And that’s a wrap for an insightful and exhilarating Dubai Watch Week 2021. My first International travel/watch event since 2019 and I couldn’t have asked for a better start! From the launches to the forums and collectors lounge chats, Hind Seddiqi and her team had clearly thought it all through. The warmth and hospitality of the Seddiqi family translated to the incredible atmosphere and social environment at the show. And while there were numerous launches that caught my attention this year, my highlight of Dubai Watch Week 2021 was being – “Reunited for a Moment in Time” with my friends and colleagues from the watch world.
For an industry that thrives on it’s snob value, Dubai Watch Week was a refreshing change. When was the last time you just walked into a booth and “hung out” with what one may call the rockstars of the watch world. From Max Busser (Founder MB&F), Rolf Studer (CEO Oris), Patrick Pruniaux (CEO, Girard Perregaux), Ricardo Guadalupe (CEO, Hublot) to the likes of Ludovic Ballouard, Konstantin Chaykin, Armand Billard ( Founder, Sartory Billard), Andrea Furlan and Hamad Al Marri (Co-Founders – Furlan Marri), the vibe at Dubai Watch Week exuded a sense of togetherness and equality.
On a personal level, I did notice a paradigm shift in the mindset of collectors and well the brands themselves. The reception, the warmth, the acceptance of acknowledgements and criticisms were so elegantly received. Witnessing collaborations like Louis Erard & Alain Silberstein and MB&F x Bvlgari is a testament to the fact that the industry is finally opening up and becoming more and more welcoming to the creative genius of Independent watchmaking. About time I’d say!
That being said, I can’t ignore some of the watches that did grab my attention at Dubai Watch Week 2021.
1. MB&F x Bulgari FlyingT Allegra
So this choice was a no brainer but the collaboration was a pleasant surprise. I mean Max has created a jewellery machine with Boucheron back in the day, but this is an MB&F machine that has been aesthetically put together by Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani, the chief watch designer at Bulgari. That’s a first! While you could find the details of the watch here, did you know that the gem-setting on the FlyingT Allegra was done by the MB&F team and not Bvlgari? Stay tuned as I bring you a detailed insight about this collaboration and this beauty straight from the two radically different creative directors – Max Busser and Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani.
2. Konstantin Chaykin
Bob, Carl, Darwin, Dave, Franck, Jerry, John, Kevin, who is your favorite minion? Well I have a clear one – The Konstantin Chaykin’s Minions watch that was launched at Dubai Watch Week. This bright yellow 40 mm Chaykin minion equipped with a new automatic Caliber K.07-3 with an automatic winding can brighten up even the gloomiest of days. The Joker time indicates with discs the hours on the left, the minutes on the right and moon phases. And may I just add what a humble founder and watchmaker Konstantin Chaykin himself is. If you do like what you see I suggest you start looking as this wrist full of sunshine will be produced in a limited edition of 38 pieces.
3. Oris Rectangle
While the novelty at Dubai Watch Week was the Big Crown Pointer Date with the in-house Calibre 403, the Oris that got my attention was the new Rectangle. Peppy new dials with integrated leather strap options to fit every mood and season. And for those who are skeptical about the shape, well I tried it on and those tapered lug tips ensure that it sits beautifully on almost any wrist. Not a conventional Oris, but definitely one to add to your collection. Read more here.
Yes you read that right. There is sand and there is concrete! To celebrate UAE’s 50th anniversary HUBLOT introduced a Classic fusion chronograph housed in a 45mm case with a matching bezel, both of which are cut out of concrete. And since it is to commemorate 50 years of the UAE, Hublot has even used actual sand from the dessert to sandwich the dial and make every piece a unique edition further complimented by a matching camel leather strap. What do you think? Is it a date?
An ode to another milestone – Celebrating 230 years of legendary watchmaking know-how as well as encompassing an array of artistic crafts, executed to an exceptional standard, Girard Perregaux unveiled the La Esmeralda Tourbillon “A Secret” Eternity Edition. Patrick Pruniaux, CEO of Girard-Perregaux stated that this is by far the Masions most ambitious creation and I couldn’t agree more. Inspired by La Esmeralda pocket watch in 1889, you can see the three golden bridges that span the dial. On this latest model, however Girard-Perregaux has once again made the invisible visible by bringing the horses engraved on the back case of the original pocket watch up to centre stage of this new timepiece. Indeed, two hand-engraved galloping horses form the right and left ends of the barrel bridge and tourbillon bridge. Each bridge here features concave bevelling, mirror-polishing, flanks with horizontal ‘traits-tirés’ and rounded off arms.
As its name implies, the watch is fitted with a secret cover. By pressing the crown pusher, the secret cover opens, revealing the self-winding movement, the Calibre GP09600-1506. Beneath the secret cover, the mainplate is fitted with a motion-work bridge and marking plate. Both are made from pink gold and incorporate traits-tirés and hand-polished angles, thereby emulating the shape of the famous Gold Bridges. The motion-work bridge is marked ‘secret’. The inside of the hinged secret cover is hand-engraved with various inscriptions, albeit these can be personalised on request.
Incredible aren’t there, and these are just a few highlights of the week that was. Call it a response to the post-pandemic mood, but the energy levels at Dubai Watch Week were something else. Even the most serious and contemporary brands turned it up a notch and added a bit of sexiness to their watches. From Jean-Marie Schaller’s (CEO Louis Moinet) passion for watchmaking to the entrepreneur skills of the Edouard Meylan, (CEO – H. Moser & Cie), Dubai Watch Week was all about enhancing your knowledge, interacting and exchanging views with the watch community and most importantly touching base with the human factor. Physically touching and trying on the watches, well that was the icing on the cake.
While the Independents were kind of in the spotlight, I couldn’t ignore the big boys at Dubai Watch Week. From Rolex to Tudor, Chopard and Audemars Piguet, the experience was more engaging than usual.
The essence of Dubai Watch Week are the people and I cannot emphasis this anymore. From the masterminds behind these mechanical marvels to brand CEO’s and fellow media colleagues, Dubai Watch Week 2021 was a week that has left us all with memories that we will cherish for a lifetime, a family reunited for a moment in time.
Coming from a family of watch enthusiasts and pioneers, Kari, as fondly identified by the watch-community, has been a part of this mystical world of horology for almost two decades now. From watch magazines to books to Internationally acclaimed watch shows, Kari has founded, initiated and pioneered various such endeavours.