To see more from our team in the UAE visit www.hautetime.ae.
Chanel Brings Its Cruise Collection to Dubai
For its 2014/2015 Cruise collection, Chanel headed to an island in the Arabian Sea off of Dubai, a nod to the collection’s Far East inspiration. The show was held in a gigantic golden rectangular edifice covered in latticework, which at first glance resembled traditional Islamic patterning. However, as guests neared the structure, the latticework was revealed to be comprised of Chanel’s interlocking double C logo. Karl Lagerfeld reinterpreted elements from Oriental art, adding contemporary lines and forms to tunics hemmed with Lesage embroidery, pleated blouses with beaded embellishments, a bronze sequined dress with a tailcoat in tweed, and kaftan tunics in black and white geometric patterns. Around 1000 guests were in attendance, including Vanessa Paradis, Tilda Swinton, Anna Mouglalis, Alice Dellal, and Zhou Xun. After the show, guests were treated to a private concert by Janelle Monáe.
Haute Time Sits Down With Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons CEO Christophe Nicaise
Haute Time UAE recently had the opportunity to sit down with the CEO of Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, one of the region’s biggest and most esteemed retailers of luxury timepieces. We spoke with Nicaise about the development of the UAE watch market, and particularly the rise of a more knowledgeable and engaged clientele.
Haute Time: What changes have you witnessed in the market for high-end watches over the last year?
Christophe Nicaise: Over the last year we have seen that there is a growing interest in fine watchmaking. This increased interest can be attributed to two main factors: first, the UAE customer is more knowledgeable about the art of fine watchmaking; and secondly, in response to this growing appetite, both brand principals and leading retailers — such as Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons — have been investing heavily over the past few years to nurture this knowledge by organizing exhibitions highlighting the unique craftsmanship needed to produce fine timepieces. In addition, the UAE has positioned itself as a key strategic market for the Swiss watch industry, and as a result brands do not hesitate to invest heavily in marketing and communication to better target the growth potential that this market offers today.
HT: What investments have Seddiqi & Sons made?
CN: We put great emphasis on educating the end consumer. In 2013 we organized, for the first time in the region, the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) exhibition, during which watch aficionados could preview the 70 watches shortlisted by the GPHG jury for the competition’s watch of the year award. The success of such an event is tangible proof of a growing interest in fine watchmaking.
HT: What brands are the most popular with local collectors?
CN: The increasing knowledge of the UAE watch collector is leading him or her to become more inclined to explore new watchmaking territory. We are thus witnessing a growing interest for upcoming new watchmakers, known as the ‘independents.’
HT: What’s in store for the future?
CN: With the Expo 2020 happening in six years, the UAE firmly established as a tourist destination, and the local luxury watch market becoming increasingly mature, the future looks very promising. However, to remain successful, retailers will need to focus on service, and provide more and more knowledgeable customers with impeccable customer relations, as well as a unique shopping experience. That is why Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons is also investing heavily on training our retail team in customer service, as well as further strengthening and expanding our after-sales service facilities to ensure that the impeccable shopping experience does not stop when the sale is done. We want to be able to ensure our customers have access — at any given time — to an expert team of watchmakers. Ultimately, we want to advise them on how to properly maintain and service their watches so that they can enjoy these unique objects of luxury for years to come, and pass them on to the next generation.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Exhibition opens in Kuwait
Luxury watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre brought its large-scale watchmaking exhibition to the 360 Mall in Kuwait. On display were the brand’s 2014 novelties, as well as high jewelry, and pieces from Jaeger-LeCoultre’s most iconic collections. The focus of the exhibition was the brand’s new grand complications, launched at the 2014 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, which reflect the expertise of the Swiss manufacture. These included the Grande Reverso Night and Day, the Master Ultra Thin 1907, the Grande Reverso Lady Ultra Thin Duetto Duo, and the Rendez-Vous Tourbillon Night and Day. The event was attended by Janek Deleskiewicz, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s creative director, as well as friends of the brand, including Balsam Al Ayoub, Wonho Chung, Ali Morad Behbehani, Abdul Mohsen Ali Morad Behbehani, and Lulwa Al Ayoub.