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Director General of Dubai Watch Week Hind Seddiqi On The Success and Future of the Show

“United for a Moment in Time” in Dubai

| By Xavier Markl | 7 min read |

Dubai Watch Week just closed its sixth and largest edition, consolidating its trajectory as a reference and an industry-leading event. The show attracted close to 23,000 visitors and had over 60 brands showcasing their latest timepieces, many exclusively launched at the event. As with previous editions, the educational and experiential dimension was at the heart of the event. Hind Abdul Hamied Seddiqi, Director General of Dubai Watch Week, told MONOCHROME about the evolution of the show and more.

Xavier Markl, MONOCHROME – Thanks for having us for this spectacular sixth edition of Dubai Watch Week. Can you tell us what the idea was behind the creation of Dubai Watch Week and how you envisioned the event?

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Hind Abdul Hamied Seddiqi – It all started in 2014 after we hosted the GPHG (Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève) tour of watches. We realized the clients were very interested in what we were showcasing, but they had more questions; they were hungry for more information. When we organized manufacture tours in Switzerland, we could only invite small groups of people. We decided that we had to bring the experience to Dubai rather than try to fly everyone to Geneva.

This is how it all started. And specifically with independent watchmakers. We have a special respect for independent watchmakers and their creativity. For the first edition, Dubai Watch Week was dedicated to just 15 independent watchmaking brands; the theme was “Rebels of Time” because they were so different.

We then created the Masterclasses so watchmakers could talk about their watches and craft. However, these are not just about watchmaking but about crafts in general. By offering a hands-on experience, people can experience what the human hand and brain can create.  

Another pillar is the Horology Forum. We believe that people need to talk to each other. We realized that this was not the case in the watch industry. In the fashion world, people collaborate much more. It was a bit challenging at first to convince speakers to come, but we had the support of figures like Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, François Henry Bennahmias, Pascal Raffy, Jean-Claude Biver… They were the first people to come. We even had retailers like Mickael Tay because other retailers are also dealing with challenges in the watch industry.

It was also very difficult to convince the International Press in the beginning. At first, many first refused to come; now they always come back. 

We believe it is very important for the brands to meet the customer directly to understand what the market needs are. Usually, brands deal with retailers. Here, just walking into the exhibition, you can talk to Rexhep Rexhepi, Max Büsser, Mr. Raffy…

It was challenging at first to tell the brands that the event was non-commercial and that they would have to invest in a booth but not sell anything. Customers can go and buy at any boutique. But not here. Brands are here to tell their story. We want to encourage people to appreciate watchmaking. This is why we developed the program of the Horology Forum bringing people from different industries. Yesterday, we had the ex-marketing VP from Apple, and we had people from the art industry and the tech industry. We can learn from each other; it is important to understand how other industries deal with different challenges.

We also want to recruit more people and inspire young watchmakers. We gave WOSTEP a corner – one of the few English-speaking training schools – which invited people to try their hand at watchmaking.

This is why you are also inviting young upcoming talents or brands like Remy Cools, HauteRive or Hervé Schlutter? 

It is very important for us to support new brands. This is why we have a strategy to offer free showcases or booths to young brands. We also have a responsibility and obligation to the public visiting us to introduce new brands and new watchmakers. They cannot come and see the same brands that they saw two years ago. This year, we have 10 new brands. It is an obligation and a challenge, too, as we have to say “no” to the brands that were with us before.

And you are also inviting brands that are not in the portfolio of Ahmed Seddiqi and Sons…

Indeed, this is why we do not call the Salon the Ahmed Seddiqi and Sons Watch Week. It is called Dubai Watch Week. We started the exhibition by inviting everyone, not just the brands in the Seddiqi portfolio. Of course, we try to support our brands, but everyone is welcome. Often, it is challenging to tell a brand that we cannot have them for a given edition, but our philosophy is to always be honest and transparent. We are giving priority to brands that are doing global launches, presenting new references, bringing something to Dubai… Brands know that for Dubai Watch Week they need to work on presenting something. It is the same for the press; there is no interest in seeing something you have already seen at Geneva Watch Days.

Indeed, almost every single brand has presented new references!

Yes, but this has not always been the case. Seeing Ulysse Nardin launch a new Freak and Bulgari with its Peacock collection is an honour. Brands have understood that Dubai Watch Week is a wonderful platform to launch new products.

What has been the main evolution of this new, spectacular edition of Dubai Watch Week?

We have dedicated more space for stand-alone booths. We gave areas that Dubai Watch Week used to occupy before. Like the space for Chanel, Van Cleef & Arpels or Girard-Perregaux… For me, it is fine to give space as long as brands come with a concept. Some people have asked me why we gave a booth to Chanel and not to a “watchmaking brand”. For us, it is important to show the diversity of the watch industry. A fashion house like Chanel creates wonderful watches and pays a great deal of attention to the craft. The same goes for Louis Vuitton and La Fabrique du Temps with their strategy of bringing Gerald Genta and Daniel Roth and with the independent watchmaking award they have created. We have the same vision and the same mission for the watch industry. It is important to make sure we give space to the people who are making efforts in the industry.

Again, we have far more global launches and limited edition launches than before, which proves that the platform is being respected. We have far more press than before, and the number of visitors has increased tremendously, which proves that the event is growing.

What is the future of Dubai Watch Week?

This is what is going to keep me up at night! We are already working on what we want to do next time. We are gathering feedback from brands who already have ideas of what they want to do next time. 

We are also thinking about where we want to travel with the Horology Forum and are working on organizing some “pocket events” so we don’t go silent for too long.

We’ll see if we want to stay in this venue or find another one. It is challenging. But whatever we do, it will be as impressive as what you have experienced. No other retailer has ever invested so much in an event. We want to give back to the industry!

For more information, please visit

Vyntage Horology

Dubai Watch Week was also the opportunity for the Seddiqi family to launch their own independent watch brand, Vyntage Horology. The goal is to present finely crafted watches with Swiss movements, employing meticulous craftsmanship and materials. Vyntage Horology launches its two first models, Monograph and Purity. 

Measuring 40mm in diameter, Monograph is a hand-wound cam-and-lever monopusher chronograph. It is released in titanium with an enamel dial and Breguet numerals for the Inner Circle edition or in steel with a light blue dial and Hindi numerals for the 25-piece Light Blue limited edition. Purity is a hand-wound three-hander with a twist; its crown is positioned at 4 o’clock. With a 39mm diameter, it is presented in titanium with an enamel dial and Breguet numerals for the Inner Circle edition or in steel with a silver-coloured dial with Roman Numerals for the Purity Silver 50-piece limited edition.

Vyntage Horology’s inaugural collections will be on display at Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons boutique in Dubai Mall. For more information, please visit

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