The Family Company
Mohammed Abdulmagied Seddiqi came into this world with more than a golden spoon. Golden watches awaited him also. Born into the Dubai-based Seddiqi family, he was surrounded by the family-owned company his grandfather founded in 1960 – Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons – and remembers unpacking watches at his grandfather’s house. Today, the company is the largest distributor of watches in the Middle East, retailing 60 luxury timepiece brands in its 65 locations throughout the United Arab Emirates.
Mohammed Seddiqi first worked in travel and tourism when he returned to Dubai after management studies in Switzerland, but was never far away from the family showrooms and in 2004 joined Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons as Vice President of Sales & Retail. Expanding the brand portfolio and introducing the “Seddiqi limited edition” line particularly appreciated by collectors, he is today Chief Commercial Officer of Seddiqi Holding and a member of the Seddiqi Holding Executive Committee.
He was also a curator of Dubai Watch Week organized last November by Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, where we met.
“I can’t imagine my life without watches”, he told us. “It’s not because it’s a business…Sometimes I have a disagreement with my father (Chairman Abulmagied Ahmed Seddiqi) and my uncle (Vice Chairman Abdul Hamied Ahmed Seddiqi) because I want to hold on to some of the watches for a while, and they want me to sell them immediately. It’s a matter of passion, a matter of love, like having a work of art. Some pieces come into our lives once, and will disappear and we will never see them again, so it is an opportunity to have them if only for a short time.”
Quick to name his favourite complications: “I love perpetual calendars. I find them intriguing because the mechanism makes a true ‘smart’ watch, and if it has a second complication, why not?, followed by a chronograph and a tourbillon”, he is less forthcoming about a favourite piece: “Being in the watch industry I should not have a favourite – I have to like every watch”. As for the number of watches he owns: “I don’t know, honestly I don’t know”.
Auctions and Anecdotes
“I do participate at some auctions myself; it’s a good measure for us to see how the market is doing. Normally if we do it’s for either a Patek or a Rolex. Speaking of auctions, we produced the (Rolex) Daytona 6263 in the 70’s with the UAE logo for the Ministry of Defence. My father told me that when we delivered the watches to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed (bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Emir of Dubai) – at that time he was the Minister of Defence – the price of the watch was around Dhs 6,000 (approx. USD1,635 today).
There were a few pieces left after delivery. We didn’t know what to do with them, so started selling them at a discounted price; people were purchasing them and removing the logo from them. Without knowing it, they took away the added value. At that time, the UAE was maybe 5 or 6 years old (founded in 1971) so there was not much concern for this new country and all these details. One (with the UAE logo) came out at an auction recently and sold for, I think 250,000 – 300,000 Euros.”
Advice for a New Collector
“I think before starting a collection, you should understand what you are looking for. Just buying random watches without focusing on something is not what I would consider a collector, but a “piler”. A collector is someone who is focusing on either a specific brand, or a specific line of watches – a diver watch, a chronograph watch, a steel watch, watches that were made for royalties, with logos, so it’s always important to know what you are looking for. To be the right collector, you have to love what you are collecting. If you are buying a watch just for the sake of it being at an auction for “x” amount, that’s fine if you have reached the point where you can afford it. But to start, you should really just focus on what you like, and stay with that.”
On behalf of Haute Time, this writer would like to thank Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons for their kind invitation to attend Dubai Watch Week 2016.